Saturday, December 12, 2009

Avatar: Why Make an Effort When the Effects are Hot?

I haven't seen the movie at this time, only the reviews. I do plan to see the movie, though. Still, what struck me the most from the review i read last (Associated Press), was the extremely easy-to-hate portrayal of the antagonists in this epic film. How easy it is to hate warmongers and nature rapers. The bad guys are both groups combined.

Apparently, there are natural resources located, of course, directly under the village of the nature-revering natives, and they must be taken even if it means the violation and destruction of paradise. Is there any ambiguity? Is there any reason to not hate the bad guys? Perhaps after seeing the movie, i'll change my opinion. Hollywood does, on occassion, surprise me.

In the real universe, people are a complex mix of good and evil. Human nature (and nature nature) is inherently selfish. Survival means never being sorry about who or what you eat. Survival means the weak get shafted, and the strong get the girls. It means killing rivals, and doing atrocious things to prevent problems in the future. Consider the lion. What the new male of the pride does to establish his leadership is heinous and horrible. But that's nature. Humans are (debatably) the only animals on this planet who make an effort to rise above their nature. (Although I've heard stories about dogs, cats, and dolphins that make me wonder.) The point is, any real examination of the motivations and mindset of most people will reveal some sympathetic traits, and some contemptible traits. Because goodness and evil coexist within us, individuals are rarely just one or the other. My favorite movies are those where the villains are the most lovable, the most appealing.

I don't know, having never written a screenplay, how hard it is, or if it would have been much harder to make the humans as sympathetic as the aliens they are in conflict with. So, i offer only my Humble opinion: we've been set up.

I've never wiped out a nature-loving village or defiled a natural paradise for scarce resources in my life, and have no desire to ever do so. But i get the feeling there's gonna be a line in this movie, or perhaps merely implied:

You humans are all alike.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Free Choice Doesn't Mean Your Choices are Free

Forgive me, readers, it has been two months since my last confession--er--blog. That last one was about the so-called Health Care Reform Act, and so is this one. Abortion proponents want a federal law requiring that insurance cover abortion. Senator Boxer considers this debate to be anti-woman, an assault on women's rights which could take women back to the 70's.

Seems like a simple issue to me, in my Humble opinion. Abortion is not being limited at all under this or any federal legislation. What is being debated is, who covers the cost? Boxer demands that all insurance carriers cover abortion, or there is no longer "freedom of choice".

I am aghast. This anti-logic comes from one of the Committee of One Hundred, some of the most powerful people on the planet. This is like when one of my two young children comes up to me and asks if they can have something, and I tell them yes, they then expect me to jump in the car, go to the store, buy it, sometimes assemble and test it, and hand it to them. Is that what the leadership of this nation have become? Five year-olds? If would be funny if the potential cost to my sons weren't so potentially catastrophic.

And yet, as a conservative, I'm almost tempted to concede this foolishness! Let 'em have all the abortions they want! Who are the fetuses being aborted most likely to become had they gone to term? Liberals? Most of those fetuses would have had a liberal mommy. Not all, true, but most. Abortion is a choice, but so is pregnancy, yet I have no qualms about demanding insurance cover ob/gyn, L&D, neonatal, pediatrician, and so on. My Humble opinion is that these things are actually good for our country. The practice of killing unwanted infants is not. Abortion diminishes the value of human life.

I would be willing to compromise this supremely moral issue to this extent: abortions covered as a result of the Health Care Reform Act would mandate reversible sterilization be performed at the time or shortly thereafter. The cost of reversing that procedure, however, would not be covered. Freedom of choice doesn't necessarily have to mean all the choices are yummy.

Ask my five year old.