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Old December 29 2009, 07:00 AM   #106
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Arrqh wrote: View Post
And therefore, I find the very term "white guilt" itself to make several offensive implications ...
Good points on multiple levels. I agree that looking past skin color is crucial. Poor whites I. The south often had it pretty bad in their own ways. Opression takes many forms. Sometimes it's skin color, but sometimes it's religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. I personally find that "white guilt" along with it's cousin "liberal guilt," often get used most by the people who do t feel any responsibility for what has happened in the past.
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Old December 29 2009, 02:42 PM   #107
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Yeah, MNU is definitely a corporation, and is also identified in the film as the worlds largest arms manufacturer.
Not only that, it was clear their entire motivation was to get their hands on (and learn to use) Prawn weaponry. They didn't care one whit about the poverty-stricken aliens under their care. By the time of the movie, it was evident they didn't care anymore, but given their obsession with Prawn weapons, it's probably fair to say they never cared in the first place, and were only it for greed.
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Old December 29 2009, 05:43 PM   #108
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Coming back from the diversion into better understanding the plot of District 9 to the general topic of how offensive it is to make movies like Avatar, isn't the question whether movies like Avatar are offensive because they're racially patronizing? Or because the implicit message is that a real hero would go over to the "other" side? Looking over the original article and this thread, it seems to me that the resistance is to the latter, even if it is more diplomatic to take the tack that the patronizing is horribly offensive.
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Old December 31 2009, 12:07 AM   #109
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

stj wrote: View Post
Shocking as it may seem, I'm not familiar enough with Afrikaner accents for van der Merwe to come across as African. Given the talking heads from around the world, he mostly felt like another foreigner come to work at the MNU. .
I was going to bring up the fact that everyone in the movie was African when you said the Nigerians were the only Africans!
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Old December 31 2009, 02:45 AM   #110
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

None of the characters talking on film are African, are they? Were the wife and father-in-law boss supposed to be Afrikaner too? Now I don't even know what was supposed to be multinational about the MNU!

Doesn't Wikus presumably have Afrikaner parents and possible siblings?
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Old December 31 2009, 03:29 AM   #111
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

stj wrote: View Post
None of the characters talking on film are African, are they? Were the wife and father-in-law boss supposed to be Afrikaner too? Now I don't even know what was supposed to be multinational about the MNU!

Doesn't Wikus presumably have Afrikaner parents and possible siblings?
I assume having branches in more than one nation would make them multi-national.

My impression was the wife and her father, as well as many others working for MNU, were South African.
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Old December 31 2009, 03:57 AM   #112
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

The spokesperson (or CEO?) in media interviews of MNU was not south african. He sounded distinctly american.
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Old January 2 2010, 03:38 AM   #113
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

stj wrote: View Post
None of the characters talking on film are African, are they? Were the wife and father-in-law boss supposed to be Afrikaner too? Now I don't even know what was supposed to be multinational about the MNU!

Doesn't Wikus presumably have Afrikaner parents and possible siblings?
With the exceptions of the Prawns (obviously), a couple of reporters/UN reps interviewed, and the CEO of MNU who was American (mentioned by Hyperspace), everyone else with a speaking role in the movie was from South Africa or Nigeria.
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Old January 2 2010, 08:45 PM   #114
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

This thread has been quite fascinating. Lots of good discussion in it.

That said, I feel that humans — regardless of skin color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and whatnot — absolutely *excel* at finding ways to marginalize others, most of the time with no legitimate basis for doing so.

It's just something we do as a species, and that won't change anytime soon. Well, unless evolution gets involved and reworks our genetic constitution. But would we still be human afterward?

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Old January 2 2010, 10:09 PM   #115
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

^ Kind of a pat answer, I daresay. Yes, we're social animals, and one of the easiest ways to belong to a social group is to participate in the exclusion of another; that's something that applies to nations and high school cliques alike. But--and I haven't seen Avatar, but from what I understand of the plot it's applicable--we shouldn't ignore the practical, material side of this either: in-group/out-group thinking is a resource control mechanism. As long as we're competing over 'scarce' resources, we'll find reasons to appropriate them for ourselves and deny them to others, by variously defining who qualifies as 'us' and who is rejected as 'them', from the grand narratives of race or nationalism down to simple familial units. That's the 'legitimate' basis of marginalization: self-interest, at whatever scale. And it is possible to defy those attitudes, by working on both ourselves and our environment.

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Old January 2 2010, 10:49 PM   #116
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Now I don't even know what was supposed to be multinational about the MNU!
I finally saw District 9, and yeah, I really didn't see the multinational aspect of MNU. Just because a movie gives something a name doesn't mean they plausibly sell that idea on-screen.

Let's face it, if aliens really did show up over Johanesburg, the US military would move right in and appropriate all the aliens and their tech. With an event that big and potentially threatening/filled with opportunities, any notion of national sovereignity would quickly become a joke. A million aliens would not be outcast refugees; they would be fought over by every nation capable of staking a claim to them. I could see the whole thing sparking a global war. I just didn't buy the premise of the film, which made it hard for me to buy anything (except I guess the slam-bang action, which isn't dependent on story logic).

And wow, talk about a moralizing sledgehammer of a movie, too. So if I find District 9 clumsy and un-subtle, I guess I'd think the same of Avatar, in spades?
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Old January 2 2010, 11:15 PM   #117
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Now I don't even know what was supposed to be multinational about the MNU!
I finally saw District 9, and yeah, I really didn't see the multinational aspect of MNU. Just because a movie gives something a name doesn't mean they plausibly sell that idea on-screen.
If you showed up to the Chicago branch of a multinational corporation you would expect it to be occupied mostly by Americans. Why would there be a difference with the Johannesburg branch of a multinational? Besides, they showed that the CEO was an American, and I believe it was mentioned somewhere that MNU got the contract because they had a presence in Joburg and because of their status and influence with multiple nations around the world.

I really don't see why they have to plausibly demonstrate it's multinational status anyway. It's irrelevant to telling the story. Just saying the name should be satisfactory.
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Old January 3 2010, 10:29 PM   #118
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

The way it struck me is that the "multinational" thing was a clumsy and unconvincing attempt to make the movie seem like it had a bigger canvas and it wasn't just a relatively cheap flick being shot in South Africa. It came off as lame and they probably would have been better off not reminding the audience about any of that.
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Old January 3 2010, 11:14 PM   #119
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

^ I rather expect that the point of it was to further the film's social criticism; to wit, the callousness and unaccountability of multinational corporations, and the perils of off-loading governmental/international responsibilites to private, for-profit firms.

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Old January 3 2010, 11:16 PM   #120
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Re: When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
^ I rather expect that the point of it was to further the film's social criticism; to wit, the callousness and unaccountability of multinational corporations, and the perils of off-loading governmental/international responsibilites to private, for-profit firms.

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That's the problem - it's part of the overall sledgehammer approach to "social criticism" which I found way, way too obvious and clumsy. Ech.

Anyway, to get back to talking about Avatar, I chuckled at The New Yorker's review, where the reviewer mentioned

...the irony that this anti-technology message is delivered by an example of advanced technology that cost nearly two hundred and fifty million dollars to produce; or that this anti-imperialist spectacle will invade every available theatre in the world.
Hollywood hypocrisy at its finest!
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