Below is a grammatically corrected version of a Gchat I had with Jacob S. Knabb, editor of Another Chicago Magazine, which is, right now, reading for its all-Chicago issue (so if you’re a Chicago writer, click that link and send ’em your best).
me: Hey, seen Avatar?
jacob: Nope. You?
me: I’m writing a criticism and need help. Seen the trailer?
jacob: Can I be honest?
me: http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/index.html Of course.
jacob: It looks like a shit film to me.
jacob: I don’t like James Cameron.
me: Its environmental message is all kinds of fucked.
jacob: I have zero interest in paying to see that. Of course.
me: I need help focusing “all kinds of fucked” into “fucked in the following ways.”
jacob: People have been justifying it by saying that at least it’s left-leaning.
me: There are these “natives” that can “become one” with the animals around them by fusing the ends of their ponytails into the ends of the ponytails of the animals and then they can think and move as one. So there are these natives, first of all. You know, like, that’s enough, but then the human who becomes a native and joins them . . .
jacob: Ok . . .
me: . . . can only become one with them by totally assimilating,
me: actually becoming one of them. Somehow his body / mind are spiritually conducted into his avatar body at the end. Spoiler alert! Sorry! And the humans have to return home to their own ruined planet.
jacob: No sweat. Go on. Ah.
me: The mineral is called “unobtainium,”
jacob: Bitter justice.
me: as in “unobtainable.”
jacob: Oh Jesus. That’s bad.
me: Okay, so the humans ruin pretty much like 90% of the natives’ land, and only when it comes down to their most precious land do the natives fight back and bring it hard core.
jacob: Yes. Ok.
me: So they do this massive war.
jacob: Of course.
me: The spirits have heard the prayers of the human / avatar character, and then all the animals and plants get into the fight, too.
jacob: Mmhm. Wow. Plants?
me: Well, not so much.
jacob: That James Cameron. Tricky.
me: There’s nothing in the environmental message about preservation, reduction, conservation.
me: And the humans die at the end because they’re sent home to their dead planet.
me: I’m not sure that’s part of the story, actually, the humans’ dead planet, but the unobtainium is a resource on this other planet that goes for major $ on earth, so they just need it, but I don’t understand the environmental message.
jacob: This sounds perfectly horrible.
me: The good guys are the “natives” who have a relationship with nature,
jacob: Wait, why must you write about this again?
me: but the only way they can preserve it is by banishing humans altogether.
jacob: Yes. Of course. Remove the parasite.
me: And even the human /avatar must become all avatar to remain.
jacob: Genocide. A clean removal. Why are you writing about this?
me: So I don’t know what to criticize, where to start.
jacob: It’s something of a horse apple . . .
me: It’s a blog post for Big Other. I’m a lousy contributor though. Was hoping to redeem myself with this one. Maybe I’ll just post our chat.
jacob: Well, can’t you just sort of puzzle it out in the piece?
me: Not that interested in actually writing something up, formally. Would rather be reading. I’m almost finished with Carole Maso’s AVA, would like to get back to that.
jacob: I received a host of awesome books for Christmas this year.
me: Oh yeah? Hey, I think I am going to post it. How do you feel about that?
jacob: Bolano (who I have yet to red), Javier Marias. A novel called Crum that I’ve been dying to read. Fine by me.
me: Crum. Reminds me of Cruddy.
me: No, no, the book Cruddy.