Post-Avatar Depression

This story has already been making the rounds (and subject to varying levels of derision): Audiences Experience Avatar Blues

James Cameron’s completely immersive spectacle Avatar may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora. On the fan forum site “Avatar Forums,” a topic thread entitled “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,” has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie. … A post by a user called Elequin expresses an almost obsessive relationship with the film. “That’s all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about Avatar. I guess that helps. It’s so hard I can’t force myself to think that it’s just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na’vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie,” Elequin posted.

Remember after the 2004 election, when people needed counseling after Bush beat Kerry, and the psychobabblers gave it some kind of “syndrome” name? Whatever happened to just facing reality and shutting the fuck up?

A user named Mike wrote on the fan Web site “Naviblue” that he contemplated suicide after seeing the movie. “Ever since I went to see Avatar I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it,” Mike posted. “I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in Avatar.” Other fans have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race and disengagement with reality.

You know, I’m feeling disgust with a certain segment of the human race right now myself. Originally, I had snickered at this story with the rest of you, but had no intention of wasting too much time on it – I haven’t even seen the movie and have no intentions of doing so. I already saw the original version, “Dances With Smurfs” on South Park, and I could see from far away that Cameron’s version would be just another “anti-military and anti-American” flick that wasn’t worth my dime. However, then one of my liberal friends commented on the issue:

…there are a lot of quotes about feeling sad, but none about what these sad people intend to do about it, like perhaps make a change. It’s quite possible the article just decided not to include quotes such as “This film made me sad, but it also made me realize that I can live my life to exemplify values important to those aliens.” … Nothing wrong with being bummed out, of course, but what irks me about the article’s focus – and the idea that audience depression is a widespread enough phenomenon that it’s deemed newsworthy – is that it hints that people might doubt their own ability to effect positive change in their surroundings or lives. Then I get irked at myself for having such a dismissive, kneejerk reaction, but when the article quotes a person who confesses to be contemplating suicide as a form of escape from this world to a rebirth, hopefully, in a better one, it’s difficult for me not to criticize the perspective that death is preferable to sticking around and trying to solve some problems.

So, people should be inspired by this movie to go out and build a brave new world that’s safe for blue people? Well, first of all, there’s the fact that a perfect utopia cannot, by definition, exist in a world of imperfect people (and attempts to make people “perfect” only lead to genocide). Second, even if a few of these whiners did get off their butts and try to effect “change,” they would most likely be ineffectual (at best) or make things even worse (more likely) due to having no concept at all of how people and reality work – the Law of Unintended Consequences always bites liberals (and their victims) in the end. But finally, the reason why these suicidal Avatar freaks aren’t going to rise up en masse to save the world is that they already have a Messiah who’s promised to do it for them. The whole point of Obama’s campaign, the whole reason so many people voted for him, was the belief that he would somehow miraculously bring about utopia for them, and hand it to them on a silver platter. Obama’s voters don’t want to fix the world, they want to just sit back and have a fixed world handed to them. If they were actually willing to be responsible and work for a living, they wouldn’t have voted for the Socialist in Chief.

But he hasn’t brought them that utopia, which is why his former supporters are deserting him in droves… some of them taking refuge in a CGI fairy tale rather than face the real world.


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