Friday, January 8, 2010

David Brooks at the movies

So now NY Times conservative columnist David Brooks jumps on the lefty bandwagon, describing "Avatar" as an offensive "White Messiah fable." Conservatives have a long history of taking a "What, me worry?" attitude toward racism, generally viewing it as a matter of bleeding heart liberal obsession. As someone has already commented, if the earthling Jake and his avatar had come to Pandora preaching free market capitalism, Brooks would hardly be so concerned.
Not only is Brooks on ideological unfamiliar territory, he also has not paid too much attention to the movie. Here's his summation:

"It rests on the stereotype that white people are rationalist and technocratic while colonial victims are spiritual and athletic. It rests on the assumption that nonwhites need the White Messiah to lead their crusades. It rests on the assumption that illiteracy is the path to grace. It also creates a sort of two-edged cultural imperialism. Natives can either have their history shaped by cruel imperialists or benevolent ones, but either way, they are going to be supporting actors in our journey to self-admiration."

I have already commented on this supposedly leftish criticism of the film (see the blog on Avatar). I'd like to add that historically every initial contact between armed aggressors and unsuspecting and/or unarmed indigenous populations has gone very badly for the latter. Wouldn't it have been useful to Native Americans if some sympathetic European warned them about the white man's treaties and smallpox-saturated blankets?

Brooks' last sentence is pure pseudo-leftist claptrap. If he can't get the basic facts about an agit-prop movie straight, what could he possibly be thinking about healthcare reform, the economy and the Middle East?

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