Skip to main content

Avatar, cultural imperialism, and gun rights

avatar.jpg

James Cameron’s special-effects extravaganza Avatar appears destined to take its place in the record books and in the cultural consciousness of America. For those who have not yet seen the movie the storyline is the same timeless tale of the clash of cultures that you see in such movies as Pocahontas or Dances With Wolves.

And while the movie has been criticized by a variety of groups who claim that it is insidiously racist in its infantilization of the native Navi people, I found the story to be both inspiring and heartwarming in a formulaic sort of way. In fact, I must admit to having watched it twice already, once in 3D and once at a family matinee. All told, my wife and I, with children and their friends in tow, have added well over $100 to James Cameron’s gross for this film.

And then I saw the BigHollywood report on Cameron’s description of the heartless miners in the film. As verified from several sources, in his complete script, in a scene cut from the final film, Cameron describes the issuance of weapons as:

TROOPERS issue automatic weapons and magazines to a long line of mine workers. The miners lock and load like the redblooded redneck NRA supporters they are.

I was floored. I was sickened. I had (indirectly) given money to this man. I had recommended the film to my friends. And here he was denigrating gun owners and NRA members as heartless, almost sub-human, murderers. Suffice it to say that projected DVD sales of Avatar to the Pierce household dropped from “several” to “absolute zero.”

But as the initial disappointment began to ebb, I thought about how ironic his comment was considering the symbolism inherent in the Avatar story. I was reminded of Joseph Campbell’s analysis of the mythological perspective present in Star Wars where he noted that ‘It shows the State as a machine and asks, "Is the machine going to crush humanity or serve humanity?"’

The myth in Avatar is much the same. But what Cameron failed to perceive is that law-abiding gun owners are not represented by the mercenaries. Instead, we are the Navi (‘the People’); whose history, tradition and culture are under fire. The anti gunners, who would have the machine-like, all-powerful State control every aspect of life, are the heartless mercenaries who would obediently bulldoze the Tree of Liberty in their blind quest for a mythological and unobtainable state controlled utopia.

We need to remember just how important and powerful symbolism is in shaping public perception. ‘We The People’ need to work through our personal lives and through the media to shape the ‘story’ of gun ownership instead of allowing bigots such as Cameron to do so.
 

Comments

  • Tom 4 years ago

    Yes, unfortunatly as a lawbiding gun owner we are attacked from every side. Heard a Radio hack one day calling for the deaths of conservative talk show hosts . . . yet heard no outcry against him like I would have if it was one of the conservative hosts doing the same thing.

    3%4life

  • Jake S. 4 years ago

    Excellent article (and observations), John!

  • JimmyK 4 years ago

    Great article on Avatar! I'm sure you could find and advocate a guns right issue in just about anything :) Keep up the good work!

  • Robert 4 years ago

    The NRA bashing is normal for Hollywood dreamland. I, for one will not buy, or pay to see this film. I am tired of paying for these hacks to berate anything they wish and usually do not understand anyway.

  • Luis 4 years ago

    I myself haven't been to a first-run movie since 1993. Going to the movies now, is such an ordeal, compared to the way it used to be, when you could just walk in off the street.

  • Robert 4 years ago

    Apparently Cameron contradicts himself by claiming in a television interview that his inspiration for the hero was his marine buddy or something. How could that be true if he is damning anyone who has weapons in regular life. Most ex-soldiers including myself have maintained weapons after leaving the service because we know the police cannot prevent crime nor protect our families. The police only respond after a crime and criminals do not fear them anymore than terrorists do. Maybe cameron realized what a slap his comments would have been to the current and ex-soldiers of this country.

  • KevinB 4 years ago

    And I refuse to see this movie. As why give money to another Hollywood Celeb whom does not understand where his Freedom to make idiotic movies and has no clue who defends these movies.
    Hollyweird Idiot!!

  • Vidarr 4 years ago

    Some of you obviously didn't read this article and have not seen the movie. The author is correct in his observations.

    And to the point, there have always been members of the military who struck out into Mercenary units...not everyone has the same conscience. Our military is composed of individuals. And with that, comes great variety.

    But, at least see the movie once, with as open a mind as you can get. Cameron had former Marines (not ex-Marines) on both sides of the battle. He, at least, understood how different individuals can be, regardless of common background.

  • Matt Silverman 4 years ago

    1. Cameron is entitled to his opinion. You are also entitled to not support it via going to the movie.
    2. The fact that Cameron and millions of other American do not support (or believe the right to be enshrined in the constitution) your right to own a gun does not mean that he or any of us are bigots. Bigotry is "The rigid intolerance of ideas or persons seen as different." I don't believe that you deserve to own a weapon that could end my, or anyone else's life at your discretion. I'm sorry, but no one should have that power. I'm not being intolerant of you, I merely have an opinion that is different. Not everyone who thinks differently than you is a bigot.
    Get your head out of your ass and realize that Cameron made the movie he wanted to make. The fact that it is currently the most successful movie of all time speaks more to the fact that most people found its anti violence themes to be good, rather than bigoted.

  • Matt Silverman 4 years ago

    1. Cameron is entitled to his opinion. You are also entitled to not support it via going to the movie.
    2. The fact that Cameron and millions of other American do not support (or believe the right to be enshrined in the constitution) your right to own a gun does not mean that he or any of us are bigots. Bigotry is "The rigid intolerance of ideas or persons seen as different." I don't believe that you deserve to own a weapon that could end my, or anyone else's life at your discretion. I'm sorry, but no one should have that power. I'm not being intolerant of you, I merely have an opinion that is different. Not everyone who thinks differently than you is a bigot.
    Get your head out of your ass and realize that Cameron made the movie he wanted to make. The fact that it is currently the most successful movie of all time speaks more to the fact that most people found its anti violence themes to be good, rather than bigoted.

  • Vidarr 4 years ago

    I would differ in your assessment of his moving being "anti-violence."

    It had judicious use of violence to stop violence. ie-self defense.

    The idea that violence solves nothing is silly. More differences have been settled with naked violence than without.

  • Ironbar 4 years ago

    Absolutely great piece John! I agree 100%!