Tag Archives: James Cameron

“Avatar” Makes Me Blue Over Our Dumb Discourse

Sam Worthington and Zoë Saldana in "Avatar."

Sam Worthington and Zoë Saldana in Avatar. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

When I launched this blog a year ago, one of my hopes was that it would support the tendency of our popular culture to serve as a medium of discussion through which people of all ideological stripes comment on issues of the day. Unfortunately, it seems that pop culture is no longer serving this function. Rather, according to a recent Newsweek cover story, our movies, TV, music, and books have ceded this function to our ongoing obsession with celebrities’ private lives.

The article’s author, Neal Gabler, who wrote despairingly of this trend a decade ago in his book Life the Movie, seems entirely too sanguine today about conceding that the morality plays that make up celebrities’ personal lives have become more compelling to us than movies or TV or books as a way of having a national conversation about what matters to us. According to Gabler, our tendency to privilege celebrity gossip is more a function of our fascination with new media (and our boredom with old media) than a reflection of increased shallowness on our part, or on the part of our professional storytellers. But it seems to me that even our best storytellers have fallen down on the job here, and exhibit A is James Cameron’s visually stunning, well-meaning, ultimately unsubstantial message movie Avatar. Continue reading



Filed under Arts, Media, Movies

Back to the Future

The future isn’t what it used to be, said Yogi Berra. It’s certainly not, now that I’m its beat reporter. All this week, through June 12, I’m guest editor/blogger at io9, Gawker Media’s sci-fi/pop futurism blog. Whether or not you’re a sci-fi fan, please stop by, geek out, and have fun.

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Filed under Arts, Books, Comics, Movies, Music, TV

Podcast: A Look Back at 2008, A Look Forward to 2009

My Friday chats with Mark Reardon of KMOX-AM in St. Louis continue with this look back at the top entertainment stories of 2008 and a preview of the likely highlights of 2009.

Gary Susman talks to KMOX’s Mark Reardon, 1/2/09

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Filed under 2008 Election, Books, Comics, Movies, Music, Podcasts, Saturday Night Live, TV