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Good post on the Avatar reviewers

by Greg Krehbiel on 4 January 2010

This post says negative reviews of Avatar from conservatives (“it’s pagan!,” or “it crams environmentalism down your throat”) are “forced and artificial.” I agree.

Maybe Avatar will replace Harry Potter as the favorite cultural whipping boy for (a certain class of) conservatives.

Perhaps … I’m just thinking out loud here … perhaps this is part of the over-analyzing trap. (See the discussion of Toby Keith’s religion here..) “This leads to that,” and slippery slopes and “thinking things through” and all the other delusions we heap on our poor overworked brains — as if we really know what leads to what, or how this will affect that.

To some extent we have to recognize the cultural influence of movies and songs and books and whatnot, and to some extent we should be concerned about those influences. But it’s also definitely true that some people need to take a chill pill and quit worrying about things so much.

2010-01-04  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 3

  1. John Krehbiel JohnK
    4 January 2010 @ 3:51 pm

    I always particularly liked the way certain animals in The Lion King were supposed to represent (human) Africans.

    Uhhh…. all the animals were African, weren’t they?

    But it’s also interesting how selective the criticisms can be. I don’t remember hearing anything about the openly Pagan beliefs in Battlestar Galastica, do you? And those cute annoying little Ewoks were never accused of leading our children to some kind of animistic pantheism, were they?

    Oh yeah, I forgot. Harry Potter’s magic was “real.”

  2. pentamom
    4 January 2010 @ 6:00 pm

    On the one hand, I agree. I don’t think everything needs to be run through a list of “worldview tests” as though it’s a middle school function machine exercise.

    On the other hand, a little animism here, a little paganism there, a little enviro-silliness here, a little whatever-else there — get enough of it, and you have an overriding cultural message on your hands. It’s not like you can’t trace stuff like that over time. I guess it’s good to have your radar on, but not set it too high, and not treat every blip as something that determines the overall quality of whatever cultural artifact you’re talking about.

  3. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    5 January 2010 @ 8:59 am

    It’s certainly true that ideas matter and have consequences. If lots of movies carry a similar theme and start influencing people, that would be cause for concern.