Monday, February 1, 2010
The movie Avatar is big box office.
If you have seen it, please reflect on how the Na'vi are basically blue Native Americans that exist only in the imaginations of the 1960s.
Additionally, history is the only thing that is argument. People on the right of the political spectrum have condemned the film for its anti-corporatist and anti-imperialist agenda. (Side note: Isn't it interesting that James Cameron and to an even greater extent George Lucas are hostile to capitalism while becoming billionaires with the licensing of movie rights?)
In China, however, the movie has been banned because the people see an analogy to their kleptocratic communist party's seizure of rural lands. Rural people who have experienced the party's unwillingness to respect the rule of law have cheered as the Na'vi defeat the corporation - which in their experience resembles communism rather than capitalism.
The Volokh Conspiracy has an excellent discussion of Avatar as argument - right down to someone making the parallel to European conceptions of property rights (Eddie Izzard: "Do you have a flag?") that mirrors my line about "do you have a fence?" Go check it out.