Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Holiday Musings

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  • giovanni tiso,

    No. Really, no. The faces of the military-industrial complex (Giovanni Ribisi and a so-hammy-its-CAMP Stephen Lang respectively) don't bite the head off an adorable Pandoran puppy-analogue while cackling manically as they urinate in the bleeding stump, but pretty damn close.

    Film now seen, pre-judgment confirmed. Saying that Avatar is anti-corporations is like saying that Tom and Jerry is anti-cats. Cartoonish villains and a brainless script don't a critique make.

    As you all were.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Saying that Avatar is anti-corporations is like saying that Tom and Jerry is anti-cats. Cartoonish villains and a brainless script don't a critique make.

    Nice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1611 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    This is a bit of a thread jack, sorry, but a few months ago there was a lot of discussion and advertising on PAS about Powershop (Meridian Energy's innovative way to address power pricing and supply) and there seemed to be widespread approval. If so, this report is about a disturbing intrusion by a minister into an SOE's operational matters.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    When politicians become afraid of the truth, it's time to become afraid of politicians.

    In fact, that's the default position, isn't it?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Vatican says Avatar is no Masterpiece. That seals it. I'm gonna love it, whether I like it or not.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    To paraphrase Ernesto Rossi, "if the Pope says it's raining and it happens to be raining, then the Pope is right". It can happen. (Actually, he disliked it for all the wrong reasons, but hey. It's still raining.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I loved that headline!

    It translates as "Vatican Senses Real Opposition & Is Now Getting Truly Frightened."

    (Saw "Avatar" in Oamaru finally, and while the script really sucks, and there's waaay too much blamblamblam, there were magic moments...I'll be buying the dvd.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Holiday Musing: Has Pat Robertson ever seen a mass grave he could resist dancing on?

    Galactically vile Christian cleric Pat Robertson told his CBN viewers today that Haitians are "cursed" because their ancestors "swore a pact with the devil" to liberate themselves from the French in 1804. "True story."

    Ugh... God really needs to start interviewing new publicists, because this vile little hob-goblin isn't working.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Ugh... God really needs to start interviewing new publicists, because this vile little hob-goblin isn't working.

    Yeah. After the St Matthew's billboard my rather lame comedic reaction was;

    'God must be getting desperate if he's hiring Saatchi & Saatchi'.

    As for Pat Robertson, well that's a whole new kind of desperate, and it really isn't funny.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As for Pat Robertson, well that's a whole new kind of desperate, and it really isn't funny.

    Don't know about that, I could see much comic potential in Pat doing the same shtick in a black church somewhere in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Galactically vile Christian cleric Pat Robertson told his CBN viewers today that Haitians are "cursed" because their ancestors "swore a pact with the devil" to liberate themselves from the French in 1804. "True story."

    Someone needs to drag that piece of dirt down to Haiti and make him dig people's family members out of the rubble, while gagged. What a scum bucket.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Islander, I've heard comments that Avatar is racist, any thoughts on that?

    Not having seen it I suspect it might be a bit of the Jar Jar Binks and using a recognisable sterotype as space alien.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    As for Pat Robertson, well that's a whole new kind of desperate, and it really isn't funny.

    My first (coherent) thought was, wow, I can't wait to see Rachel Maddow get her teeth into this one.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    The Haitian Revolution was seen by Haitians as an extention of the French Revolution and that the Declaration of the Rights of Man (rightly) applied to them.
    I suspect the colour bar might blind him to this parrallel to his own history.

    Share we organise a virtual (online) grave dance when he is finally taken from us?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    My first (coherent) thought was, wow, I can't wait to see Rachel Maddow get her teeth into this one.

    Or Sarah Palin?

    [Redacted]

    Sorry. This seems wholly inappropriate in hindsight, as this is in fact about people dying and suffering in Haiti, not about source material for comic relief. My bad.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Share we organise a virtual (online) grave dance when he is finally taken from us?

    Nah... I certainly felt like that after he took all of twelve hours to blame the 9/11 attacks on the gays (more proof that the vengeful Old Testament God has really shitty aim, since he totally missed the East Village and Dupont Circle). But on reflection, when you go sewer-sperlunking with people like that they win.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Brilliant, Steve, I'm in tears here.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    since he totally missed the East Village and Dupont Circle

    In 1837 when Yellow Fever ravaged NYC, which largely finished around 14th Street then, most of those who could afford to escaped to the country villages north. The Pat's evangelical forbears in the city urged their not inconsiderable flocks to stay put as the fever was simply allah punishing the sinners, and would pass over them.

    They too were ravaged and died in their thousands.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    just thinking - is "Avatar" racist?

    Well, it conforms to a tiresome Hollywood trope - brave North American eventually saves the winsome savages since they couldnt do it for themselves. (He also learns their language histories and mores in 3 months, and does what none of 'em - except a fabled ancestor - has ever done - ride the turok & so win their unquestioning respect.)

    I enjoyed the fact that Nav'i are blue (I've been nurturing a blue race of my own for the past 22 years) and that they're nearly twice the size & physically way more adept than most humans - but they're also voiced by black actors, and all the saviour types are non-black (including Sigourney Weaver, who I much admire.)

    I think Rawiri Taonui was right when he commented that all the male Na'vi did was grunt - but male indigenes in, say, ANZ, were a bit more creative than that.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't know if it's entirely fair to say that Avatar is racist, but I sure would find it hard to deny that the Na'vi are a race of big blue Mary Sues, and it's hardly surprising that Jake fits right in:

    The prototypical Mary Sue is an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment. She's exotically beautiful, often having an unusual hair or eye color, and has a similarly cool and exotic name. She's exceptionally talented in an implausibly wide variety of areas, and may possess skills that are rare or nonexistent in the canon setting. She also lacks any realistic, or at least story-relevant, character flaws — either that or her "flaws" are obviously meant to be endearing.

    She has an unusual and dramatic Back Story. The canon protagonists are all overwhelmed with admiration for her beauty, wit, courage and other virtues, and are quick to adopt her into their nakama, even characters who are usually antisocial and untrusting; if any character doesn't love her, that character gets an extremely unsympathetic portrayal. She has some sort of especially close relationship to the author's favorite canon character — their love interest, illegitimate child, never-before-mentioned sister, etc. Other than that, the canon characters are quickly reduced to awestruck cheerleaders, watching from the sidelines as Mary Sue outstrips them in their areas of expertise and solves problems that have stymied them for the entire series. (See Common Mary Sue Traits for more detail on any of these cliches.)

    In other words, the term "Mary Sue" is generally slapped on a character who is important in the story, possesses unusual physical traits, and has an irrelevantly over-skilled or over-idealized nature.

    And just one small quibble with Islander's observation:

    and all the saviour types are non-black

    Michelle Rodriguez ring any bells -- though I wouldn't be at all surprised if she didn't. I don't think any of us really want to get into the potentially extremely noxious swamp of labelling a Latina actor as "non-black" or "white". I've certainly been through all that with Battlestar Galactica -- for a show that is supposedly racist in some eyes, I've got to say that you're a really terrible white supremacist when your male lead is Latino, and the cast included actors of South African, Italian-Chinese, White River First Nation and Korean descent.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Intriguing take - thanks Craig.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    just thinking - is "Avatar" racist?

    Lessee. Its idealised society are a monoracial group with no minorities, extremely well defined gender roles (plus, they mate for life!), a rigid and immutable political hierarcy and no history. That's about as crypto-fascist an ideal as you can come up with without taking off your trousers.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Giovanni - they did have history! Well, I mean, the turok?
    And the gender roles? Left unexplained really, except for shamanistic Mum & bow-leader Dad - there were women hunters and warriors-

    but, let's face it - Cameron wasnt at all interested in exploring the Na'vi as people: he wanted wolves his hero would lead in the dance of war-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Its idealised society are a monoracial group with no minorities

    ...and their bluish appearance indicates their political persuasion? ;)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

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