Friday, February 05, 2010

The Hollywood Bubble

In his City Journal article entitled "Culture v. Reality: Can You Spot the Difference," Andrew Klavan makes some very good points about the world as seen through the eyes of Hollywood, including this:
In reality, anthropological studies have shown that primitive societies are even more violent than civilized ones. Primitive life is pretty miserable in general, with no protection against drought or famine, no medicine—so that even the simplest diseases can be deadly—and no equality for women, who have zero defense against pregnancy or oppression.

Now let’s look at the culture. In films such as Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, and now Avatar—which are really all the same film—a civilized man enters primitive society and finds its values far superior to his own. The collectivist natives are peaceful, the women are treated with respect, and ancient forms of medicine work as well as modern ones.

Spot the difference? Right! In reality, it’s civilization, democracy, capitalism, and technology that give us greater health, equality, and happiness. So when you go to see Avatar and enjoy its special effects and 3-D imagery, just think to yourself, wow, we’d never have anything as cool as that if we lived like the Indians. I mean, they never even invented the wheel!

Hey, and speaking of Avatar, it not only celebrates being at one with the sacred Earth, but portrays U.S. soldiers as evil sadists out to destroy native peoples. Can you spot the difference between Avatar and, say, Haiti, where our old pal the sacred Earth slaughtered innocent people by the thousands and the U.S. military turned out in a massive rescue effort?

But in our culture, the U.S. military is always evil, housewives are always desperate, corporations are always corrupt, and poverty is always the fault of wealthy people’s greed. Can you spot the difference between those assumptions and reality?
Is he wrong about this? If not, is it any wonder that children exposed to this "culture," and indoctrinated by "history" books like that written by Howard Zinn, are contemptuous of the civilization that has lavished so many material blessings on them but has lately fed their spirits nothing but resentment?

1 comment:

Rick said...

I've seen the movie twice now. It's a strange movie in that people seem to take away, or rather, project into, what they wish. The movie seems to almost permit it.
I'm not certain Cameron was aware of this. I've seen some of his comments on the film.
Anyway, to clarify a couple things that may be important, the soldiers in the film are actually ex-soldiers. The most likable character by far in the film is Jake Sully, also a marine. The Navi natives may be "all about peace" as their default mode, but they are most certainly "all about war" when push comes to shove. They win and peace returns this way. They are defending their property, and say so. They don't want what the invaders have to offer. They want to be left alone. They sound like American conservatives to me.
PS "The Book of Eli" is better. It is the only hopeful post-apocalyptic movie I can think of. Plus, it is unapologeticly Judeo-Christian.