Reihan Salam, writing in Forbes, takes the corrrect, Kleinian position on Jim Cameron’s Avatar, as against Kinsellian deviationism. “The irony of Avatar is that Cameron has made a dazzling, gorgeous indictment of the kind of society that produces James Camerons.” My point exactly! But I wish I’d thought to say this:
I’m pretty sure that I’d prefer baking bricks in the hot sun, guzzling motor oil, or jumping rope with barbed wire to spending an afternoon living among the Na’vi, perhaps the most sanctimonious and frankly boring humanoids ever portrayed on film. But the Na’vi are actually worse than just boring. Because the struggle for survival is the only source of meaning in their lives, the Na’vi celebrate physical courage and martial valor above all else, with the possible exception of mastering the admittedly cool ability of talking to trees.
Thanks to Ross Emmett for the pointer.