James Cameron’s Avatar has been hailed for its medium-busting visual effects and astounding commercial success. Since its release on December 18th it has repeatedly topped the box-office in multiple countries, and is now the highest-grossing film in history, having taken in nearly $1.9 billion worldwide.
But, underneath the breathtaking graphics and lifelike performance capture, does the story of Neytiri and Jakesully, above, just retell the story of a white person finding himself by “going native”? Is it merely a fable about Europeans who would take over non-white people, save for the leadership of a Caucasian guy who leaves his reprehensible, bloodthirsty tribe, in order to cast his fate with the natives?
Avatar has famously been compared to Kevin Costner’s Oscar-winning, 1990 work, Dances With Wolves, which also raised similar charges regarding the consistency of the “white savior” myth. Disney’s Pocahontas has also been i.d.-d as Avatar‘s spiritual predecessor, though, perhaps no more pointedly than in these two YouTube clips, the first of which remixes video from Avatar to audio from Pocahontas‘s trailer, and the latter which does the reverse.
Today, this afternoon, Friday, April 25, at 2 pm ET, on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, my guests are:
They’ll talk about Avatar, race, and these issues, with the goal of giving listeners some clarity on them.
But first: After the President’s state-of-the-union address this past Wednesday, Chris Matthews, right, of MSNBC’s Hardball fame, opined that Obama “is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.”
I’ll talk with Jesse Washington, race and ethnicity editor for The Associated Press, and author of the essay, “Do Blacks Truly Want to Transcend Race?” about what Matthews meant, and what it means for Obama and our national understanding of the subject.
You can hear these thoughtful individuals’ ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.
Mere seconds into this excerpt from the “red band” trailer—one containing harder, R-rated content—for the upcoming, vigilante superhero fight-fest Kick-Ass, you become painfully aware that darling little Mindy Macready, above (played by Chloe Moretz), is not your ordinary, little, enjoying-some-ice-cream-with-her-dad (Nicholas Cage) type.
Then it gets worse.
Then it gets really better.
I won’t spoil it except to say, 1) the language is NSFW, and 2) if they can legally do this with pubescents, then I’m gettin’ my doggone Gunslinger Girl live-action adaptation. No bet.
Brothers, I’m talkin’ to you: Is there a special someone that, this Valentine’s Day, you want to completely knock off her feet?
If so…I can’t help you.
But if you wanna blow her off the planet, I’m your man.
Check this out: I talked to my personal florist, Calyx & Corolla, and, if your plastic is the right color, they’re ’bout to hook you up.
How would your girl feel walking into a cubicle stuffed stupid with, not a dozen, not two dozen but, 1,000 red roses?
Lemme put it to you this way:
Fulfill her wildest dreams with the most extravagant, most passionate, most romantic Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever sent – 1,000 roses (that’s more than 80 dozen)! Every corner of the room will be blooming with the richest, most radiant, long-stemmed red roses she’s ever seen. And to make the day even more romantic, we will also include the petals of another dozen roses. Use them to create a path to the 1,000 Roses surprise, or sprinkle them on the bed or in a candlelit bath for two. She’ll LOVE it, and we guarantee it will be a Valentine’s Day neither of you will ever forget.
When The Laughing Cow, right, France’s Jura-based makers of spreadable cheese wedges, above, recently started airing their latest commercial, something about the cloppy, jug-band, oddly sexy beats underneath sounded familiar. But I couldn’t place ‘em.
whistles, bells and bongos combined with banjos, ukuleles and sunshine pop vocals to produce a unique but accessible music for post modern vaudeville, with a nod to Monty Python, Derek & Clive and even Woody Allen.
If you can rememeber back to 2006, their ditty, “The Birds and the Bees,” was compellingly clamped to Volkswagen’s reintroduction of their classic Rabbit. The ad featured of black and white subcompacts dipping into dark tunnels and alleyways, right, only to re-emerge, followed by gray, black, white, and multi-hued lil’ uns. (Multiplying like…rabbits, get it?)
If you can’t remember that, though, ne’er worry: “The Birds and the Bees,” “Don’t Stop,” the slinky, captivating “Llama” (hear it on their MySpace page) and eleven other compositions fill out the new CD. Plus, I’ve packed this post with YouTubes, below, for your listening and viewing pleasure. Dance, kiddies, dance.
“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.”
Giddings and I resume our conversation, speaking on, among other subjects, Wells-Barnett’s success in politically organizing Chicago; an effort, the author holds, whose branches, leaves, and fruit reach to the White House today.
Then, our conversation took a turn, and during the second part of today’s broadcast—the last 20 minutes—we spoke about the life of the Black scholar, especially the female Black scholar.
It was frank and insightful, and it naturally rose out of the issues we were addressing the moment before. So, it was the best kind of digression one can have with a guest.
You’ll hear it by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.
After seeing the outrageous trailer, below, for Kick-Ass—about a crew of self-styled superheroes—I’m hot to check this action-comedy masterpiece-to-be. That’s the drool-worthy one-sheet, above. [turning to you] Hey…lower your hands, buddy. I’ll smack you up.
It’s difficult to say how much I remain in awe of director Martin Scorsese’s violent, 1990 opus, GoodFellas, above. Meanwhile, on the internet, my use of Wikipedia is second only to the attention I give Google.
So, imagine my surprise when, looking up GoodFellas on Wikipedia, I came across a detail that blew up my appreciation of both.
It was a single sentence, the fourth paragraph in the Wiki page that chronicles the film’s rich history:
Hey, chocolate-covered fruit freaks: Do yourself a favor and grab a bag of absurdly delicious Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranates, above. My wife picked me up a 2-pounder of these sweet chewy suckers a month or two ago and, whoa. Knowing me, I’d have probably gone for the Dark Chocolate Covered Cranberries. Glad I didn’t.
Most are familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. image, above, his sonorous voice, and with many of his speeches.
Bu few, perhaps, know that King was a published author who wrote six books during his lifetime: Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958), The Measure of a Man (1959), Strength to Love (1963), Why We Can’t Wait (1964), Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1967), and The Trumpet of Conscience, published in 1968, the year he was assassinated.