Monday, March 26, 2012

Behind the Hunger II

After more talking to those who have seen The Hunger Games and doing more research on the author and even reading what other Christians are writing about this latest phenomena, it has caused me to rethink whether I will finish reading the book or see the movie even. I think I will do both. 

It seems important for me to "see for myself" the essence of what this book is really about on my own terms, because I am vacillating between the innate concerns I have about the influence of the books/movie on a predominantly shallow society and the good that can taken from them IF we made the effort to recognize something deeper than the rush of seeing a blockbuster with a friend. Stop and take time to speculate what significance the story line has for you. How is it relevant? What thoughts keep occurring to you beyond the glitter and brawn of the young actors and actresses. The author herself says that the book is written with so many faces and will interpreted differently by many.

People view the books different - as romance, as dystopia, as action adventure, as political, so there seems to be more than one way into the story. (Suzanne Collins)

Repeatedly I have heard the book called a dystopian novel and that in itself is significant, but certainly nothing new. A recent blogger listed his top ten Dystopian novels HERE. And, yes, 1984 is on the list. Honestly, it was the only one that I accurately recognized before reading the list. After Thomas More wrote his infamous Utopia in the 1500, it was just a matter of time before someone would answer that unrealistic setting with its antithesis. 

But my beef with The Hunger Games more than anything else is that too many young people are seeing this as futuristic instead of that similar scenarios have already been played out in parts of the world bound to oppression. It is the refusal to see beyond our borders, beyond our comforts, to places and people that literally breath in despotism that disquiets me.

Below are some of the latest quotes that I have read about The Hunger Games from a variety of places and people.

Collins has transformed the ancient Labyrinth myth into a terrifyingly believable tale of future America. Readers will be hungry for more. -- Rick Riordan, author

A Recent Book That Rocked My Dystopian World  -- Jon Scieszka, Newsweek

It’s opening kids’ eyes to what’s going on in our society, the control and monitoring by government using technology and how people are desensitized to violence in video games—issues that we face every day. -- A teacher from NJ

The Hunger Games trilogy may be fiction, but the heart and soul behind the evil is not. (Monica Selby, Christianity Today)

Some thoughts on desensitization in our present culture of uncensored media:

This is where one of my largest concerns come into play about The Hunger Games - especially the movie. Hollywood distorts. And though Collins was one of the screen writers involved in the formation of the movie itself, you can't tell me that concessions were not made for the sake of dramatization, hype, groupie chattering. Of course it was. That's what sells.

Collins own polarizing statement about media exposure from the time her father fought in the Vietnam War and today where war, violence, and reality blur with fiction is, to me, somewhat contradictory. Listen to her interview below then recall the maniacal reviews of the movie as told particularly by anyone under the age of 30. One girl wrote on my Facebook post, 

Maybe if it had been set in present day in one
of the countries actually in a similar social state, 
fans would be calling for change now instead 
of deciding which boy is the cutest.

Collins is concerned about desensitization in our society

Did Collins' books and especially the movie really provide her intended antidote to desensitization of our younger generation or was it a catalyst to a new level of oblivion?