The Gospel according to James (Cameron)...

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Avatar is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that

equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion

with the natural world, (leading us to) collapse distinctions at every level of creation.

                                         -Ross Douthat in the New York Times

(Tim, w/thanks to Mick) About twenty-five years ago, Mary Lee and I took in Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie with a sister and brother-in-law. The movie infuriated me, but my loved ones thought I was psycho. "It was funny!" they announced triumphantly.

Yes, yes; of course. But the meat sandwiched between the humor was toxic.

"The message was sex doesn't matter until body parts touch," I said. "The only time there's anything yucky about Hoffman playing the woman is when his body is about to be touched by the man who likes her. Which is to say, the only barrier left to the complete normalization of homosexuality is body parts that still don't quite fit together. Androgyny has carried the day except in bed."

Of course I convinced no one. Overreacting I was. Couldn't see the joke. Taking life just a little bit too seriously.

But that night I had a vision of the tsunami about to wash over us...

And where have we arrived? Who cares whether body parts fit together--it's an antiquated concern of neanderthals, today.

The really difficult thing is that I could sit down with my relatives and remind them of what I'd hated about Tootsie, pointing to our world today and demonstrating my perspicuity back in 1982, but the exercise would be futile. Back then, they refused to believe Tootsie was doing any heavy lifting for a sexual revolution. And today, they're watching Avatar and nothing I could say would convince them it's doing any heavy lifting, either.

Dear reader, if you ever think a movie is just a movie, wake up and smell the billy goat. I mean even the New York Times gets it.