Comments: Avatar: Reincarnating the Same Old Story

The trailer made me grab a philosophical barf bag.

I laugh because I have been in a Facebook imbroglio with a far left friend of both of ours (hint: he made his two-letter sobriquet official).

I said, jokingly, "You weren't offended by the pantheistic subtext?" XX replied:

Nope. Not offended in any way jk. I take no offense to the fact that there exists a species of human believing that their cultural, economic and imperialistic goals are far more important than those of all other species they subjugate (terrestrial or not). There is a species of human so disconnected from life that they are unable to accept the fact... See More that they are destroying the very life-source that supports them. I am not offended by this fact, I am saddened by it. The human species is faced with the choice to adapt or become extinct. Sad but true.

I know: put your mouse down and walk away from the philosophy...but in the ensuing thread, I established that my interlocutor totally rejects the idea of Adam Smith's Invisible Hand (I said we won't even bring up Ayn Rand).
I believe that there is an absolute separation and differentiation between self-interest and serving the greater good of others/the public. I may be wrong but I believe that the act of serving only self is defined as selfishness. Is it not? (please provide an example of self interest that benefits someone other than self) I also believe that acting on behalf of the public good or sacrificing self for others is the opposite of selfishness.

Some interesting side roads, but XX proudly cares more about intentions than output.

Posted by jk at December 31, 2009 5:29 PM

Holy Starship Troopers Redux Batman! FNC's Bill Hemmer said it was "a good movie with a bit of a political message." That was merely a hint of the story you paint.

Thanks for the PSA to reality-adicted Americans.

Posted by johngalt at December 31, 2009 5:32 PM

Err, "addicted."

Interesting side roads indeed.

At least XX is willing to concede that there are absolutes.

A "species" of human? I thought we were supposed to be differing "races" of human.

The most likely extinguisher of the human race is ... the human race.

By "cultural, economic and imperialistic" goals does XX mean life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Man, them are some vicious ideas.

Not that it'll do any good but the best example of "self-interest that benefits someone other than self" is this: If I take care of myself then NO other needs to do it for me.

Posted by johngalt at December 31, 2009 6:16 PM

The Refugee would refer XX to the example of the gentleman who started the company that he and many of us in this discourse either do or have worked for. No one would disagree that said gentleman started it to create his own wealth (to great success). But, think of the tens of millions of payroll dollars the company has paid to hundreds of employees over the past 30 years. Is this not an intersection of self-interest and the benefit of others? Moreover, if this entrepreneur announced tomorrow that henceforth all wages would be sent to the poor in Africa in the name of "social justice," would XX work another minute for the company? Would that make XX "selfish?"

None of this is original thought to Three Sourcers, but something that XX should consider.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at December 31, 2009 9:16 PM

Perfectly put, br. And all of that despite paying confiscatory tax rates to various governments every step of the way. Those governments serve the "greater" good of others and the public, don't they XX? Isn't that good enough for you? Would any amount of altruism ever be good enough to satisfy your sanctimonious vanity? (You might reword that last bit jk.)

Posted by johngalt at January 1, 2010 12:28 AM

Not a bad example, br. (By the way, xx has gone on to greener pastures, so he would likely applaud my CEO's giving away all our wages to the poor. Please do not put such ideas in his head...)

Prompted by his question, I did a lengthy exegesis (familiar to all ThreeSourcers) about Bill Gates. It started "One of my favorite topics. I hope that the Gateses do less harm giving their money away than Mister G did good earning it." And ended "So you're right. Gates harms the world through altruism and betters it substantively through a ferocious self-interest. Do we want to reward intentions or results?"

Posted by jk at January 1, 2010 11:41 AM

I enjoyed the movie. But then again, I think I have a higher tolerance for movies that do not match well with my ideology the other folks here. ^_~

On a more serious note, I was incredibly impressed with the film's visuals. It was a visual spectacle of the likes I have not yet seen. (I did see it in 3d, fwi.) The film's premise, that of the "avatars", intrigued me. So did a couple of the film's other ideas -- an ecology that is neurally integrated, and the idea of a 22nd century space traveling Dutch East India Company gave me food for thought.

Were the movie fails, I think, is in its villains. I did not find the grizzled, lets-slay-some-natives-before-breakfast, former marine to be realistic, to say nothing of the cookie-cutter evil corporate executive. Both were flatter than a rice wafer, and about as interesting to boot. The businessman, in particular, seemed to be nothing but caricature of what the typical hard-leftist thinks greedy stock-watching businessmen should be like. His behavior makes no sense in any other way; I sincerely doubt that such a man would be successful in the real world, much less a future trading colony in 2150.

(It is all the sadder really, because there was so much room to make the character interesting. I was hoping they would pull a Firefly and make him Chinese, but nope, they needed to whitewash the Evil capitalist's staff.)

So, in sum: Clever premise, amazing artwork, bad implementation. I say 3.5 stars.

if you only have enough time to see one movie, pass this one up and see Holmes. That film gets a 5.

Posted by T. Greer at January 1, 2010 7:01 PM

Well, I'm going to stand up for the other folks around here.

I have no trouble reading Steinbeck or seeing an intelligent movie that does not match my beliefs. Nor do I think anyone will question the art and spectacle. I 'spect I'll see it when it comes out on DVD.

But the downside you describe is aggravating because Hollywood doesn't even bother to give enough real thought to my beliefs to make my villains interesting.

Posted by jk at January 1, 2010 7:40 PM

Why, whatever do you mean? tg's description of the Hollywood depiction of soldiers and businessmen sounds precisely like the descriptions lefties recite about the real counterparts.

Posted by johngalt at January 2, 2010 12:23 AM
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