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Author Topic: Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?  (Read 7947 times)

StormBringer

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2009, 12:47:37 pm »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351631
Depends on what you mean by "pantheism" or "reverence for nature".  The Greeks and Romans weren't pantheists, they were polytheists (mostly); but that's not really relevant, you can certainly have a pantheist conception of the world and develop civilization; both the Chinese and India did it quite nicely.

That has nothing to do with anything.  Pantheism is the only internally consistent outcome for Judeo-Christian religions.  If God if omnipotent, omniscient, and most importantly, omnipresent, then God must be present in everything.  Trees, water, animals, computers, cars, buildings, everything; but most importantly, God is present in each of us.  A conception of God as a single entity isn't a definitive bulwark against pantheism, it is a misconception of God.

That is what people are coming to realize.  God isn't locked away in a church, only accessible by handlers and interpreters.  It's not necessarily some new-agey touchy feely treehugging.  Understanding of God's nature is expanding, which is bad news for the Old Guard, and the fundamental cause for reviews such as the one you cited.

Also, the fundamental duty as 'stewards of the Earth' has, as a principle, the rule of "don't shit where you eat".  Reverence for nature is only one expression of that.
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BedrockBrendan

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2009, 02:08:02 pm »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351631


The real issue is very simply whether you believe that its a "Bad" thing that humanity has become more than just an animal. The Hollywood Pantheists, as it were, clearly really do believe that, even if they won't upfront admit it to themselves and others. THAT is "anti-humanism", saying "It would be better if we were all monkeys/not around".

RPGPundit


I've just long given up on grading movies on their politics. In my experience, hollywood isn't the most vibrant source of deep philosophical/political thought. It tends to be knee jerk, I believe because movies are such a superficial medium (I love film, but I do think it's potency to persuade is far greater than it's depth).

I see where you are coming from, and agree that the Civlization Bad, Nature Good argument is a gross oversimplification of reality. I don't know about other people, but freezing my keister off in the wilderness while avoiding being eaten by dangerous predators, doesn't appeal to me as much as sitting in the comfort of my home and watching the sunday news programs. I would be the first to acknowledge that progress is complicated, that it can produce diffulties while solving others. But that doesn't mean all progress is bad, and all regress must be good.

David R

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2009, 05:34:00 pm »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351631

The real issue is very simply whether you believe that its a "Bad" thing that humanity has become more than just an animal. The Hollywood Pantheists, as it were, clearly really do believe that, even if they won't upfront admit it to themselves and others. THAT is "anti-humanism", saying "It would be better if we were all monkeys/not around".


Why don't you throw out a couple of titles, as exmples of this rather bizarre claim.

Regards,
David R

Machinegun Blue

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2009, 06:15:15 pm »
Quote from: David R;351667
Why don't you throw out a couple of titles, as exmples of this rather bizarre claim.

Regards,
David R


You know very well that Pundit likes to become outraged at imaginary things. Makes him feel important.

jeff37923

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2009, 06:53:04 pm »
Quote from: David R;351667
Why don't you throw out a couple of titles, as exmples of this rather bizarre claim.

Regards,
David R


The movie The Day After Tomorrow comes to mind. Particularly the last line of the movie where the astronauts stranded on the space station are remarking about how nice and clean the Earth looks after so many signs of human civilization have been wiped out by the catastrophic weather patterns.

Neither is this new for Hollywood science fiction. Two of my favorite movies, Silent Running (1972) and Soylent Green (1973) both had plots based on a background where Human population growth and industrialization have destroyed the Earth's ecosystem.

So, there is precedent. I question the bulk of the NYT opinion piece cited, because it seems to me to be a gimmick to sell more papers than anything else. My own thoughts are in this thread about Avatar.

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2009, 08:26:14 pm »
Quote from: jeff37923;351672
The movie The Day After Tomorrow comes to mind. Particularly the last line of the movie where the astronauts stranded on the space station are remarking about how nice and clean the Earth looks after so many signs of human civilization have been wiped out by the catastrophic weather patterns.

Neither is this new for Hollywood science fiction. Two of my favorite movies, Silent Running (1972) and Soylent Green (1973) both had plots based on a background where Human population growth and industrialization have destroyed the Earth's ecosystem.

So, there is precedent. I question the bulk of the NYT opinion piece cited, because it seems to me to be a gimmick to sell more papers than anything else. My own thoughts are in this thread about Avatar.


I don't really think that these are good examples of the Pundit's claims, jeff. Day was just pandering to the current enviromental craze and the other two are fine cautionary tales with a nuance far beyond what the Pundit was ranting about.

Planet of the Apes and the brilliant sly original Omega Man dealt with some of the themes in your post. Omega Man deserves special consideration because of it's cheeky reference to race :

[describing Neville]
Matthias: One creature, caught. Caught in a place he cannot stir from in the dark, alone, outnumbered hundreds to one, nothing to live for but his memories, nothing to live with but his gadgets, his cars, his guns, gimmicks... and yet the whole family can't bring him down from that, that...
Zachary: Honky paradise, brother?

Matthias: Forget the old ways, brother, all the old hatreds.

Don't get me wrong, I actually want to see some examples of this "antihumanism" as opposed to pandering and convenint proselytizing , because, it's a radical out there perspective, something I don't think contemporary Hollywood is capable of.

Edit: When I say by cautionary, it's not so much anti-civilization but rather the fear of what civilization would become if.....

Regards,
David R
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 11:55:35 pm by David R »

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2009, 01:08:50 am »
Quote from: David R;351667
Why don't you throw out a couple of titles, as exmples of this rather bizarre claim.

Regards,
David R


Battlestar Galactica (the more recent one, of course)

This Island Earth (the remake, of course)

There's a couple, for starters.
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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2009, 01:12:50 am »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351713
Battlestar Galactica (the more recent one, of course)

This Island Earth (the remake, of course)

There's a couple, for starters.


Could you please explain the two choices of yours?

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2009, 02:07:13 am »
I think he meant "The Day the Earth Stood Still" instead of "This Island Earth" which, as far as I know, hasn't been "re-made" yet - thank god.
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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2009, 03:59:46 am »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351713
Battlestar Galactica (the more recent one, of course)

This Island Earth (the remake, of course)

There's a couple, for starters.


As jeff said, could you explain why.

(I'm no fan of the BSG remake but I hardly think it's maker(s) are "antihumanism" or "anticivilization" as the way how you defined those terms. I'd go so far as to say, if anything they created one of the most complex series about human nature, messed about with clashing political ideologies and transcended the genre's perceived limitations)

Regards,
David R
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 04:09:30 am by David R »

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2009, 09:50:09 am »
It's crushing the box office:

Quote

Living up to its hype as the event picture of the season, Avatar was monolithic with $75.6 million, down a mere two percent from its opening. Though boosted by the Christmas holiday, it nonetheless broke the record for highest-grossing second weekend ever, edging out The Dark Knight's $75.2 million. The sci-fi adventure's 3D sites accounted for a 3D-record-setting $57.9 million of the weekend, and the picture posted another rousing performance in IMAX, which contributed an estimated $8.8 million of the weekend gross. In ten days, its tally stands at a whopping $212.7 million, including $158.7 million from 3D sites. It also continued to fly overseas, grossing $152 million and lifting its total to $410.9 million. That puts its worldwide haul at $623.6 million in less than two weeks.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 10:45:40 pm by JongWK »
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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2009, 10:30:24 am »
Quote from: Werekoala;351716
I think he meant "The Day the Earth Stood Still" instead of "This Island Earth" which, as far as I know, hasn't been "re-made" yet - thank god.


Sorry, yes, the Day The Earth Stood Still; I got my classic sci-fi mixed up.

And what is there two explain? In both, the implication is "the world/universe would be better off if we all just died out"; not to mention the "Wouldn't it be just dreamy if all of our technology and civilization were destroyed/abandoned and we could go back to living as savages"?

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2009, 10:32:56 am »
Quote from: David R;351722
As jeff said, could you explain why.

(I'm no fan of the BSG remake but I hardly think it's maker(s) are "antihumanism" or "anticivilization" as the way how you defined those terms. I'd go so far as to say, if anything they created one of the most complex series about human nature, messed about with clashing political ideologies and transcended the genre's perceived limitations)

Regards,
David R

Who's questions throughout the entire series were "Do we deserve to survive as a species" (we being us humans in the metaphor of the Colonists), and the conclusion it gave was "No, we don't. We deserve to be wiped out; we should abandon all our technology and go back to living like primitive animals, until we die".

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David R

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Avatar: Anti-humanism, Anti-civilization and Empty-headed Holywood Religion?
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2009, 10:48:49 am »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351754
Who's questions throughout the entire series were "Do we deserve to survive as a species" (we being us humans in the metaphor of the Colonists), and the conclusion it gave was "No, we don't. We deserve to be wiped out; we should abandon all our technology and go back to living like primitive animals, until we die".

RPGPundit


I don't know how you arrived at this. I haven't seen the whole series (so I could be wrong) but friends who have say it's a "creation myth" fable with an epilogue of characters from the series musing if humans (Earth) are fated to replay the tragedy of the original Colonist.

As for Day (both the original and remake) they were about the fear of a Superior Being(s) abrogating the fate/destiny of mankind because we weren't doing a good job. Fearmongering ? Perhaps, but in no way antihumanist or anti civilization, esp considering the spiritual/religious aspects of such a fear.

Edit: Thinking about this, as far as anti-civilization and anti-humanism as you have defined them - I think we can look at John Carpenter's Escape from New York and most of his early work to see a kind of pessimism* about humanity and society (see also, Assault on Precinct 13). Of course the ending of Escape best exemplifies your defintions of antihumanism and anticivlization.

Regards,
David R
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 09:43:00 pm by David R »

jeff37923

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« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2009, 11:04:23 am »
Quote from: RPGPundit;351754
Who's questions throughout the entire series were "Do we deserve to survive as a species" (we being us humans in the metaphor of the Colonists), and the conclusion it gave was "No, we don't. We deserve to be wiped out; we should abandon all our technology and go back to living like primitive animals, until we die".

RPGPundit


OK, I will buy the anti-technology conclusion for BSG, but the series declares the opposite of your assertion. If anything, BSG demonstrated that while humanity is flawed it does deserve to survive as a species because that is what humanity did in the show. If humanity did not deserve to survive, then it would have been completely wiped out by the cylons.

I suspect that you may not have watched BSG and this is why you came to your erroneous conclusion.

EDIT: I'd comment on The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, but I haven't seen it.

As far as movies where humanity has created an apocalypse for itself which can definitely be considered anti-civilization and anti-humanity, there is The Day After and recently The Road. If you want to include horror, Night of the Living Dead (both versions) fit.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 11:14:05 am by jeff37923 »