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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay Philosophy

In celebration of the release of Mockingjay, I'm going to discuss some of the philosophy of the Hunger Games series. Warning: I probably have put way too much thought into this and it may sound a teensy bit snobby. *shrug*

The most in-your-face plot line in the Hunger Games is (duh) the Hunger Games, this televised gladiator-style battle to the death between the chosen children of the twelve districts of Panem. Obviously, we don't have any fights to the death being televised on our TVs, but we have to wonder if society is heading in this bloodthirsty direction. Look at today's most popular television shows. Reality TV ranks pretty high with Americans, as well as anything with violent themes. Episodes of reality TV where people get hurt are especially popular (remember the Snooki face-punch incident?). As time passes, television patrons become more desensitized to sex, drugs and violence on these shows, so the shows have to feature more of these things in a more shocking manner than before.

Reality TV has taken the seriousness out of so many things. For example, falling in love used to be a personal, private thing that everyone did on their own, including famous people. Now, if you're slightly famous and need a quick buck, you do a reality show to find your "true love" (aka person you will sleep with and never call again) out of a group of 20 "aspiring actresses" (aka current or future porn stars). The result is a 12-week spectacle of skankery that leaves the audience needing a shot of penicillin, and the concept of love stomped all over with 6-inch stilettos. It's really only a matter of time before TV producers start televising something awful like bum fights, which isn't a huge step from training our kids to fight to the death.

I think that the Hunger Games series illustrates this point well. The cruelty, while upsetting to the people of Panem, is still commonplace enough for it to have gone on unchallenged for 75 years. The people from the Capitol, who force these children to murder each other for entertainment, are so detached from humanity that they parade the poor kids like livestock before forcing them to kill each other. I hope I'm not around to see the day that our humanity is that far gone.

There isn't a whole lot that one person can do to stop this downward spiral into monstrosity. I could tell everyone to stop watching reality television, but there are millions more people in America alone that eat that crap up with a spoon on their Tivos, so it will never go away. Maybe if everyone read the Hunger Games series, they would be able to see the connection of that world with ours. Maybe then people would watch a family sitcom instead of For the Love of Some Washed Up D-List Celebrity.

So if you haven't done so, read the Hunger Games series. It's really incredible.

1 comment:

  1. Yes they were and are incredible !

    The entire story is about repression and revolution, innocence and exploitation, love and struggle.

    It is a story of and for the 21st century and reflects the frustration and the culture within which we now find ourselves.

    Mine was the generation that said "NO" to an absurd war and then helped to end the draft and embarrassed the war mongers so that it took them another 30 years to get us back into another war.

    But the Reagan era quietly and systematically nulled out our accomplishments, destroyed student activism by bankrupting and undermining the education infrastructure while engaging in a concomitant destruction of the middle and working classes. It was a radical solution, presented as patriotic and for our "protection" and it worked.... for a time.

    "Hunger Games" shows that that time is over.


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