It's the title of today's outstanding article from author and columnist, Jonah Goldberg. If you plan to see the movie in the near future and would like to enter the theater with "eyes wide shut" and completely unaware of any of the storylines, then avert your eyes as some of them will be mentioned. Me personally? I was highly suspect after viewing the trailer for the first time. I immediately got the impression that the movie would be, HUMANS=Bad, Cat People=Good, Humans are out to destroy everything and anything in the name of the almighty dollar, yadda, yadda, yadda. Some of the more interesting excerpts from Goldberg are as follows.....
"The film has been subjected to an assault from the right, notably by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, as an "apologia for pantheism." His criticisms hit the mark, but the most relevant point was raised in The Weekly Standard by John Podhoretz. Cameron wrote "Avatar," says Podhoretz, "not to be controversial, but quite the opposite: He was making something he thought would be most pleasing to the greatest number of people." What would have been controversial is if -- somehow -- Cameron had made a movie in which the good guys accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts.
Of course, that sounds outlandish and absurd, but that's the point, isn't it? We live in an age in which it's the norm to speak glowingly of spirituality but derisively of traditional religion. If the Na'Vi were Roman Catholics, there would be boycotts and protests. Make the oversized Smurfs Rousseauian noble savages and everyone nods along, save for a few cranky right-wingers.
But what I find interesting about the film is how what is "pleasing to the most people" is so unapologetically religious.
Nicholas Wade's new book, "The Faith Instinct," lucidly compiles the scientific evidence that humans are hard-wired to believe in the transcendent. That transcendence can be divine or simply Kantian, a notion of something unknowable from mere experience. Either way, in the words of philosopher Will Herberg, "Man is homo religiosus, by 'nature' religious: as much as he needs food to eat or air to breathe, he needs a faith for living."
Goldberg again hits one out of the park (as he usually does) with his well-written, timely and precise article. I would recommend anyone reading this to click on the above link and read the article in it's entirety. Once doing so, please feel free to use the comments section on this thread to discuss the topics raised in the above cited article.