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Sunday, June 6, 2010


paving hwy 18

The delays along hwy 18 for the paving of the Thompson Flat are nearly over. About all that is left is the painting of the white and yellow lines. They might put yellow reflectors down the middle between the yellow lines. The road crews were good about keeping the traffic flowing while the entire road was being changed. I didn't think the road was bad before, but the new surface is smooth as silk to drive over.

I saw the movie Avatar tonight. Justin called and said they were watching it, come on over and see it. I went into it with no idea what to expect. I've paid no attention to the hype about it. Heard the director, Cameron, talk on the radio interview show, Fresh Air. It was a few days before the Academy Award. He was so confident he'd sweep the Academy Awards he was a little bit much to bear. My respect for the Academy Awards is so low that it seemed silly of him to want it so much. He wanted it so much his disappointment must have been bottomless when the prize passed him by. I wasn't curious about the movie at all, so obviously a commercial venture as big as or bigger than Titanic. I'm just fine with a low budget movie where nobody gets killed. Don't have much interest in a comic book action movie. Some day I'd see it. I knew that. Like Star Wars, which I saw several years after it was new.

I don't mean to throw off on the movie too much. It was the great commercial success it was calculated to be. It was awfully good in the vein of commercial films made to corporate formulae. It was wildly imaginative and beautifully presented. It was a cleverly conceived allegory of the American rape of the earth's natural resources and the ongoing destruction of humanity. It was the Ewoks vs Storm Troopers in Return of the Jedi on a mega scale. It was Apocalypse Now dropping napalm on villages, shooting rockets from helicopters. It was Independence Day, the behemoth gobbling up the earth's mineral resources. It was the war of the Death Star against humanity, in this case the blue monkeys.

The military machine in the film made certain it was understood to be American with Bush administration cliches, such as justifying pre-emptive strikes. It was the American war on the Iraqi people, on the Vietnamese people, on the Central American people, the people of Afghanistan. I'm ambivalent about these American wars on poor people without a military to defend them. It comes down to the David and Goliath story. I don't like my government making wars on small, defenseless countries. Seems shameless to me. At the same time, if they weren't making wars out there, they'd be making wars in here, on us. We don't want the American military turned inward. People in these little countries didn't want their extended families wiped out, either. They don't want to have their doors broken down in the night and men in the house arrested for being men, potential resistance. I'm not comfortable saying, better them than us, but that's what it comes down to, making me complicit in the ongoing American war against poor people, the blue monkeys, and the natural world.

I actually took the film for a political allegory telling the anti-human role of the American military as it is now, using life on another planet where they play out a play within a play of bulldozing down everything sacred and living. We follow the story of a guy who sees himself involved in the machine that's doing so much damage. He goes native, went over to the other side to fight with the blue monkeys against the American machine. He came out the hero. He helped unite the blue monkeys to outwit the American force and keep the planet free from American invasion in future. It seemed to drip of commercialism to the point I'm glad it didn't sweep the Academy Awards as predicted. I couldn't help but think of it as an animated action cartoon. It had a very great deal to say and said it well. It was extra well made, a beautiful movie to watch, entertaining, full of clever surprises. Like Titanic, it was made to make money and the art was in the special effects. Cameron succeeded in making another boxoffice smash hit. It was a good movie, but I can think easily of a hundred I like better.

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