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Exploration is out and culture war is in, thanks to “Avatar” and Elon Musk.

Pop culture has become too skeptical and depressed about the future of humanity to envision bold moves into the unknown. “Lightyear” and “Strange World” are representative of this tendency. Glumness isn’t just confined to the screen; it’s spread to would-be visionaries such as Elon Musk. James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” is explicitly anti-human in an off-handed sort of way. A brief glimpse of a lesbian couple in “Lightyear” incurred the wrath of conservatives. Liberals, on the other hand, were happily struck by the film’s diverse setting of Avalonia.