Friday, May 14, 2010


We watched Avatar this afternoon and then Hurt Locker after dinner. I wished it had been the other way around because I'd much rather sit alone through the night in the afterglow of Avatar than of Hurt Locker. So I went looking for an Avatar trailer for this post in hopes of getting back some of the glow. And as I watched trailers and other vids about it and reflected on its themes and the themes of Hurt Locker I realized that both had been playing out the themes discussed by Margaret Atwood in her little book of essays called Payback (Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth.

I started reading the book late last night and read some more this morning before the first movie and more between the movies. In these essays, written in 2008 Atwood is tracing the history of our cultures relation to the concepts of debt. From myths and legends to scriptures to modern billboards to movies and paintings and novels and sitcoms to reality TV and talk shows to science, anthropology and laws from 1700 BC to the present from China to Egypt to Rome to modern day Canada, to personal memories of the depression through the present, she contemplates our relationship as individuals and as societies to the concepts of debt and wealth.

While on YouTube hunting for the video, I saw a comment left by someone claiming Avatar was the worst movie he'd ever seen with the worst plot, adding that it was nothing but new age hippie tree-huggers against machine-guns. I wish I had the guts to reply to that comment to the effect that shallow minds are apt to see shallow plots. I would suggest he read this book and then think again about the depth of the plot. But I suspect he would still be as clueless as Colonel Q and the Corporate Qtip in charge of Earth's mining operation on Pandora. Because that was exactly why they missunderestimated the Na'vi and their Tree of Souls. Their shallow minds could not think outside the ice-cube trays they had for minds. Just doing their job, you know. It's only what corporate shareholders have a right to expect from us you know. Yadayadablahblah.

Well, I'm going to be in debt to the city pretty soon if I don't get cracking on that book. Some one has a request in for it so I would have to wait a month or more to get it back if I don't finish it by Monday morning. Well, Tuesday morning actually but I don't want to expect Ed to make a special trip into the Phoenix library Tuesday morning as it would be about a twenty minute drive from his brother's house where we are to be staying while the bathroom here is remodeled. So one way or the other I need to be finished with whatever is due Monday and Tuesday before we leave Monday morning. This is the last book that I need to finish before we leave but I would like to finish one or two more that are due between the 20th and the 1st so I don't have to take them with me. Well, at least one. Two more after Payback might be expecting too much.

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