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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Right wingers launch new attack on 'Avatar'


It seems as if the more money "Avatar " makes at the box office (it's now officially the second-biggest-grossing film of all time), the more incensed its critics on the right become. The best example? Die-hard right-wing blogger/columnist/anti-Islam crusader Debbie Schlussel has now weighed in on the Jim Cameron blockbuster, which managed to drive her so around the bend that she ended up comparing it (I kid you not) to the writings of Noam Chomsky and the speeches of Hugo Chavez.

If you're a regular reader of Schlussel's fulminations against pop culture, you'd know that contempt for Hollywood is standard fare for her. In case you'd forgotten, she's the conservative fanatic who attacked Oprah as "a supporter of Islamic terror," mercilessly bashed Ed Zwick's "Defiance" claiming that "Hollywood loves the dead Jews but they hate the live ones" and told parents that they were "morons" if they took their kids to see "Watchmen." So you can imagine what she had to say about "Avatar," which is viewed in conservative circles as a vapid, left-wing celebration of primitive peoples, the environment and anti-military attitudes.

So what's her take on "Avatar?" She calls it bloated, highly overrated, an incredible waste of time and "just like a million diatribes from Daily Kos, Democratic Underground and every other far-left outlet about how we invaded Iraq for oil ... yes, cinema for the hate America crowd." After spewing out a host of other barbs against the film (she describes the Na'vi as smurf-like natives who "looked like Jar Jar Binks with arrowheads," she ends with this coup de grace: "Why drive to the movies, pay for tickets and spend hours in a dark room when you can just as easily read Noam Chomsky or the speeches of Hugo Chavez in the comfort of your own home and couch? Same difference. 'Avatar' is an intelligence test. If you fell for it, you failed."

It's Schlussel's favorite rhetorical tactic--if you liked a movie she loathed, you must be a moron. Sadly, like so many other conservative critics, she fails to even make an attempt at explaining why if "Avatar" is filled with so much left-wing extremism so many tens of millions of Americans have flooded the multiplexes to see the film, many of them more than once. The obvious answer is that, unlike Schlussel and other conservatives, most Americans are enthralled by the film. As for its themes, my guess is that people either find themselves in agreement -- maybe it is a bad thing to destroy a pristine primitive culture -- or manage to ignore the message altogether. Unfortunately, today's conservative pundits can't ignore even the faintest whiff of a political message in a movie or TV show -- they view everything through a partisan political lens.

"Avatar" is a great movie, and most of America knows it, which is why it's breaking box-office records everywhere. Back in the '80s, it was liberals who were so blinded by their ideology that they were unable to see that Ronald Reagan was a formidable, incredibly popular president. They underestimated his appeal and paid the price for it. Today, it's conservatives who are viewing pop culture through ideological blinders. If they want to bash "Avatar" the same way they've bashed Barack Obama, they'll end up paying a big price for it too.

"Avatar" photo: WETA/Twentieth Century Fox

Comments () | Archives (41)

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Your premise is wrong ... it's not 'right wingers' ... it's 'right winger.' This post only mentions one new critique from the right.

You didn't mention that this right winger put "Avatar" on his Top Ten list - simply for the spectacle alone. The film has plenty of problems otherwise, not to mention its clunky, and more importantly, intrusive, ideology.

Also, if you're tallying up the right wing movie critics vs. the left ... it's hardly a fair fight, number wise. More like a Reagan/Mondale vote with the ideologies reversed.

Given the tenor of the country at the moment, it's far more likely the movie's grandiosity is drawing in movie goers, not its ideology.

Debbie Schlussel is the real moron here. See what fanatical right wingers are like and keep your doors and windows locked or they'll take your children and brainwash them with myths and hypocrisy creating more sniveling, fearful of everything or anybody, hateful and vile people.

All that I can say to this poor excuse of a human being is, "WE ARE ALL BORN IGNORANT, BUT ONE MUST WORK HARD TO REMAIN STUPID." Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father.

AMEN to that!

Maybe if the Hollywood elite would stop making movies with a political agenda, people would stop finding the overt punditry ( "War on Terror, Shock & Awe")that lurks in plain sight in said movies. Simply put, if you don't want people to see it, don't put it there.

Whilst I disagree entirely with Schlussel's lunatic anti-left diatribes I have to disagree that '"Avatar" is a great movie'. It sure is entertaining, if you leave your more questioning neurons on sleep-mode, and the 3-D is extraordinarily attractive in the scenes on Pandora (less so in the live-action sequences where a tendency to flatten images brought up unwanted parallels with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow...), but 'great' should be used with a little more discretion. I might let you off with 'barnstorming...'.

The best thing to do to conservatives is ignore them.

Although I don't agree with Debbie S. on everything, the incredible cinematics aside, the movie is a schill for the far left.... sorry, it just is what it is.... almost embarrassingly so... Great cinema, awful story...

The Neo-Cons complaints about this movie clearly demonstrate that they will side with their corporate masters in the most slavish manner over anything that threatens to slow the flood of money to the top 1% of the population. It's just nauseating to see middle-class (and even poor) American "right-wingers" agreeing with them in some messed up variation of the Stockholm syndrome. These people think the Neo-Cons have their best interests at heart. Hahaahaha - a point of view that just shows how low the level of education in this country has fallen, because anyone who could think critically would understand they don't. They will say anything to defend the rich getting richer, while the rest of us, along with the environment and society can get *@$%. And anyone who comes along and points out that this may be a great system for the 1%, but not so good for the rest of us, gets blasted by the Right-wing morons. Hence the complaints about this film.

it's pathetic.

If she's so off the deep end, why do you keep giving people like this a platform? Is this really news? Or is it stenography?

Yes, those Earthlings were TOTALLY going against the Prime Directive!

Sometimes I think that Republicans are not only Anti-American, but also Anti-humanity. And who is this new nutball "Debbie Schlussel "? Is she just another conservative/entertainer along the lines of Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter looking to cash in on the gullibility of the ignorant?

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