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The Daily Word in stalker apps, boos in Boston and impostor chiles

Rupert Murdoch considers splitting News Corp. in two.

Studies funded by the Alzheimer’s Society find that dementia may be caused by a stressful lifestyle.

Facebook cancels its “Find Friends Nearby” app, also affectionately referred to as the “Stalker App.”

President Obama is booed in Boston after making a joke about the Red Sox’ recently departed third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

Rielle Hunter and John Edwards have broken up.

Travel site Orbitz will display more expensive hotels to Mac users than PC users searching the same site.

Bath salts? A Texas man attacks a dog and then proceeds to eat it after police say he took a synthetic drug.

A law that aims to stop impostor New Mexico chiles goes into effect on Sunday.

James Cameron plans to shoot Avatar 2, 3 and 4 starting this fall.

Consensus No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Anthony Davis trademarks two phrases pertaining to his distinct unibrow.

A Jew-hating Elmo is booted out of Central Park.

Turkey vows to retaliate after Syria shoots down their fighter jet.

Subway construction in Greece leads to a discovery of an ancient Roman road.

Former Truth or Consequences police officer Noah Pestak might face a statutory rape charge after marrying a 15-year-old last month.

Happy Birthday, Mick Jones!

blog

We’ve Created a Monster

To no one’s surprise, the number one movie at this weekend’s box office was ... (wait for it) ... Avatar. The damn thing raked in $31.3 million in its seventh week in theaters. At this pace, the film is expected to become the highest grossing film of all time in the U.S. (beating Titanic’s $600.8 million) as early as Tuesday.

So, the question is, what is it gonna take to unseat this film from the number one spot? When is the moviegoing public going to buy tickets for something different? Will this weekend’s romantic comedy Dear John unseat Avatar? (Doubtful.) Will next weekend’s teen fantasy Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief do it? (Maybe.) How much longer can this phenomenon hold out?

blog

Did You Like Avatar? Did You Think it Was Racist?

I went mostly because my mom's never seen a 3D movie. (That blew my mind, but it's probably not so uncommon.)

I didn't even know the aliens were going to be blue. I’m not sure how I managed to avoid the hype. I do not yet live in an earthship powered by homemade windmills.

The writing was decent—for Hollywood, anyway. (There’s one terrible line that goes “Sometimes your whole life boils down to one crazy move” said with that raspy, intense, man inflection everyone uses.) I liked the sound of the lead female character's voice. It's always good to see Sigourney Weaver on a spaceship.

We left the theater thinking it was pretty good. Moms was way into it. I'm always pleasantly surprised when a major blockbuster carries a message I can get behind. In this case, it's pro-environment and anti-colonialism—I thought. Plus, the movie makes the pope angry with its brand of "God is in everything" religiosity.

Then I find this blog that suggests Avatar is simply liberal guilt made flesh.

Avatar is a fantasy in which the history of colonization is rewritten, but it a fantasy specifically for white people living with a heavy dose of liberal guilt. And it is one that, ultimately, marginalizes indigenous peoples and affirms white supremacy.

If it were a fantasy for, say, the American Indian population in the U.S., the story might go a little differently. In that fantasy there would be no Sully character. It’s that simple.

Sully, in the movie, is a disabled marine who saves the indigenous population of an alien planet humans are mining for "unobtainium."

I’m going to speculate that, if this were a fantasy written for a colonized population, the hero would come from their own ranks and, at the end of the movie, they would continue life on their land, with their culture intact, under Na’vi leadership, without a human in sight.

But that would be a movie that alienated the colonizer. And since history is written, and rewritten, by the victor, Avatar is what we get.

Other's have called it flat-out racist. Now that you mention it, the indigenous population is childish and bestial, and the outfits are generically "tribal."

And some have objected to the portrayal of disability:

So, Jake has to save the world and in order to do it he simply cannot be disabled.

I’m there. I see you, social criticism. In recalling the movie, I know what the the above writers are talking about.

But at the same time, what's the alternative? More movies about cars and tits? How about talking Mexican Chihuahuas?

Perhaps I’m just settling. Hollywood trades in clichés and stereotypes, misogyny and racism. “Hey, at least it’s not as overt as usual” is not the strongest argument. But maybe Avatar says something to average Americans, present day’s ultimate, unknowing colonists. Maybe?

Did you see it? Did you like it?

News

The Daily Word 1.19.10: Red Cross, Avatar, Tonight Show

The French accuse the U.S. of "occupying" Haiti.

Red Cross plans to bring nearly 45,000 Haitian evacuees to Florida.

Wyclef Jean defends his Yele Haiti organization, which has been suspected of using its contributed funds questionably.

Apparently the movie "Avatar" needs a list of disclaimers longer than a Viagra commercial; a Taiwanese man dies after watching it.

Italian border guards discover a 15-year-old Afghan boy in a suitcase.

Who will take the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat? The determining Massachusetts election is today.

NBC reportedly offering "The Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien a $40 million buyout to just walk away.

Meanwhile, former Tonight Show host Jay Leno will probably get his old job back and return to the 11:30 p.m. slot.

Serial killing dogs are running wild in a Northeast Heights neighborhood.

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