Monday, March 01, 2010

av·a·tar   /ˈævəˌtɑr, ˌævəˈtɑr/ –noun
1.Hindu Mythology. the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god. embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.
3.Computers. a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet. (courtesy "

As a soul, I suppose the film pantocrator wouldn't hesitate to drop me into the bin labeled "Terry Gilliam." There's way too much detritus (and isn't everything of this world detritus?) floating about within my cranium that I've always gotten Gilliam and his fellow travelers. Were I really to catch Judge R. Bean on a good day, I might be consigned to the "Coen Brothers" aggregate, though, of late, that might not be much more, uh, comforting.
I've enjoyed most of James Cameron's career. But this little missive ain't about da "king of the world," though he's obviously on top of his and THE game. It's not about revisionist history, ala Tarantino's masterwork "Inglorious Basterds" shares that common factor with "Avatar." Nor is it about theology, ecology, CGI mating with "Ferngully" or mythology and science fiction.
I hope that someone noticed that Cameron wrote at perhaps the most pivotal moment in the saga that "the people" gathered ritually to efficate a "resurrection," so to speak, employed what could rightly be described as "pristine chant." Nevermind the rest of the story; we had crusades with dubious objectives and outcomes too, ya know?
I also hope that it was obvious that the people congregated had to have acquired the chant (words and music NOT EQUAL to the sum of their parts) from oral/aural traditions, that notion backed up by the plot's forthright insistence of their cosmological unity and memory.
I don't know if Mr. Cameron and his associates meant to unite the affects of liturgy with the metaphysics of his cosmos in a way that endorses sensient beings yielding to communion to the higher power, one that barely crosses the malevolent, gluttonous hordes that had become the viking and vandal human demons of various choirs (military and industrial) that choose to serve evil in the name of a perceived good.
But I'm going to give Cameron props for taking that significant amount of time to pay homage to the attributes we celebrate as "the chant." Namely, that it is "timeless, universal and beautiful" and therein lies its meaning as a gift to receive and give as generations remember into the future.