Friday, December 11, 2009

Our survival relies on pre-emptive action

Stand by for some fun. According to the Times (Movie's blue-skinned aliens aim to open our eyes to War on Terror), 'a minor part' of James Cameron's Avatar "contains heavy implicit criticism of America’s conduct in the War on Terror."

In the background is the looming threat of the heavily armed human colony who want the minerals under the Na’vi’s land. This is where the politics comes in. The hero is with the Na’vi when the humans attack their homes. The fusillade of gas, incendiary bombs and guided missiles that wreck their ancient habitat is described as “shock and awe”, the term popularised by the US military assault on Baghdad that opened the Iraq war in 2003.

The humans’ military commander declares: “Our survival relies on pre-emptive action. We will fight terror, with terror.” One of the more sympathetic characters preparing to resist the human invasion bemoans the need for “martyrdom”.

Let the denouncing begin!


Blogger flyingrodent said...

Ooh, if Nick didn't like Die Hard 4, he sure ain't gonna like this one, is he? It's like the Politburo has taken over the entire creative arts sector - first the BBC and its pro-Jihadist productions of Robin Hood, now Hollywood with its blue-skinned Osamas. True Lies it isn't.

How come you never see Islamist aliens in movies these days, eh?

I blame Frank Herbert, of course. That whole Dune series was practically a Build Your Own Caliphate guide for specially-bred Messiahs with mysterious precognitive powers.

12/11/2009 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

I'm hoping Cameron will revisit his "King of the World!" Oscar moment by shouting "For I *am* the Kwisatz Haderach!"

Then Nick will get stabbed in the leg with a poisonous syringe by a preternaturally canny infant girl assassin, as she shouts "hullo uncle!"

12/11/2009 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

By the way, I missed an issue of Private eye, but did Ratbiter/Nick have a piece on libel in the 'street of shame' bit in the last issue? Whoever did write that piece turns out to have got basic fact-checking wrong. Once again our campaigners for journalistic integrity, who oppose such stifling libel laws manage to make basic factual errors. not great form.

12/11/2009 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

How come you never see Islamist aliens in movies these days, eh?

Well, there is this -- Stormtroopers reminisce about death star, not to mention 'Star Wars' (as referenced in the Times piece), fanatical desert religion, big on swords (see my Ayaan Hirsi Ali post from a couple of days ago), mysticism, and the 'old ways' against a big empire... I can never quite not believe that Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' isn't a possible influence on al-Qaeda ('the Base') too. And, yes, "Dune" as well.

12/11/2009 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger nancy said...

I vaguely remember reading that Bin Laden read (and liked) Foundation as a student. Though given the US may have (semi-inadvertently) invented the name Al-Quaeda in the first twin towers legal case, not sure how significant that would be.

12/11/2009 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

Above was me. Hmm, who's been using my computer...

12/11/2009 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

'I'm hoping Cameron will revisit his "King of the World!" Oscar moment by shouting "For I *am* the Kwisatz Haderach!"'

A simple "Allahu Akbar" will suffice. Come to think of it there was an Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi. These Mussies have obviously been infiltrating Hollywood for years!

12/11/2009 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Purely for my own nerdish completeism, I should point out while fat restaurant critic Giles Coren tweeted that Avatar is "Dances with Wolves except with blue people and hammerhead rhinos" others think it's Poul Anderson rip-off. (I especially like the comments which discuss Cameron's eventual crediting of Harlan Ellison for the story behind 'Terminator' "perhaps made unnecessarily unpleasant by the caustic personalities of both Ellison and Cameron". Gosh, Harlan Ellison called 'caustic'! I ain't never heard the like.

Not to mention "James Cameron’s passion for science" which is why Avatar takes place on the moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri system, when we're certain that there are no gas giants around Alpha Centauri A or B. Take that, factual accuracy!

12/14/2009 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about bin Laden but you might be confusing him with Asahara of the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult, who did like the Foundation trilogy.

12/14/2009 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

No. No confusion, they both read it. See Giles Foden in the Guardian (nicely sceptical). Well, it may not be true, but there are definitely grounds for thinking it might be. Of course, if it is true, it's ironic, that Asimov, a very politically liberal ethnically Jewish agnostic/atheist, who spent almost all his life in New York, and was a pacifist ("violence is the last resort of the incompetent"), should have influenced a cult of hate. But no more so that Jesus doing the same. I've read a lot of Asimov, and I wish more of his work was easily available. Some of his science may be dated, but the books I read as a child ("20th Century Discovery") and as a teen ("Asimov's Guide to Science") still seem to me to be about the best possible introductions ever written.

Outside of science, which is always surprising, he shocked me as an adolescent. I remember that he mentioned somewhere that someone had objected to long hair (then in vogue) because it meant that you couldn't immediately tell if a person was male or female. His response was, "so what? who cares if a total stranger is a man or a woman? what's it to you?" I was maybe 14; it seemed natural that girls dressed differently from boys. I didn't agree with him. It seemed like a very clever thing to say, and I thought about it. I can't believe bin Laden would have. Maybe Asimov opened my mind, maybe time just did that anyway.

12/14/2009 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Also Clifford Simak, Desertion, or so I'm reliably informed.

12/14/2009 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

The response of one of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers [not Freddy, but I can't remember if it was Phineas or Franklin] was "Suck my dick and you'll find out".
I'm not sure Foden is right about the Foundation being based on on religion,psycho-history was supposed to be a science (even if it was one that didn't work if the subjects were aware of it). Maybe I misunderstand him or his meaning isn't clear.
I seem to recall a more recent Guardian article, I don't recall who by, that claimed the al-Qaida/Foundation comparison is predicated on its invention by others as a global terrorist organisation, which it certainly wasn't at the time.

Muad'Dib is the pseudonym of the author of one 7/7 conspiracy video. Perhaps Stranger In A Strange Land might be a model?

12/21/2009 04:06:00 PM  

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