Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Marianne Williamson interviews James Cameron, suggests ways in which Avatar will usher in global peace

Marianne Williamson, former presidential hopeful and public embodiment of the aunt who won’t tell anyone if she catches you smoking weed before Thanksgiving dinner, is no stranger to making bold assertions about the world that are often understood best through pop culture. And yet, despite being well acquainted with Williamson’s flair for out of the box thinking, we’re still a little taken aback by her latest suggestion: That the lessons taught by 2009 film Avatar could be the key to saving the world—or at least creating lasting peace in the Middle East.

During a long (sometimes interesting, but more frequently frustrating) interview with James Cameron for her podcast, Williamson tells the filmmaker a story of the Na’vi’s diplomatic power. “I want to tell you this,” she says. “I was in Israel and I was talking to some Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers. And I said—I’m telling you the truth—I said, ‘Well, you know, the Great Mother doesn’t choose sides.... She’s there to protect balance. She doesn’t pick a winner, she protects balance.... And you know what the Palestinian and the Israelis in the room.... You know their reaction?”

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“What’d they say?” Cameron asks.

Williamson silently nods on her end of the call.

“They thought about it,” he says.

“They nodded,” Williamson replies. “And I think it was because some of them had seen Avatar.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Cameron says, probably trying to avoid suggesting that his movie had blown these peacekeepers’ minds. “They knew the reference, yeah.”

Williamson then quotes A Course In Miracles, saying that God “lifts you above the battlefield” instead of granting victories, to which Cameron replies: “Tell that to the Philistines, they got their ass kicked!” Williamson nods wisely during an uncomfortably long silence. “They sure did,” she says.

Throughout the entire episode, Williamson talks about Avatar with the kind of reverence usually reserved for sacred texts. “I was pretty universally teased about the fact that I had put out tweets saying that if Western civilization survives it will be because enough people see Avatar,” she says during the introduction to a clip from the episode. “Well, you know, there’s some serious truth to that.”

“Hello!” she says after summarizing the movie’s plot. “This is not a cartoon story. This is a very real story, and we’re living it right now.” Later she asks Cameron about the sci-fi gunships from the movie, “Do you think that one day planes will fly with circular wings like that?”

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“Yeah, we have them now, they’re called helicopters!” he says.

If you’re reading this from the U.N. and would like to hear more of these serious truths, head on over here for the full episode. For everyone else, we suppose there’s nothing to do but hold on until Avatar 2 is finally released and global utopia arrives.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.