“Bones” is a TV show I rather enjoy for the clever banter, the amusing actors, the slick effects, and the humor, But last night’s episode was sickening.

It was one big commercial for Avatar.

The characters discussed their excitement about the movie incessantly.

They stood around and watched the trailer on their big Minority-Report style computer screen.

They got in line with a mob of Avatar fans who were all painted up to look like the blue aliens.

They were wide-eyed and obsessed, and discussed specific plot points, as if this was ten times bigger than The Lord of the Rings.

And the geekiest character of them all got laid with an scantily clad geek girl (who was supposed to be sexy, I guess) in a tent right there in line for the movie while other characters smiled admiringly.

Bleccch. I don’t know that a piece of marketing has ever so effectively killed my interest in a film.

I’ll see it and review it, but I don’t plan to contribute a penny to its box-office. Not that that will matter.

In general, American moviegoers don’t care to question advertising. If they’re told it’s “the greatest adventure of all time” by a commercial, they’ll obediently line up, and anybody who reminds them that the slogan was written by the movie’s marketers, not by anybody who’s actually seen it, is just a snob trying to spoil their fun. (I recently observed some Facebook friends congratulating each other on their refusal to pay any attention to the criticisms of New Moon, and basically resolving that critical thinking is a drag when it gets in the way of having fun.)

They’d climb on the Titanic even if experts could prove to them that the ship was headed for an iceberg.

I’m pretty sure that the process of learning critically has given me greater joys and more profound encounters with movies than I would ever have had if I’d stuck to swallowing what the Machine stuffs down my throat.

But then, that is grace, isn’t it? That wise teachers invested in helping classrooms of students wake up to the pleasures and rewards of concentrating and questioning. I’m grateful.

I’m still a beginner, but I ain’t turnin’ this car around at this point. The journey’s getting more exciting all the time. A meal at McDonald’s shouldn’t be cursed, but you won’t persuade me that it’s a feast — because I’ve eaten at Babette’s. I can still enjoy a Twinkie from time to time, but don’t tell me it’s The Meal of the Year… not when a real feast is right around the corner.

Don’t tell me Up in the Air is the movie of the year without taking the time to consider… oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. That rant will have to wait.

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