The Low Down On Post-Avatar Depression Disorder, Alternately Titled Get A Life

Here’s one from the Now I’ve Heard Everything Department. Um, ever hear mention of Post-Avatar Depression Disorder, or PADD? That’s right. I just found a blog featuring a post about this Post-Avatar Depression Epidemic we were recently smack dab in the middle of.

Thousands of moviegoers are experiencing severe depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the James Cameron blockbuster film Avatar. Some have become so immersed in the film’s mythical land of Pandora, that they find themselves obsessing over it, and shunning the “real” world.

The claim is that the epidemic scare started on a number of conspiracy websites spread to CNN and other mainstream media outlets. After the recent world wide economic collapse we’ve experienced, who could be all that surprised about this wish to escape to Pandora, nonetheless…

Other moviegoers, according to CNN, have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race because of the film’s effect on them. Others report a total disengagement with reality. And another said:

“When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning. It just seems so… meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep… doing things at all. I live in a dying world.”

I’ve never been as impressed by the movies I’ve seen as some of these people seem to have been taken with Avatar. I imagine it would help if we kept beautiful nurses in the closet. These guys and gals could come out every time someone got lost in their fantasies in this fashion to take a pulse. If that doesn’t work, maybe they’re better off in the movie theater anyway. She or he must be just another lost cause.

Perhaps this whole thing has something to do with the Total Lack of Imagination Disorder that has afflicted large segments of our population of late. Show a little bit of it and some searching people are just going find themselves at wits end. There are fascinating pieces of this world that some people have seemed to ignore, if it isn’t a case of those pieces of the world ignoring them.

The celebrated just love it when they have something to celebrate. It’s all just the big mansions, the wild parties, and the fat wallets or purses you offer to every God and Goddess of the silver screen, fool! Keep going. Somebody’s laughing all the way to the bank.

Adding to the bad news, Shutter Island, the latest in a long, long chain of brain numbing psycho-killer thrillers should be contributing to the stigma accorded to your new found disorder. You got it! Maybe a few more months in the sack are just what the quack doctor ordered.

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4 Responses

  1. I’ve read maybe a couple of thousand novels and seen a similar number of movies and never regarded any that I’ve enjoyed as escapist. The first I read was Gulliver’s Travels. Same with illicit drugs. I don’t regard marijuana or mushrooms or LSD as escapist. A good story, even if in an implausible setting, shows how the rational human protagonist deals with a difficult, sometimes mindbending situation. Often the hero is to some extent flawed, a product of his environment but redeems himself in the end, or else bravely realizes and accepts the inevitable. There’s nothing escapist about anything by Cormac McCarthy, The Bridges of Madison County, The Sopranos or Dexter.

    Anything by Dan Brown, CS Lewis or Tolkien is garbage. Star Wars, Harry Potter, total bullshit. But we know that a lot of time, money and technical “expertise” is spent pandering to the mob. Colluding with the tiny minds, what passes for the imaginations, of catholics, fundies and new agers is big business.

    My kids are now in their 20’s and we have always hung out since they were tiny. We never particularly enjoyed “fantasy” but would still make up all kinds of stories based on stuff we’d see if we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Way more interesting and meaningful or funny than anything involving angels, demons and aliens.

    I do quite like some quirky little “psycho” mysteries. The best ones are metaphors for reality. The intelligent viewer understands that the characters are confused but that there isn’t meant to be any real madness or magic in them.

    I think that Dawkins understands that lack of imagination (ability to simulate) and passivity is what makes an idiot.

    • I’m not as averse to fantasy as you seem to be, but that’s a matter of taste. I do, on the other hand, think that realism in the arts is taking a backseat at a time when we probably need it more than ever before. Economic collapse is one of the fruits of contemporary escapism. We can continually ignore fiscial irresponsibility as long as we’ve got an escapist cinema to help us ignor the reality of the situation–a situation we helped make by the way. There never was such a thing as an innocent bystander.

      Avatar was the highest costing movie of all time. Aliens representing Native American Indians and human colonists representing some kind of militaristic/authoritarian power don’t quite hit home in the real world the way that they might do so. There are, after all, real Native American indians. The theme could be extended to include counter cultural elements of society. The impact is just lessened by the amount of profit the whole venture must be raking in for somebody. This thing couldn’t have been produced without the special effects department. I’m kind of disgusted at the number of comic books and graphic novels making it onto the silver screen. Whatever happened to drama? You know, that thing actors and actresses do? You can make wonders occur without leaving an unfurnished room, for instance, with the right players. Here we have monied and virtual worlds exasperating the divide between the rich and the poor, the previleged and the victims of circumstance.

      It’s sad to think that some people will find more to admire in this virtual world than they might find in the real world. Such a preference must make a statement about our times. Artifice feeds reality, and reality, in turn, feeds artifice. We all have our theme songs. People have a tendency to treat people worse than they imagine themselves treating them. All the same, the best should belong to the world of flesh and blood rather than to the world of illusion.

  2. Last week I saw The Road. The movie is slightly condensed but otherwise true to the book by Cormac McCarthy.

    It reminded me that many people seem to have, or explicitly express, the notion that the true underlying function of every individual human is to “perpetuate the species”. And of course alongside this notion is the notion that the function of the individual is to serve his “fellow man” in the present. Good Christians have a word for this, altruism. Even a great many hard atheists seem to think that “helping others” even well beyond the point of personal sacrifice is by definition a virtue, so pervasive is the cancer of religion.

    McCarthy knows that this is horseshit of course (I’ve read his other stuff). He doesn’t debunk it in The Road but he explicitly omits glorifying altruism.

    Alien stories offer an extended slant on this altruism stuff. The viewer is meant to wonder whether or not the horrible alien is also, like us, one of God’s creatures. Presumably the sexy aliens, whilst potentially dangerous, are God’s creatures and we just need to convert them to Christianity in the event that they haven’t already heard The Good News.

    • Martyrdom is not the best road to take, if you ask me, and I guess that is part of the problem with altruism as well. I’ve heard people speak of altruism, for instance, who expected altruism from other people, and who weren’t particularly altruistic themselves. They just wanted to appear altruistic. Self-sacrifise has some of the same issues associated with it that martyrdom has associated with it. Gluttony is another problem. It may be presented as Christian vice, but that’s not the way I see it. Gluttony is the reverse side of martyrdom and altruistic self-sacrifise in that they are both dependent on each other. You have some people wallowing in the hog trough of over abundance while at the same time you have other people famished on air. When the pie is divided in a sensible fashion, nobody goes hungry, and nobody gets more than their share. Starvation by good nature is just plain silly.

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