Tuesday, May 1, 2012

hunger games

Hi Marcia, about those blue highlights. Good idea, you'd fit right in at the Capitol of HG.

I read the HG trilogy in January (sometimes you do strange things when your kids ask you to). It wasn't a burden, I thought they were decently written for "young adolescent" books. 

What struck me was the frustration of Gale with his obvious solution: if no one watched them, their games would fail. I cannot tell you how many times I've thought those same things as the images of reality TV shows which require the elimination of a "team" member each week or each show assaults viewers. 

What is it about someone else's pain which causes us to look more intently? I recall one of those shows in which a man actually cried because he could not choose whom to eliminate because they all had become friends. Another team member commented on how childish any one was who would not do what it took to win.

So are we trading in our human nature to be titillated and entertained?

I have to say, it was a very good movie. It asked some important questions. The books do, too, but in a way that allows us to put off coming up with answers. 

Part of our culture has become voyeuristic--media has made it so simple. We are no longer living, we're watching others live. We are making choices--and I wonder how deliberated they are. 

In your last personal blog post (strengthen the things that remain), you brought out the fact that you made choices which changed the direction your life was going. You didn't draw the victim card and despair. I guess I'm concerned that too much on-looking will affect us.


Voyeuristic competition isn't new. Sports are a type, aren't they? Talent competitions have been around forever. Most of it has been rooting for the "home team" or one's personal favorite. In the 70's the "Gong Show" reflected a change, though. Competitors were displayed to mock.

Why the change? I think our culture has become generally more cynical. It's OK to have favorites, but better if you can ridicule the opposition. An atmosphere of disrespect reigns. Caricatures of American presidents have become derisive, mocking. 

In Hunger Games, the "losers" were hardly 3-dimensional characters. Katniss and Peeta won because of their skill. And none of their "kills" was purposeful or premeditated. Collins gives us a pair of likeable kids to identify with and root for. 

I think the nature of the competition itself (murder) is a subject to be addressed. But that's another blog.


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