Saturday, April 24, 2010

Avatar, Vietnam, and Eden

Finally got to see the film, Avatar. Although we went to the cheap theater with $1.50 tickets and crying babies, we enjoyed the movie sans 3-D projection and surround sound. The film was a metaphor for the classic movie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. There was the good and the beautiful, the soft and the tender. There was the bad and the corrupt, the greed and the disrespect. There was the ugly, the killing and the wanton destruction. The movie was an onion with many layers to peel, to cry over, to examine in the light.

But some things irk me about the movie. I hated the Ugly American attitude shown by the short guy who seemed to be in charge of the program. I hated the attitude of conquering a region and robbing it of its resources with no regard for the consequences of the indigenous people. This seems to be a recurring attitude of many Western groups: The Spaniards in South America, the whites in our own country, the whites in the Hawaiian islands. Does traveling away from the homelands result in the reckless attitude to the lands and people from other shores? Ugly, ugly, ugly.

I hated the "take no survivors" attitude of the military commander. Things were done by brute force...kill, wreck damage, at any cost. There was no time for peaceful negotiation. Did we not learn anything from history when we try to force our way into other countries...? Try Korea, try Vietnam. Many American lives lost. Lack of support from the people in the country and in our country erode the basis for action. Are we reenacting historical and military mistakes from the past in the Middle East today?

I hated the destruction of a society which was living in Eden. Harmonious existence with the environment seemed idyllic. But then the Seekers had to take what was forbidden treasures. Adam and Eve in the garden were not satisfied with their lives, they had to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. The commandment, Honor Thy Father, was not observed. The Americans invaded Pandora try to steal the precious unobtainium (a pun perhaps)to break commandments: Thy shall not steal, they shall not covert your neighbor's property, Thy shall not kill. Have we not learned anything from our history that sin leads to dire consequences?

I said I loved the movie and then I proceed to write three paragraphs about what I hated. I did love the reaffirmation that there are people who are willing to do the right thing despite the odds against them. The hero, the savior, the brave. That was downright applause worthy. Loved that the helicopter pilot was a female. I loved the love story!

The fantastic scenery of Pandora was breathtaking. The colors used and the special effects were great!! I want to go back to see the movie again. Peel more layers of the movie onion and see if I cry again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't judge a book by its format

I cracked open the book and found that it was a series of letters. Bleah...boring...tedious. But The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was number #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. There must be something to it. Endure...continue on.

Indeed, indeed...this was an enjoyable book with twists and turns, tears, surprises. I highly recommend this book for long airplane trips when you have the time to immerse yourself in the island life in the Channel Islands. It ain't Hawaii but the close knit island mentality is apparent.

Life without cell phones, telephones. People wrote letters in standard English and yet the voice of the each writer was apparent. Tidbits from others in the community painted the characters in 3-D. If only we were privy to see how others see us...would we be glad or disappointed? There were characters I loved and characters who set my teeth on edge. Oh, how I loved the snappy answers and swift (and sassy) rebuttals!!

Worthy, worthy of your time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recession...nothing but a hype?

With all of the media hype of how we are doing so poorly economically, all families should be living off of their home gardens, walking to work and school, and eating frugal meals. Yet the traffic seems steady past our house of cars whizzing to and from Hilo...20 miles away. The supermarkets are full of people, even on nonFood Stamp weeks, buying carts full of food and drink. Walking along the highway is the occasional hitchhiker in dreds or flowing skirts. And the fast food restaurants take out lines have snakes of cars with people too lazy to get out of their cars to order food.

At the recent Merrie Monarch festival, the craft booths had a range of products and prices and not all cheap. If you want to buy a handmade lauhala hat, plan on spending at least $100. If you would like a string of pearls, consider $500 for gleaming chocolate pearly baubles. How about $50 for a scarf? These artisans deserve the money to produce these items. What amazes me is the people who have the money to plunk down several thousand dollars for strands of Ni'ihau shells.

The recession must not be as debilitating as the media is reporting. There is still money for the fine arts. Or, are the damages from the economic downfall affecting only a certain class of people? Those that did not have much to begin with?

If scarcity bring clarity, perhaps the scare is good for us to reprioritize what is really important in our lives, make adjustments, and go on living.