Fresh off of seeing Avatar last night in mind-blowing 3-D, I'm hoping that President Obama will rock my psyche in a different -- but related -- way next Wednesday when he gives his first State of the Union address.
Fight for what you believe and take on the freakin' bad guys!
This is one of the Avatar good guys, Jake. He was a crippled paraplegic soldier who regained his kick-ass capabilities when his mind was melded with the artificially created body of a Na'vi lookalike.
The Na'vi are the indigenous people of Pandora. Slender. Graceful. Intelligent. Attuned to nature. Spiritual. Blue.
Which makes them a lot like Obama.
Hugely likable, but with a flaw: when the scheming, greedy, selfish, money-hungry corporate bigwig who wants to pillage Pandora's astounding natural resources for a rare mineral sends in his hired guns to blast away the Na'vi, they don't know how to fight back effectively.
Jake does. He's fearless. He's willing to dare anything to protect the people (and Na'vi babe) whom he's grown to love after getting a crash course in Pandoran culture and lifestyle.
Including how to ride large nasty-looking winged creatures who, he's informed by his Na'vi guide, Neytiri, have to choose you before they can be ridden.
Jake asks, What's the sign of being chosen? Neytiri replies: One tries to kill you.
Here's a lesson for Obama. You aren't going to be able to win a battle against bad guys by playing nice, searching for middle ground, hoping for the best. You've got to put your (political) life on the line by standing firm for what you value.
After some brutally painful failed attempts, Jake manages to tame his dragon-like winged creature and uses it to fight the Pandora plunderers. (Earth, apparently, has been totally environmentally wrecked, so humans have set out to despoil other planets.)
Watching "Avatar," I found myself deeply inspired and sometimes almost moved to tears. Seeing people/Na'vi manifest marvelous courage, fearlessness, and commitment to saving a planet (earth-sized moon, actually) brought out a lot of emotion in me.
I haven't felt that way about Obama and the Dems since the 2008 campaign. I want to, again.
I was pretty sure that Avatar was going to have a happy ending (which it does). The movie's politics are undeniably progressive and I couldn't believe that director James Cameron would leave me in a downer mood when the closing credits came on, given the philosophy he wanted to express in the film.
After exchanging a greeting in the language of the native Na'vi population, Oprah asked Cameron if he's a spiritual person. After all, the Na'vi greeting "I see you" is a phrase with a deeper meaning more akin to "I understand who you are." "I guess I must be, because this film represents a lot of ideas and feelings I have as an artist," he said, going on to highlight his movie's "environmental message and the idea that we are all connected to each other as human beings."
Obsessed with what he termed "nature's imagination," Cameron said "Avatar" was his "attempt to bottle that."
(Here's another take on the politics of Avatar.)
Well, Obama and his family saw the movie while they were in Hawaii last month. I can only hope that he imbibed some potent Avatar juice and is ready to channel his Na'vi warrior spirit during the State of the Union address.
No punting on the one-inch line, Mr. President. Push your legislative and political agenda across the goal line. That's what you were elected to do.
This humorous one-minute video exposition on the Balls Beer approach to health care reform echoes that theme. Obama, chug a cool one. And grow some.