Having now actually seen "Avatar" with my son yesterday I can now pronounce my verdict: I have a problem with these kinds of movies in general, and it's this: The indigenous people can be, and often are, just as stupid and brutish as us Westerners. They just haven't figured out how to have a bigger footprint yet, in general. But there are exceptions, and that's why there's ruins all over the place.
We Americans look like naive fools when we paint the "first beings" as somehow more in an "unfallen Eden state" than we are. As Gwynne Dyer noted, "first people's" conflicts tend to actually kill more people over time as a percentage of their population than our ridiculously jump-the-shark lethal armies have done. And that tends to carry over to chimpanzees as well (but not, evidently to bonobos).
In addition movies like "Avatar" also seem to be a catalyst that gets conservatives like Ross Douthat to write odd things about pantheism.
10 Labor Day Reads
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