Monday, December 21, 2009

Here we go again? Or just field trying to stay in shape by chasing imaginary racism?


I haven't chased my man racism in awhile. So with that in mind, I decided to post a link that my girl Jody sent me. (She is white)
It's about the movie "Avatar", and some folks are crying racism because of its cast and overall theme. The best article that addresses the subject is the one Jody sent me, and it was written by someone named Annalee Newitiz. (Hmmmm, Newitiz; doesn't sound like she is of the Negro persuasion. But I could be wrong.) Anyway, here is the article:

"When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Critics have called alien epic Avatar a version of Dances With Wolves because it's about a white guy going native and becoming a great leader. But Avatar is just the latest scifi rehash of an old white guilt fantasy.

Spoilers...

Whether Avatar is racist is a matter for debate.
Regardless of where you come down on that question, it's undeniable that the film - like alien apartheid flick District 9, released earlier this year - is emphatically a fantasy about race. Specifically, it's a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people. Avatar and scifi films like it give us the opportunity to answer the question: What do white people fantasize about when they fantasize about racial identity?
Avatar imaginatively revisits the crime scene of white America's foundational act of genocide, in which entire native tribes and civilizations were wiped out by European immigrants to the American continent. In the film, a group of soldiers and scientists have set up shop on the verdant moon Pandora, whose landscapes look like a cross between Northern California's redwood cathedrals and Brazil's tropical rainforest. The moon's inhabitants, the Na'vi, are blue, catlike versions of native people: They wear feathers in their hair, worship nature gods, paint their faces for war, use bows and arrows, and live in tribes. Watching the movie, there is really no mistake that these are alien versions of stereotypical native peoples that we've seen in Hollywood movies for decades." [More here]

True confessions: I don't like James Cameron, so it's easier to chase racism with projects that he does. I don't know, something about him just never seemed quite right. Maybe it's because he never had any brothers in that damn movie where the ship sunk. What's the name again...? Yeah, "Titanic". Field, that's because there was only one black person that history knows of on the Titanic. Well he could have shown at least one clip of the brother. A brother like that with all those white people had to have stood out. I know when they were reaching for those life boats that brother was out on the deck, because you know he couldn't swim....let me stop.

Anyway, I want to know. Is what the author writes here the bottom line?:

"This is a classic scenario you've seen in non-scifi epics from Dances With Wolves to The Last Samurai, where a white guy manages to get himself accepted into a closed society of people of color and eventually becomes its most awesome member." [Hmmmm, the Bill Clinton effect.]

Or is my man racism just distracting me again while he does some real damage somewhere else?


94 comments:

Anonymous said...

Comparing Avatar to The Last Samurai, which I hated for the very reason provided, just gave me back 4 hours of my time I was going to give to the movie. (Did you know Avatar is 161 minutes!)

Marketing Diva said...

Field,

This post is why I love this blog. I am a Sci-fi Freak and I could not wait to see the movie and half-way through the movie I turned to my cousin and said they made "magical Blue people movie". All I kept saying why do we need this unintelligent marine grunt he adds nothing to the story. When only he could save the natives, I almost laughed out loud. Between the Blind Side another "magical negro" story and "Avatar" white guilt must really be satisfied for the Christmas season

Citizen Ojo said...

I was thinking about going to see the movie but I'll wait for it to come out on video now. Not because it's racist or anything but I know the plot now. ha ha ha ha..

Anonymous said...

Well, considering Cameron is a first class tool, I'm not surprised. Sounds like more Dancing with Wolves BS to me.

Keith said...

Saw it Saturday, and Annalee Newitiz's assessment of Avatar "Pocahontas in space" is spot on.

Jody said...

Yep Field, it seems like on several boards and blogs, this article is being discussed. I think that is a good thing. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised at the thoughtfulness of comments... among my friends, this article is being passed around.
I am still going to go see the movie, not so much for the plot, but for the technological aspects that I understand are ground breaking.

Race Traitoress said...

Thanks for the heads up, field.

black grl #1 said...

like Marketing Diva: i'm a HUGE Sci-Fi fan, mostly because if ANY genre can artistically find ways to explore the possibilities on a whole array of issues - it's Sci-Fi. which is why this movie was so disappointing but so TOTALLY not original.

what's worse you can almost 'see' the producers sit around the planning table saying things like:
"hey wouldn't it be great if we got a handsome white guy to save their world?! "...even BETTER would to 'secretly' have a Black chick by his love interest... & that way we get points for diversity... hey let's try to get Beyonce - she'd look great in a loin-cloth..."

which is why i have 2 Sci-Fi films that were released this year that actually PUSHED the dialog on race. the article mentioned Section 9; if you haven't seen it you should because Newitiz is right there are very few instances when the white savior is actually a complete bastard, little integrity, and little bravery. the anti-hero is all those things and any & all acts of bravery were purely a product of self-preservation and loathing on his part.

the other is not going to win ANY cinematic honors anytime soon but it should be worth mentioning because it's the FIRST time where i've seen the heroes of a major disaster-film feature Black actors (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, etc) and saved a good portion of the human race (what was left of it). while John Cusak played a major role he wasn't the savior or the genius... in fact it almost seemed as if they wrote his part in at the later.

but it seems as if movie-making for Black folks has become more limited in scope, imagination, actors, etc. & Tyler Perry hasn't helped (nor has Eddie Murphy's Pluto Nash-like films). however the worst offender this year goes to..... Disney! Princess & the Frog -- honestly they're STILL doing the whole Mammy thing?!

black grl #1 said...

i should add that the Watchmen was very cool too. aside from a steady diet of Will Smith; Black folks don't get to be hobbits or slay dragons. yeah, we might be in a disaster flick (not sure what that means) but we don't play Luke Skywalkers--- we're not Admirals of a fleet of spaceships seeking shelter after their world blew up... we're not brilliant mad scientists creating a race of human-like robots, were not Elves w/ long cool hair & pointy little ears.

but i think it's very sad that our children don't get to "disappear" into cool new worlds. they're not shown having to make courageous, smart, decisions in order to save the Mad Hatters or save the world. they don't get to "disappear" into their closets only to emerge in a magical new world which might be rather... awesome considering some of the shitty worlds they come from. they don't stumble across magical items, or have names like 'Seeker' or lead a revolution on Mars.

so 'thank you' Will Smith and Laurence Fishburn, Samuel L., & Jada Pinkett, Trekkies: Gordie, Tuvok, Uhura, for participating in the few Sci-Fi movies/shows that feature major Black roles who weren't killed off after the 1st half-hour.

last but not least; you can't talk about SciFi and Black folks w/o talking about the author Octavia Butler; a brilliant, under-valued, prolific writer who brilliantly used SciFi to explore our crap around race, sexuality, & class. i hope a talented Black film producer might be able to do one of her novels justice -- such as Fledging or Parable of the Sower.

Anonymous said...

@black grl #1:

OMG! I LOVE(D) Octavia Butler! That woman had a BRILLIANT MIND! I live in So Cal, and have seen many "stars", Black, white and whatever. None of them made me breathless: But once I saw Octavia Butler getting off a bus on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena (where she was from). I acted like a true fan, and she was very gracious, and very shy. It is one of the high points in my life, seriously.

If you've never read any of Octavia Butler's books, you are missing out---and you don't even have to be a sci-fi fan to appreciate her writing, her imagination, her mind.

I really miss her. RIP, Octavia Butler.

SueCitySue

Gaz said...

You had me laughing with the "couldn't swim" remark!

Anonymous said...

Avatar was an enjoyabe movie to me. Nothing about racism crossed my mind until I clicked on FN blog. Of course, it's always been an environment about racism or mirages of racism, and how racist white folks can be in everything they do. This time it is chasing racism in a SCI-FI movie. Those poor people of color are being discriminated against on another planet by asshole Whites again. My goodness, Field-is there 'anywhere' in the Universe where FN will not go chasing?

Thanks Field. I really DID enjoy the movie-and popcorn- as just a sci-fi movie... until I read your post. You should thank your friend Jody for keeping the racial paranoia going.

Chasing racism must be awfully tiring and depressing, especially during the holidays when the suicide rates are the highest.

How many suicides do you think are due to 'suspected' racism? I see the Killadelphia meter is inching toward that 300 mark. Now, that is "real".

Black People Suffer From PTSD said...

*yawn*

Another movie where some white dude is savior. The natives can never raise up on their own. It always takes mighty YT to get the backwards people together. I’ll watch Braveheart Smurf when it come to Netflix.

Ernesto said...

Once Hollyweird finds a formula they stick with it FOREVER. Actually, there was one VERY good film made in this genre. Arthur Penn's "Little Big Man" from 1970:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJRs2TnP9H8

That movie pretty much sums up the entire American Experience in a couple hours and is just as relevant today as ever.

agape2010 said...

@ FN:

"Well he could have shown at least one clip of the brother. A brother like that with all those white people had to have stood out. I know when they were reaching for those life boats that brother was out on the deck, because you know he couldn't swim....let me stop."

Hilarious X 10 to the 10th!!

Yeah, it's a typical racist movie. I knew it would be when they showed the trailor. Something to keep the younger generation of whites to think they are still superior. Probably won't work though...when they come out of the movie and turn their IPods on and listen to T.I. or JayZ...lol

Happy Holidays! And as always..
Peace.

~agape2010~

agape2010 said...

@ annon. 1;22 A.M.:

When you never experience racism you won't know it when you see it. Peace.

~!agape2010~

grinder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grinder said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now go complain about "2012," where the prez is black and gives his life for his country, and among the survivors the evil guy is a white realpolitik crypto-Republican crypto-Cheney and the good guy is a black humanitarian crypto-Democrat crypto-Obama, and everything is laughably P.C. but it's a rockin' good time anyway.

As the poster once said:

It's only a movie.

It's only a movie.

It's only a movie.

StillaPanther2 said...

Brother Field...our minds are xondition to see "heroes" as the image mentioned. Let the majority have their fantasy..unreal...heroes. It will take some effort accept some real heroes for my race. I am glad and SATISFIED with some real heroes. Excludijng all the ones I had the fortune to be with in the war, I can have joy in having Honorable Minister Farrakhan, Huey--you know where I am going. These are
MY...MY REAL heroes. So let the majority have their fabricated heroes. The only group that label someone a hero by virtue of being in the military. Which brings me to another avenue. If these people are heroes..what the hell were we? RhetOrical...not seeking a answer. Black people lets start designating our men who take EVERYDAY care of his children. By the way Black people you have allowed the majority to assign your heroes as atheletes so your kids can learn aggressive techniques and behavoirs at an early age and where are their kids...? evidently having heroe that fly planes, operate on brains..again, you know. Plese hold the comments about one or two that you know... we should be angry everyday because we need some real heroes to stop the carnage in my city. And I know you see the same daily. StillaPanther2

DuchessDee said...

I feel you FN. Why do the white man always feel the need to conquer and be number 1. its in his nature to destroy. I agree. Avatar will not get my money.

false1 said...

Actually this whole concept started with Tarzan. Orphaned white kid raised by apes grows up with more intellegence, bravery and strength than any of the hundreds of thousands of blacks growing up on the continent. Of course he becomes lord of the jungle.

Read Tarzan, it was clearly racist. This film is probably not. I'd save the word racism for stuff that effects us more directly. Like predatory lending and getting shot by the cops 45 times...by accident. This is more like an insight into the western mind. The white man's burden once again. We have the power to destroy you. Only we can save you. That whole God complex.

@black grl #1: I agree, there should be more sci fi and fantasy aimed at black audiences. Do all our movies have to take place in the "hood"? I think African history and mythology could be a rich source of stories of ancient lands, kings, queens, mythical creatures and heroic warriors. Movies, animation, comic books, novels, it doesn't matter the medium. There's a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.

But black folks will have to create it themselves. Maybe if we could get our minds out the street for a minute.

field negro said...

Black grl#1, thanks for turning me on to Ms. BUtler, I will try and check out one of her books. This is why I love blogging, I learn so much.

Ernesto, I saw "Little Big Man". Good movie.

"I’ll watch Braveheart Smurf when it come to Netflix."

"BRAVEHEART SMURF"! Black People Suffer...that was funny.

"Chasing racism must be awfully tiring and depressing, especially during the holidays when the suicide rates are the highest."

Nope. It's no differenty during the holidays than any other time. My man racism is like the Grinch.:)

See what agape 2010 says.

"Actually this whole concept started with Tarzan. Orphaned white kid raised by apes grows up with more intellegence, bravery and strength than any of the hundreds of thousands of blacks growing up on the continent. Of course he becomes lord of the jungle."

Oh yes, Tarzan. "King of the Jungle Bunnies"." Or was it just jungle?


StillAPanther, you are right, we need our own heroes, but as false 1 said, we have to "get our minds out of the street for a minute."

Shawn said...

Kudos false1 and blackgirl1! I wrote a short story (fantasy aimed for a black audience) which was featured via an Ezine. Sigh, maybe Disney will contact me....

Great post Field! I plan on checking out this movie once it's on dvd.

Anonymous said...

weak one man, this nigga loved the flick

Anonymous said...

After the film, for different reasons, the audience applauded. James Cameron, through Avatar, had managed to combine contemporary military pompousness with old capitalist-imperialist ideologies which have help certain group of race take over part of the world unjustly. One thing I was asking myself during the film was ‘How many black people are casted for the Na’vi parts?’ If the answer was many then the argument is mainly about race, the typical stereotypical rubbish of Hollywood. Why the majority of the Human cast are white? What is the hidden meaning behind that? And the question is repeated with the Na’vi cast? I made my research and found out that the majority of the Na'vi were of not white race. I then agree with the comment “there is really no mistake that these are alien versions of stereotypical native peoples that we've seen in Hollywood movies for decades”. Hollywood video makers love to depict one race always in need of the higher race. There is no break away from the usual hollywoodian convention. But fortunately Cameron showed how mankind is destroying the world or have already destroyed it due to the great greediness of some people. During the movie I was thinking about how the ‘explorers’ in 1400 apparently discovered ‘new world’ (that world was always there and people lived happily in it) and destroyed it for the riches they found of those lands. In my opinion Avatar is about how capitalism and militarism are damaging the world. But it is also how Hollywood love to portray the native of a country as weak, dependent on other ‘highly’ developed culture to survive the danger that the same ‘highly’ developed culture brings on them.

Swiff said...

YO FIELD, YOU HEAR BOUT THIS? -

A self-styled Nevada codebreaker convinced the CIA he could decode secret terrorist targeting information sent through Al Jazeera broadcasts, prompting the Bush White House to raise the terror alert level to Orange (high) in December 2003, with Tom Ridge warning of "near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experience on September 11," according to a new report in Playboy.

Working out of a Reno, Nevada, software firm called eTreppid Technologies, Montgomery took in officials in the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology and convinced them that technology he invented -- but could not explain -- was pulling terrorist-produced "bar codes" from Al Jazeera television broadcasts. Using his proprietary technology, those bar codes could be translated into longitudes and latitudes and flight numbers. Terrorist leaders were using that data to direct their compatriots about the next target.

The federal government was acting on the Al Jazeera claims without even understanding how Montgomery found his coordinates. "I said, 'Give us the algorithms that allowed you to come up with this stuff.' They wouldn't even do that," says the first officer. "And I was screaming, 'You gave these people fucking money?'"

A branch of the French intelligence services helped convince the Americans that the bar codes were fake. The CIA and the French commissioned a technology company to locate or re-create codes in the Al Jazeera transmission. They found definitively that what Montgomery claimed was there was not. Quietly, as far as the CIA was concerned, the case was closed. The agency turned the matter over to the counterintelligence side to see where it had gone wrong.


http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/bush_admin_raised_terror_alert_based_on_con_mans_a.php?ref=fpa

DAMN! SMH

ch555x said...

Swiff
LMAO@CIA! I'm surprised they didn't just ask Joe Blow on the corner for some intel...

As to this movie, it's the same ol' H-wierd theatrics that I won't be seeing.

Constructive Feedback said...

Filled Negro:

You and Jody are not being consistent here.

In the world of "Negro Politics" - SENATOR TED KENNEDY was your "Jake Sully"!! (the name of the soldier in the movie "Avatar)

How do you reject a movie which showcases the meme of the WHITE MAN who got CONSCIOUSNESS and stood against the SYSTEM that he was a part of and instead chose to protect the indigenous people who were being assaulted and exploited.

This is "Filled Negro Politics 101".

From the article:
In both Avatar and District 9, humans are the cause of alien oppression and distress. Then, a white man who was one of the oppressors switches sides at the last minute, assimilating into the alien culture and becoming its savior.

Lets look at the movie "Blind Side". Where as you all also pan this particular movie you fail to see that the Negro football player - came into the lives of the White folks and SAVED THEM as well. Notice that the Sandra Bulloch character says at the end "he made me a better person".

This TRANSACTION closely models that which is seen in real world POLITICS AND RACE RELATIONS. From the Whites there is expected to be a RESOURCE exchange to the Blacks - as you would have it. From the Blacks who now sit in the classroom with the Whites we are expected to GIVE THEM more dimension in THEIR view of the array of other people in this world.

Take a step back and THINK about your criticisms of both "Avatar" and "Blind Side". It seems to me that in truth you are bothered that YOUR IDEOLOGY has been mapped out on the silver screen:

* Black male is treated to the same resources that Whites have access to and his life is set on the right course - WE NEED TO DO THIS TO ALL PEOPLE from West Philly High and University City

* White male gains consciousness about the oppression that his people are doing in the name of greed over mineral resources and he becomes "one of them" as he sees the intrinsic value of "earth, water and animal life" which is worth far more than the market value of the mineral. The natives make him a better man because he is now in touch with his SPIRIT.


Which of these narratives run counter to your own?

Where am I wrong?

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]‘How many black people are casted for the Na’vi parts?’ If the answer was many then the argument is mainly about race, the typical stereotypical rubbish of Hollywood. Why the majority of the Human cast are white? What is the hidden meaning behind that? And the question is repeated with the Na’vi cast? I made my research and found out that the majority of the Na'vi were of not white race[/quote]

Anon WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?????/

Recall that JAR JAR BINKS - of "Star Wars" was played by a Black man. He was panned because he was a BUMBLING IDIOT - a subtle insult to Blacks - it was said.

What about the Na’vi people was problematic for you?

* They were a Spiritual people
* They had an orderly society
* They were in touch with the planet and the beings upon it
* They came together against an outside threat
* THEY WON!!!

Why is this problematic for you?
When they were seen en masse praying to their God - did this not show a people who yielded to a higher being?

Worse case scenario - didn't all of these NON-WHITE FOLKS get a paycheck for their acting? All without EMBARRASSING their race?

Please articulate the problem that you have beyond "Damned if you do. Damned if you don't"? I am not understanding you.

Michele said...

@ Anonymous that posted at 1:04am.
May I introduce you to Moff's Law.


"Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”


If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is. Because that is one of the things about art, be it highbrow, lowbrow, mainstream, or avant-garde: Some sort of thought went into its making — even if the thought was, “I’m going to do this as thoughtlessly as possible”! — and as a result, some sort of thought can be gotten from its reception. That is why, among other things, artists (including, for instance, James Cameron) really like to talk about their work.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to think about a work of art. I don’t know anyone who thinks every work they encounter ought to only be enjoyed through conscious, active analysis — or if I do, they’re pretty annoying themselves. And I know many people who prefer not to think about much of what they consume, and with them I have no argument. I also have no argument with people who disagree with another person’s thoughts about a work of art. That should go without saying. Finally, this should also go without saying, but since it apparently doesn’t: Believe me, the person who is annoying you so much by thinking about the art? They have already considered your revolutionary “just enjoy it” strategy, because it is not actually revolutionary at all. It is the default state for most of humanity.

So when you go out of your way to suggest that people should be thinking less — that not using one’s capacity for reason is an admirable position to take, and one that should be actively advocated — you are not saying anything particularly intelligent. And unless you live on a parallel version of Earth where too many people are thinking too deeply and critically about the world around them and what’s going on in their own heads, you’re not helping anything; on the contrary, you’re acting as an advocate for entropy.

And most annoyingly of all, you’re contributing to the fucking conversation yourselves when you make your stupid, stupid comments. You are basically saying, “I think people shouldn’t think so much and share their thoughts, that’s my thought that I have to share.” If you really think people should just enjoy the movie without thinking about it, then why the fuck did you (1) click on the post in the first place, and (2) bother to leave a comment? If it bugs you so much, GO WATCH A GODDAMN FUNNY CAT VIDEO."

I saw this at Racialicious.

Anonymous said...

CF, "How do you reject a movie which showcases the meme of the WHITE MAN who got CONSCIOUSNESS and stood against the SYSTEM that he was a part of and instead chose to protect the indigenous people who were being assaulted and exploited."

Thanks, CF. It seems Field and Jody are never satisfied what a person in white skin does. It's damned if you do, and damn if you don't. That seems to be the mantra.

Geez, it was a movie with a hero who fought for justice, and they made it racial. Yet, Lady Justice was diminished because of the color of the hero. Unbelievable.

Morgan said...

i believe it is because, as usual, the white outsider is chosen as THE purveyor of hope and justice for these people. It mirrors what has been going on in colonialism for the past..well ever. The white colonizer comes into a community to bring civility, christianity, hope, whatever to the people (or in this case aliens) of color, because they simply cannot do it themselves. it's been done a million times and it grows more and more tiresome each time it resurfaces.

That's the problem

Morgan said...

With the Blind Side, there is the issue of the Magical Negro again. To quote my homie over at 'Stuff White People Do'

"Black folks, you see, are supposedly closer to their emotions, and even to the spirit world. So when white folks in movies need help in those areas, they often reach out to conveniently located black folks for help. White authors have also repeatedly used such black stock characters, including those who help white ones with their mystical, seemingly magical proximity to the emotional and spiritual worlds."

uptownsteve said...

Anonymousm barfs.......

"Thanks, CF. It seems Field and Jody are never satisfied what a person in white skin does. It's damned if you do, and damn if you don't. That seems to be the mantra."

You can always count on CF to carry massa's water with a big grin.

As far as not appreciating white folks, why that's just not true.

I think Michael Moore and Tim Wise are great.

uptownsteve said...

"White authors have also repeatedly used such black stock characters, including those who help white ones with their mystical, seemingly magical proximity to the emotional and spiritual worlds."

"The Green Mile, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Shawshank Redemption, Bruce Almighty, Song of the South

The Magic Negro is a simple, humble person. Perhaps he is a janitor, or a farmer, and he doesn't know anything about those fancy colleges or them modern sciences, but what he knows, he knows from the heart, and that makes it truer than any of your whitey statistics, facts or pie charts.

He can have actual magical powers (Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile) or simply possess an extraordinary level of earthly wisdom (Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption).

In all cases, the Magic Negro has zero ambitions of his own. His entire existence revolves around the lead white character, whom they help with their simple, rustic wisdom even if it costs them their lives. It's as if they have nothing better to do, which they don't, because the plot is about the white guy achieving his goals."

Anonymous said...

real-up.You spend how many millions
to make a movie.you have to get how many investors who want to turn a profit?Whats your target
audenice going to be 20% of the pop or 80%!No profit no next movie!
You want change everyone going to have to see the movie 5 times.it is what it is,$

Don said...

i have yet to see the film Avatar, but more than a few people are talking about it. i cannot really say these kinds of films are my thing. i probably get around to seeing it though.

too funny @ your Titanic comment.

Anonymous said...

WTF field i thought you and yo little negro buddies here were all about hav'in the white man save you?

you know the whole giving you a mule and an acre thing?

what abut the civil war thing? it wasn't the black man that grew a pair of balls was it? it was a White savior that won your freedom!

so actually you should be thankful, no indebted to the White race...hummm

false1 said...

@Michelle, those are interesting thoughts about analyzing art because, as you stated, every work of art has something to say. I would suggest as well that all art is political in some way. Of course what we're talking about in this instance is American popular art. Pop art is unique in that it is so heavily controlled by capitalism. It's very possible that the whole artistic vision was: blue aliens, 3D glasses, special effects. In fact when I listen to Cameron that's mostly what I hear. What else could he talk about since the plot is so derivative?

I think you misunderstand the "it's just a movie" comments though. They're not objecting to analysis. They're objecting to the conclusions of your analysis. First that the film is white supremacist BS and secondly (and this is probably more important) that art can have any effect on people, positive or negative.

Other variations include: "its just a video game", "it's just a rap tune", "it's just hardcore pornography". Yes, it's only a movie but it's also a piece of American culture, which when viewed alongside other western films, novels, video games, comic books etc. with these same homogeneous themes, helps to reinforce and advocate a eurocentric world view.

The idea that a film could have any effect on the public goes against the American ideal of individuality and free will. The sheeple are more easily manipulated because they refuse to admit they're being manipulated. As if advertising agencies and PR firms are paid billions of dollars by corporations every year just for the hell of it. It's extremely important to the powers that be that they never wake up to this fact. We'll all just scratch our heads and wonder why the culture gets more and more crude and the discourse slowly lowers itself to a 3rd grade level.

TomCox said...

I saw the movie, enjoyed the movie and will see it again. In this case, I'm not particularly interested in any hidden "racism" just in ground breaking technology. Folks declining to see this film because of perceived racism are missing the boat. The special effects alone are worth the price of admission. Additionally, the plot was well thought out and the story was well told. Don't want to give away anymore than has been already but my advice..see the movie, its that good...

Anonymous said...

I feel you FN. Why do the white man always feel the need to conquer and be number 1. its in his nature to destroy. I agree. Avatar will not get my money.


In his nature? There must be genetic differences to explain this then. Maybe a "conquering" gene is present in the white race that is present in no other race.

LACoincidental said...

Ok,I'm sitting in the damn airport updating reports for work while waiting for flight back east, so I figure lets jump into the fray.

I'm true field negro and an absolute Sci-fi/Anime/Comic Book fan boy. So much so that my girl and my neighbor both got me great field negro geek gifts without even having to ask me -$25 gift certificate to the local non-commericial comic shop (homie) and the complete season of Boondocks and Afro Samurai (wifey - I swear I'm going to marry this woman). So I see where people are going with the Avatar = Dance w/ Wolves + Star Wars thing. I dig it.

But I still loved it anyway. There's something my mother always kept driving home to me as a typical over-read know-it-all angry black teenager - Don't Think So Hard. Learn to enjoy life and not analyze everything. If I sat around and tried to find the hidden racism in every form of media and culture, I'd be a lonely bitter crank who probably wouldn't leave his house and write crazy mau-mau diatribes on a myspace page. I might be angry, but life is too short to be that angry.

What else is Sci-fi but familiar stories (from other works of fiction, the human mythology collective or history) remixed with over the top pizzaz? (sp) Sheesh, how many times did Octavia Bulter or even Walter Mosley rehash old themes of race and class in their science fiction? Stan Lee openly admitted the X-men were based on what he saw in the civil rights movement. Star Wars is a rip off of Spaghetti Westerns and WWII war movies of the 1950s and 60s. The Matrix? Well, there are whole blogs dedicated to how the Waschoski brothers are bootlegging hacks. And most sword and sorcery fantasy novels rip off Conan or LOTR in some form or fashion.

Can we as field negroes go and enjoy a movie simply for its awesome outer space graphics? Its supposed to be a fun time, its not that deep people. Must everything be some mediation on 'the white man'?


And if we as Black fan boys (and fan girls) are upset that we can't see more Octavia Bulter stories (instead of Precious, which I could true go in on), its up to us to make it a deal. Go to an indie comic shop. Write your own stuff and make a Flash movie. The new media age means anyone could be the next Francis Ford Coppola.


So don't take things so seriously, its Christmas. Sit back, relax and enjoy really out there sci-fi. Leave the hyper analysis for bigger media, crimes against Negroes and overall sanity. Like the BET Awards, Glenn Beck and Friends.

mike said...

Why can't white people fantasize about race? I don't get it. What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

It was a great movie. It takes you to another place just like a movie should. I do understand the reason for the comments, but the movie was told from a white man's perspective because it was a white man who wrote it; along with all the other movies that come out.
Yes I know that blacks are under-represented in hollywood; but there are a few black folks rich enough to make it happen. Do they? Sometimes from their perspective. I am black and I dont get the whole Madea thing, my family wasnt like that; but I know some families are and I have to respect that.
There are time and places where events, movies, songs and so on should be picked apart. But as a mother, it starts at home teaching my children that they define themselves. Teaching them to have strong minds and not be led by what they see, hear and so on.

Anonymous said...

do understand the reason for the comments, but the movie was told from a white man's perspective because it was a white man who wrote it; along with all the other movies that come out.

EXACTLY

If blacks want movies that represent their interests and their people, then they have to make them.

false1 said...

@Mike
Why can't white people fantasize about race? I don't get it. What am I missing?

Cause when white folks fantasize about race, non-white folks tend to end up dead. See: Iraq, South Africa, Native America, Hiroshima, Sean Bell, Fred Hampton, Ku Klux Klan, the Hottentot Venus, The last Tasmanian, Bombingham, Alabama, Strange Fruit, etc.

grinder said...

Actually this whole concept started with Tarzan.

Funny you should mention this. I was thinking about this thread today, and the thought hit me that "Avatar" is "Tarzan with cool special effects." I haven't seen the flick. Do the natives call him "Bwana?" Damn, I hope so.

Sorry, folks, I tend not to take Hollywood too seriously. I mean, they've been bashing the shit out of gay people forever, and I laugh at it.

i believe it is because, as usual, the white outsider is chosen as THE purveyor of hope and justice for these people.

Well c'mon, think about it. We gave casinos to the Indians, didn't we?

WTF field i thought you and yo little negro buddies here were all about hav'in the white man save you?

you know the whole giving you a mule and an acre thing?

what abut the civil war thing? it wasn't the black man that grew a pair of balls was it? it was a White savior that won your freedom!

so actually you should be thankful, no indebted to the White race...hummm


Now THAT is pure evil, befitting an utterly absurd topic to be taking seriously.

uptownsteve said...

"Cause when white folks fantasize about race, non-white folks tend to end up dead."

You got that right my brother.

Jezebella said...

In addition to being another "white dude saves the poor beleaguered natives from the predation of his own people, because they are helpless and airy fairy tree-worshipers" - I see this as yet another "white dude gets hot for a native chick just as he's about to murder her people and destroy their way of life". Maybe she'll get to live because a random white dude thinks she's *fuckable*. Cameron insisted that Blue Women have boobs, even though the Blue People aren't mammals, which just chaps my feminist ass. I think I'll wait for someone else to use the fx technology to make a movie with an original plot.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]You can always count on CF to carry massa's water with a big grin.[/quote]

It is (mostly) wealth White folks that will soon be paying $520 billion for the HEALTH CARE of many people who live within failed progressive eco-systems.

It is YOU who need to thank goodness for them more than I do.

Your rhetoric is empty.

(I should remain consistent and inline with my statements about STDs:

It is not their WHITE SKIN that makes for their ability to have wallets for the Progressive-Confiscators to come and take from. Instead it is their CAPITALISTIC ability to attract money which has made them a target.)

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]"Cause when white folks fantasize about race, non-white folks tend to end up dead."

You got that right my brother.
[/quote]

What happens when the "Voice of the Street Pirates" recollects about the time when he was a drug dealer within the Black community?

He raps about BLACK PEOPLE BEING MURDERED on his double platinum album.

This is not as much of a concern with Steve because the White movie director is SUPERIOR to the far larger number of Black rappers who rhythmically rhyme about how they are going to shoot a Black man with their 9.

uptownsteve said...

"It is (mostly) wealth White folks that will soon be paying $520 billion for the HEALTH CARE of many people who live within failed progressive eco-systems."

And those people of course are all black, right CF?

You coonservatives always point out that there are more poor whites in America than poor blacks when it suits your purpose.

No black taxpayers, huh CF?

To say nothing of the 100 years from the end of slavery until the Civil Rights Act where black folks paid taxes and died in wars yet did not a full return on their investment because we didn't have full citizenship.

Wow, I thought you had maxxed out on the Tom-o-meter but here you actually take it up a few more notches!!!!

maria said...

But as a mother, it starts at home teaching my children that they define themselves. Teaching them to have strong minds and not be led by what they see, hear and so on.

What about the Na’vi people was problematic for you?

* They were a Spiritual people
* They had an orderly society
* They were in touch with the planet and the beings upon it
* They came together against an outside threat
* THEY WON!!!


FN, no offense, but you are dumb. Look through the lens provided above and re-assess.

ArtMaggot Hysteria said...

It is now official, stop the planet and let me get off.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]"It is (mostly) wealth White folks that will soon be paying $520 billion for the HEALTH CARE of many people who live within failed progressive eco-systems."


No black taxpayers, huh CF?

[/quote]

WhiteBowieSteve:

You are one intellectually dishonest individual. Can you tell me which of my statements above:

1) Is not accurate
2) Indicated that there are no wealthy Blacks?
3) That the only beneficiaries to the income redistribution scheme in this health care reform are Black?


[quote]You coonservatives always point out that there are more poor whites in America than poor blacks when it suits your purpose.[/quote]

And you Black Inferiorists always point to how damaged we are from Slavery but loath to talk about the forces that most strongly bear down a 6 year old Black boy entering the first grade this year.


[quote]To say nothing of the 100 years from the end of slavery until the Civil Rights Act where black folks paid taxes and died in wars yet did not a full return on their investment because we didn't have full citizenship.[/quote]

Full Citizenship. Hummm
Steve can you point out the year when we got our "full citizenship"?

Sadly, you focus more on the negative impact felt TODAY by the decades of Black people who were discriminated against via defacto school segregation than you dare to focus upon how much damage is being done TO-DAMNED-DAY in majority Black School systems that are controlled by Progressive machines which are impacting our young people who are at the precipice of their lives. (Chicago, Philly, Baltimore, Newark, Atlanta, DC)

Despite your dissatisfaction with the RESULTS of these school systems you are still inclined to vote for these school board officials because of their ideological compatibility with your own biases.

La♥Incognita said...

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now go complain about "2012," where the prez is black and gives his life for his country'

Actually, I've noticed every time white film makers fantasize about a black PUTUS, the world is either coming to an end, or it's inhabited by generations of idiots. Just my personal observation. 2012 had me rolling my eyes.

"Idiocracy"
"Deep Imapct"
"The fifth Element"
"2012"

As for Avatar.... it doesn't surprise me. I'm about to watch the rest of it tonight, just out of curiosity.

Robert M said...

Why did you bother taking comments? Talcitedhere was nothing left to say.

Anonymous said...

What about the Na’vi people was problematic for you?

* They were a Spiritual people
* They had an orderly society
* They were in touch with the planet and the beings upon it
* They came together against an outside threat
* THEY WON!!!

Constructive Feedback, my main point was why was there a noticeable racial divide in the casting of Human and Na'vi. If it was about nature and saving the enviroment then the cast shouldn't have been so polarised. However this was not the case for the main characters. They get their paycheck alright but there is the subtle way of hollywoodian steretypical casting the minority are most of the time weak who need a super culture to save them(because in the end Sully was the hero).

Anonymous said...

I think Morgan Freeman should change his name to President Morgan Freeman and be done with it. How many times has he been president on screen, anyway?

Black Diaspora said...

false1 said...
"Actually this whole concept started with Tarzan. Orphaned white kid raised by apes grows up with more intellegence, bravery and strength than any of the hundreds of thousands of blacks growing up on the continent. Of course he becomes lord of the jungle."

I read the Tarzan series, and some of the other series, The Martian series, and Pellucidar.

I don't wish to contradict your take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan character/books, which I'm sure had some racist elements, but the Tarzan I remembered learned from the natives, perhaps more than he learned from the apes, on how to survive among his own kind.

In addition, he had great respect for them.

The books and the movies are miles apart. I quit reading them when it dawned on me that the plot never deviated from one book to the next.

Black Diaspora said...

Another brother examined this phenomenon some weeks ago, under the heading:

"White people save the world, again [movies]."

Here's my response:

It's imperative for their own sanity, and morality, to offset what everyone knows: They pretty much single-handedly created the means by which this world may be utterly destroyed.

In the movie under discussion, it's not our world being saved, but the results are still pretty much the same.

And it falls in line with the drum beat: Columbus discovered America, a white man the source of the Nile, and so on.

A bigger question is this: Why do whites want to take credit for everything?

The brother concluded his blog entry this way:

"Isn't it amazing how you can find examples of white people saving the world in every situation in world history? I wonder how the rest of us managed without them. And God forbid they should die out one of these days, or go off into space, the entire social structure would collapse. Good thing we have Hollywood to remind us of exactly how wonderful white people are, or we might get restless and take them for granted."

Anonymous said...

A bigger question is this: Why do whites want to take credit for everything?


Maybe for the same reason blacks blame whites for everything?

Black Diaspora said...

Anonsense: "Maybe for the same reason blacks blame whites for everything?"

Whites want the credit, but not the blame. Now, why am I not surprised?

By the way: You deserve more blame than credit.

I believe that a whole lot of people would agree: Native Americans, Japanese....Need I go on?

Anonymous said...

When you are surrounded by insanity being the only sane one makes you look just as crazy as everyone else. If ones mission in life is to find ones mission in life, Is it the whites mans mission to realize that they are persons of color too. If so the only way they realize that is through their own eyes. So beneath all that deep seeded racial hatred is self hate,(hmm) IT SOUNDED GOOD ANYWAY!

Anonymous said...

Diaspora,

Whites have simply done what every other group has done throughout time: seek to dominate other out groups. Just like the Japanese did to other Asians; just like Indians did to other tribes. Read about the history of the Aztecs sometime. Whites had more success than others because of unique advantages-advanced technology, disease, etc. Man is born with the tendency to war and dominate-it's not just a white thing.

grinder said...

Whites want the credit, but not the blame.

Oh hell, no one wants the blame. Look what happens here when I point out the bad news about a lot of black folks with respect to families, crime, and education. Posters here go absolutely batshit, just like many whites go absolutely batshit when confronted with evidence of white racism.

The only progress ever made is made by people who aren't afraid of the truth, including the truth about themselves.

Black Diaspora said...

@anon: "Man is born with the tendency to war and dominate-it's not just a white thing."

I believe that the original thrust of my argument got lost somewhere along the way.

And I disagree with the "tendency to war and dominate..." argument, although some societies have structured themselves throughout history to war and dominate.

I believe that man's tendency or natural instinct is to survive, and to use whatever methods lend itself to that end.

My original question is this: "Why do whites want to take credit for everything?"

What is in the white psyche that won't allow it to credit others for certain historical achievements?

We know that Columbus didn't really discover America, and that the source of the Nile was not just waiting for a white to come along and claim credit.

This need to take credit for most things is perplexing.

@grinder: "Posters here go absolutely batshit, just like many whites go absolutely batshit when confronted with evidence of white racism."

It's not the "bad news" grinder, but your special take on many of these subjects you mention.

Blacks know all too well their shortcomings, but you get rebuked, mainly, because you come across too often as an apologist for negative white behavior.

"The only progress ever made is made by people who aren't afraid of the truth, including the truth about themselves." grinder

If this statement takes into account whites as well as black, then I'm inclined to agree. If you're singling out blacks, then not so much.

Anonymous said...

grinder, "The only progress ever made is made by people who aren't afraid of the truth, including the truth about themselves."

Thanks grinder. You speak the truth about the infirmities of human nature, which applies to every one of us. It's good to have you on this blog...I need to hear the raw truth about myself and others. Only then can progress be made.

Anonymous said...

""Black folks, you see, are supposedly closer to their emotions, and even to the spirit world."

Bullshit. They are farther from their emotions. They are dissociated from themselves, and many can't control themselves.

That's why so many are killing each other in the BC. It's a spiritual sickness. Many need a spiritual power in their lives.

Anonymous said...

We know that Columbus didn't really discover America, and that the source of the Nile was not just waiting for a white to come along and claim credit.

Columbus surely did not discover America. He did discover it for Christendom though. Like I said earlier, the out groups were not considered important. Pagan lands were not really discovered until a Christian discovered them. The same thing goes for the Nile.

Tafari said...

Im not buying this argument one bit. I saw the movie & had totally different views.

I would elaborate but the wine will not let me put my thoughts together coherently.

Greg Dragon said...

You're better than this Field.

As a black man who has grown used to my WEEKLY visits to the Box Office looking similar to a raisin in a bowl of milk, I laugh at all the "I was going to see it but now i'm not" liars on your comments. You're either a movie-watcher or you're not, most of you were not going to see Avatar in the first place and those of you who were have already seen it. Don't blow smoke up my ass, I'm not that dumb.

Avatar was a beautiful movie, if you want a real review sans the race bait, you can check it out here.

Seriously Field, I like hanging out here but don't go all racialicious on me. I like the fields, Furbies and all.

grinder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grinder said...

If this statement takes into account whites as well as black, then I'm inclined to agree. If you're singling out blacks, then not so much.

Look, I think everyone needs to know the truth about themselves, to look into the pit and then come out the other side.

I'll turn this one around. One of people I really admire is Larry Kramer, who founded Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT-UP. In 1987, he held a meeting in New York where he asked two-thirds of the people in the room to stand up. Then he said to them, "You will be dead in five years."

I wasn't at that meeting, but I can tell you that I saw and heard all of the abuse that was heaped on the gay people who were trying to tell everyone else that AIDS was a very big threat. They were called every name in the book, especially from within the community.

Kramer was an obnoxious guy, but he got it. He basically said, "Look, we're dying, so forget about what this looks like, and forget about what people will say."

Now folks, I see an awful lot of the same crap among black people. The shit that's been piled on Bill Cosby is a great example. You know, the race traitor. He's far from the only one.

There are lots of black folks who are doing okay, but there is a big chunk of black people who are are deep, serious shit, much of it of their own making. They're dying, and black people have to stop worrying about how it looks and what people will say.

You know what the facts are, so maybe one thing to do is to quit going batshit at any white passer-by who pays attention to the same facts. Argue about how to address the facts, but don't sit there and call someone a racist for telling you that the sun rose in the east this morning.

Anyway, folks, I'm traveling for Christmas and will be offline for a while, so (in spite of the grimness of message) I hope the folks here have a good holiday, and best wishes for next year.

agape2010 said...

@LAConincidental:

With all due respect to your mom... she is right on the one hand...we need to put down all the conspiracy theories...but I'm not ready to throw my good man Richard Gregory to the side just yet...lol...however, the best way to keep the fight against racism in the forefront is to recognize the sublimilties of it...that's te "new racism" that the generation younger than myself (and I daresay your mom as well) has to teach so that it can be quelled, quenched or put in the minimal category. Yes...by all means enjoy the movie...Just be careful who you continually support. James Cameron doesn't need my dime...Peace.

~agape2010~

Black Diaspora said...

@grinder: "There are lots of black folks who are doing okay, but there is a big chunk of black people who are are deep, serious shit, much of it of their own making. They're dying, and black people have to stop worrying about how it looks and what people will say."

grinder, I think your heart's in the right place, but, oftentimes, the message and the messenger are seen as one.

Just as Kramer was mostly ignored, so will you. If you really care to communicate effectively, really get through, really make an impact, actually make a difference, get in step with those you'd advise.

Otherwise, people will, right or wrong, "worry[...] about how it looks and what people will say."

And, I might add, how they say it.

And if you're not willing to undergo the necessary changes, maybe you don't care as much as you may think.

Travel safely, and wrap the warmth of the holidays around your entire being.

Anonymous said...

Grinder, have a great Xmas and a terrific New Year! Thanks for all of your insight and wisdom.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

As I watched this movie I definitely thought the story line had echoes of Dances with Wolves and The Last Samurai; however, I enjoyed it. And I'm a Black woman ready to call out racism when I see it. My feelings about this movie are mixed: yes, I too am tired of the white savior theme (but is Hollywood going to pour 300 mil.+ into a movie targeted at young while males without it?), but the movie made some serious critique of the "America, love it or leave it"/Might is Right" psyche, all with lush visuals. The main character basically says that America has nothing to offer the Na'Vi but Coke and Blue jeans. No one singing the praises of (American) democracy for the universe. The end of the movie implicates imperialism with the fact that the humans (called "aliens" by the Na'vi) are sent back "to their dying planet." There were lots of inversions like this and also an implicit endorsement of the paganistic religiosity of the Na'vi: something I hadn't expected from what I thought would be a thoroughly mainstream movie. In the end I think the movie did rely on Hollywood conventions, but it also pushed the ideological envelope a bit.

Black Diaspora said...

@anonoymous: "In the end I think the movie did rely on Hollywood conventions, but it also pushed the ideological envelope a bit."

I enjoyed your analysis. I haven't seen the movie, but will, if for no other reason than its groundbreaking special effects.

I would love to read more comments by you. Would you consider identifying yourself in some way after your comments?

Anonymousitis is a common affliction around here, making it hard to tell one anonymous from another.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, folks, I tend not to take Hollywood too seriously. I mean, they've been bashing the shit out of gay people forever, and I laugh at it.

Grinder- don't you think gay peoples make it WAY too easy to laugh @, the flamboyant way that thry act even cause childrend to laugh...lol

and as far as the AIDS thing STOP HAVING ANAL SEX AND USING INTRAVENOUS DRUGS!!!

geess it's not rocket science, is there part of that is difficult to understand?

FlyNMy40s said...

Damn, with all the analysis going on here you'd think there would be more Black Scientists in the world, LOL!!!!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

You always crack me up Mr. Field.
Aw hjell, who cares what those bozos out in Hollyweird do? Fuck em.
Yea, it probably is another white boy fantasy. Well, guess who made the film and guess who financed the film. Like I said, fuck em. I just don't spend my money watching their Hollywood fantasy shit reels.

"brother. . . on deck. . . couldn't swim"
"Bill Clinton effect"
BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Black Diaspora,

I AM THE OG "Anonymous"; there is no other. No, seriously, thanks for your compliment. I'm not ready to identify myself yet, but I was inspired to write by the comments that came before me. Hope to read a post from you after you see the movie. Enjoy!

king_mel said...

it was painful to watch them plan and execute my ancestors like that on the big screen. it was painful to watch the white man write a plot where the people were fooled by dreadful whites, especially that no-legged, stupid retard. it was painful to watch them defile the black woman with this mongrel jake sully. the movie made me enraged to a point no one would ever know.

Black Diaspora said...

Anonymous said...
"Dear Black Diaspora,

I AM THE OG "Anonymous"; there is no other."

Thanks, OG. I look forward to hearing more from you.

OpinionatedCami said...

It was a good movie, period. While it is true that some of the themes mirror real life, that does not negate the fact that it was a good movie. Why do people incessantly feel the need to complain about bullshit and try to split hairs to find more to complain about? Go see the movie, enjoy it as a movie and stop approaching every f--king thing with a cynical mindset. You wanna be upset about racism? Cool, but find something real to complain about, there's plenty to choose from. Use your brains...and don't fall for other people's BS. Life is too short, enjoy it as best you can. By the way...I am black and have experienced plenty of racism, but it does not dominate every aspect of my life...when I go see a movie, it's for enjoyment and entertainment.

Anonymous said...

The solipsism of niggers is endless. Avatar, jar-jar-binks, lawn jockeys: it's all about you. Or, it was, till the Mexs became privileged class du jour. "Help us, Whitey, wees being displaced in Cali..we didn't really mean Zebra, Wichita, Knoxville, etc."

Anonymous said...

Dancing with Wolves, meets outer space!!!

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Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I know many people in the Trans community feel this movie is anti-trans people. I am not completely sure why.

So I will have to go see for myself how all this plays out.

Anonymous said...

And what about the living in tree reference Field Negro?

Anonymous said...

When I saw this film, I saw a story that mirrored the history of the western world and its rape and overpowering of different cultures.

I don't see the white guy as the hero. I see someone who wants to do the right thing. He provides the info that the Navi people need. I see the Navi people as the heroes.

Also, the Navi's not only represent native americans, they look African also.

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