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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2010

Straight Talk: 'Avatar' leaves fans depressed and longing

BY LAUREN FORCELLA

It's time for some straight talk.

Beginning Thursday, The Blade will run the nationally syndicated Straight Talk for Teens feature, an advice column that tackles tough questions about issues affecting adolescents and young adults.

From overeating to knowing when it's OK for parents to snoop in their kids' rooms, the column looks at complex topics from the points of view of teens.

Each feature will run a question, answers from teens and young adults from around the country, and a response from the column's founder and editor, Lauren Forcella.

To ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalkforteens.com or write to P.O. Box 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

Dear Straight Talk: I have a grandnephew, 15, from Kentucky and a grandson, 16, from California. Both say Avatar is the best movie they've ever seen. When I asked why, I expected to hear about the amazing graphics. But they surprised me saying it was the storyline. Independently, they both mentioned the scene where the princess blesses the animal before killing it and the scene where Jake Sully is accepted into the tribe by all the linked hands. I'm interested in how other young people were impacted by this film. - John Wood, Carmichael, Calif.

Brie, 18, Ashland, Ore.: The humans were going to wipe out the Na'vi for resources much like we did to the Native Americans. I felt depressed after the movie because such repetitive history on earth doesn't end well like it did in Avatar. Would I move there? I would rather make Earth a better place.

Gregg, 18, Sacramento, Calif.: At first I was really depressed because I wanted to live on Pandora and knew I

couldn't. It was so real. I wanted to fly, ride horses, track things, hunt to survive, be able to "plug in" to all life and understand the whole environment. The scene that sticks out is when the princess kills that animal with honor and respect. I doubt a movie will have a lasting effect on people, but I plan to work toward living more like an avatar.

Lennon, 23, Fair Oaks, Calif.: James Cameron's created world strikes a deep longing for a world that once existed on our planet. By comparison, today's world seems lifeless, full of amateur attempts to replace the longing. We envy the connection the Na'vi have with Nature. It's a connection we could attain, too, if we would pull ourselves out of our technological tar pit and stop considering ourselves more important than the environment. Would I go live on Pandora? Duh.

Gabriel, 18, Ashland, Ore.: When Jake Sully is accepted into the clan, I felt a deep belonging, a feeling of being ONE. When the princess blesses the animal, it is a message of honor and thanks for life given.

Maureen, 17, Redding, Calif.: "Avatar" was definitely one of my favorite movies. It showed a world where people are connected to each other and to nature. It demonstrated the importance of both loyalty and civil disobedience. It promoted diplomacy by showing the disaster war and corporate mentality causes. Would I move there? It's not right to damage our planet, then run.

Savannah, 16, Folsom, Calif.: When the Na'vi connected with other life through their braids, it is similar to how we connect in the mental, inward way. Many people wish they could live on Pandora. I can see why.

Katelyn, 15, Huntington Beach, Calif.: What made "Avatar" powerful was the stunning graphics and the terrible twisting of "God" into something like Mother Nature. It was like "Transformers", but with garbage messages.

Geoff, 24, Redding, Calif.: I'm appalled by the younger generation's cash-infused bedazzlement with this film. "Avatar" is about moving beyond the guilt of white privilege - without losing the privilege. It's marketed by some of the largest companies on the planet that are thriving on a save-the-earth message, while feeding right back into the corporate machine. Want a real story of change? Watch "District 9".

Dear John: With a few exceptions, "Avatar's" storyline awakened a deep longing in youth - so deep that many felt depressed afterward. I believe the hero could have been any color. The insanity of the military-industrial-corporate machine is becoming clearer to mass culture. What depresses is that nobody knows how to dismantle it and live on this planet peacefully and sustainably. Any ideas? Write us.

To ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalkforteens.com or write PO Box 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628.



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