Monday, December 28, 2009


The movie Avatar is quite the rage. Below is the plot summary, according to the Internet Movie Database:

When his brother is killed in battle, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.

In The Rise of the Anti-Corporate Movement, I talked of the rise of anti-corporate thought in the popular culture, with science fiction being a particularly fruitful vein. The Alien and Terminator series, as well as the classic Blade Runner, all depict sinister corporations as responsible for futuristic misdeeds. And while I hasten to add that I haven't seen it, Avatar appears to be along those lines. The military as nothing more than a glorified corporate army, corporations as greedy exploiters of the natural resources belonging to native peoples, and most of all corporations as the forces that secretly rule the world, these are all recurring themes in the ACM. File it with the most recent James Bond picture, Quantum of Solace, as a sign of the further mainstreaming of the once-fringe paranoid, Manichean subset of ACM thinking.



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