Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Avatar: Threat or menace?

"I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. ".....Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal.

Numerous voices are united in criticism of James Cameron's Avatar. American neo-cons decry its seeming condemnation of capitalism and use of the military against an indigenous people. An anti-smoking group finds cigarette use in the movie highly offensive. The Vatican objects to the glowing portrayal of animism as a religious force, and even the Chinese pulled the film from theaters, thinking it's a polemic about their treatment of the Tibetans.

I have a serious ideological issue with Cameron's movie as well. It doesn't have a single bicycle in it.

Oh, sure, there are various transportation devices, all of them machines. And Pandora's natives, the Na'vi, have domesticated flying whatchamacallits. We all know the huge energy requirements of air and land machines, but any society with large animals devotes enormous resources to feeding and maintaining those animals. So even the big, green Na'vi aren't really They could do much better by adopting wiser land use policies, switching to Na'vi-powered locomotion, and giving up their oppressive domination of the flying whatevers.

There isn't a single mention of sharing the road, sustainable transportation, or vehicular cycling in the whole movie! Was this an oversight on Cameron's part or was it a deliberate slight? We may never learn the truth, but it's just another example of Hollywood's underhanded attempt to malign bicycle culture and promote machines and even subjugated animals in preference to our obviously superior transportation mode.



Blogger Steve A said...

Right up until I saw the label, I was thinking "Yay CycleDog, Right ON Bro!"

NOW I'm wondering if this "share the road" nonsense is also part of the satire. Whatever happened to "first come, first served?" Does THAT sound like "share the road?" Share the road sounds to me like another AAA plot - the motorists have more than their fair share already.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I've seen some 'share the road by getting the hell out of my way' comments by motorists, Steve. But I think of sharing in the same sense as any elementary school student. We take turns. We cooperate with each other in an effort to keep everyone safe because we each have a duty to perform.

Yes, this is entirely at odds with my inner 'Conan the Barbarian' who insists that offending motorists should be treated as foes. "Crush your enemies, see them run before you, hear the lamentations of their women!" Excuse me while I go eat a lizard-on-a-stick.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Steve A said...

The biggest problem I have with "share the road" is it gets all mixed up with "lane sharing" and it doesn't mean a whole lot. If people mostly thought of it as you do, it'd be different. I think most drivers think of "share the road" signs much as they do "deer crossing" signs.

I like the Texas "Drive Friendly." At least it's better than "honk if you're irritated at a cyclist."

I'm horrified at the notion of motorists getting crushed. Without motorists, who would keep the roads swept free of debris? Where would cyclists go to get cheap hot dogs? Some of my best friends are motorists. I might even go so far as to suggest "motorists are people too!"

11:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home