Tuesday, January 12, 2010



At the same time as my wife, son and I were enjoying the 3-D version of Avatar, the Toronto Star - that Liberal mouthpiece for the politically correct - says there was an explosion of Web criticism saying the movie was racist.
And then the Star quoted bloggers and junior profs. Before the Internet, they would have trouble getting other students to listen to them in a scrum after a class. Now their voices are amplified as if they have wit, perspective and experience behind their dissing of a major movie which may become the box office champ of all time.
One suspects that if this critical stew had been around in 1939 when a movie so famous that it became know only by its initials, Gone With The Wind, flamed across the screen, they would have had heart attacks.
My family left the theatre raving about the movie, and raving at the chuckleheads who make more noise chowing down on their popcorn than a vast dairy herd. Wouldn't it be great if they had chow-free zones in theatres so we didn't have to listen to the chomping, slurping and crinkling? No chance since that's where theatres make their money, on the buttered plastic and the giant containers of sugared water.
Of course there are echoes of the real world in this imaginative tale of the giant Na'vi humanoids in their beautiful lush jungles around the giant tree. But you would have to be a fool to miss that the movie was preaching AGAINST the white man's despoiling of peaceful Edens.
Hardly an attack on visible minorities, hardly a whitey-knows best epic trying to save the poor natives. Just as when you saw another great film, District 9, it was obvious the not-so-hidden message was an attack on apartheid. not praise of white enlightenment.
These silly critics must think the award-winning foreign movie, Downfall, was a glorification of Hitler.
Why we even have the Vatican getting into the act, not being sufficiently embarrassed about the papal disasters in movie criticism and banning since the talkies began..
But let me repeat what many said when the Roman Catholic hierarchy went after Dan Brown for Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. They were just movies and best-selling books. The public figured they were fiction right at the start. The Church looked silly when it didn't.
Now we have Avatar, which is just an imaginative sci-fi movie. Stop acting as if it is being sold as another theory for evolution or the superiority of Caucasians. I think bishops and bloggers are publicity hungry when they denigrate and accuse to get us all riled up.
I blame the Star and its incessant PC crusading for ignoring that there are countless bloggers shooting their mouth off about everything. Surely as much attention should be paid to their credentials as their views. I can disagree with my old friend there, Peter Howell, about some movie but at least he has earned some respect for his views because as a Star movie critic he has viewed countless movies and interviewed countless director and actors. And that certainly goes for the gentle voice of the Sun's Bruce Kirkland, whom we should have cloned.
But just because some person can type a blog, sort of, doesn't mean he or she warrants any attention in the media unless it's unique and clever. Rants shouldn't rate. Bloggers should think an hour for every minute of writing.
(Obviously I'm a blogger too. But my background appears to the right of my column and readers can judge whether my decades of journalism mean my views have merit or insight. I got paid because my views and editorial decisions had to survive daily before hundreds of thousands of readers. A true critic has an onerous apprenticeship.)
The Star is only one media outlet that is a trifle hysterical when it comes to repeating criticism. For example, the Star brass showed through its coverage that they were ecstatic when The Economist, the respected British publication, criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for ducking an immediate resumption of Parliament.
I respect The Economist too and have quoted it often, but let's cut to the chase. It means only that several editors and a writer didn't like what Harper is doing. It's hardly the view
of a college of experts after a lengthy seminar on the Canadian political process.
Media have a blind spot on this. When I hated something as Editor of the Toronto Sun, I would write a blistering editorial after consulting associate editors, perhaps the beat reporter, maybe the publisher. And other media would say that the Toronto Sun came out today attacking what the government was doing. Hardly the entire Sun!
But then the Sun was gloriously free of group think. And senior editors didn't have to remember the politics and cant of the brass and how pleased their bosses would be if they give major coverage to the latest propaganda from the strident left and the mushy middle.
Like the Star has done from its creation.
Avatar is not billed as a scientific study of how earthlings would act in 2154 if they mine a planet like Pandora which is 4.3 light years away from a ruined earth. Many critics are just jealous of its enormous success. In the end, folks, it's just a great movie.

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