So, Question: Am I a bad person for LOVING the Hunger Games movie?…Much more than I loved the book, I might add. Last night we saw it with a large group, and the boys seemed unanimous in their approval of the movie, but it seemed the movie left a bad taste in all the girls’ mouths. Many girls I know chose not to go see this movie on a moral high ground because the premise is kids killing each other. Should I have also abstained from the blood bath? And I answer myself, “Perhaps…”

If you are looking to be surprised by the plot of the book/movie, I suggest that you not read this blog, and I also suggest that you might be living under a rock, because this story is everywhere. But I think the reason I justify my love for this book is because I have recently (I know, bad English Teacher Sierra) discovered dystopian literature. I got to read and teach Fahrenheit 451 with my high school students, and the book rocked my WORLD. Fahrenheit 451 depicts a community of people that have outlawed reading because it brings suffering (due to excessive thinking, don’t you know), and have instead favored enormous, four-walled flat screened TV’s that they can interact with. These people have become numb to their relationships, they find conversing with one another “strange.” They are calloused to horrible things like war, and they trivialize death. They drive fast just to have fun, just to feel anything…. And yes, the story is hyperbolic, but I just had to realize how not far off Ray Bradbury was in predicting our future. We numb ourselves with television, and Hulu wants us to watch Grey’s Anatomy on our lunch breaks, and facebook and texting have replaced intra-personal communication in many ways. I don’t really know much about the war in Afghanistan right now. And I know death exists, but I don’t really know anyone intimately that hasn’t died of old age, so therefore, death’s not REALLY a real thing to me just yet. Don’t worry, I know there are problems with that! I am criticizing myself here, people! And so was Ray Bradbury. Controversially, I think he was dead on.

I believe Suzanne Collins, in writing the Hunger Games, is a similar societal commentary, although I have to say, I did not always appreciate her “bumbling rhetoric” (someone on Facebook called it that. Sorry, that’s the best citation I can give). She satirized fashion, making the statement that when we run out of new ideas with fashion, we will keep pushing vanity to an extreme. By having her characters dress up with 9-inch eyelashes and PURPLE up to our brows, and nails with 3-D fixtures and ornate wigs… She’s making fun of us, people.

I recently subscribed to an Instagram (profile?) called Fashion Forward. I’m not sure why. Well, maybe it’s because of my deeply rooted ideology that I need to look cute. Anyways, here were two recent “Fashion Forward” photos.

Here is Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games:
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Not so far off, right?
Furthermore, politically, Collins depicts a dystopia where peace is maintained hy having 24 teenagers thrust into a scientifically engineered arena of evilness to fight to the death, and then making this into a reality TV show that people wearing stuff pictured above watch and enjoy, make favorites, place bets, and spend money on. It’s a little sick. 
Jeremy and I both realized separately yesterday that we were like patrons of the Capitol by patronizing this movie–we were paying to watch kids killing each other…. I even got dressed up to see the film. That can look a lot like endorsement. 
Now, society hasn’t digressed back to Roman times with Lion’s and Gladiators just yet, but we do avidly watch Reality TV shows that are all about bringing people down, and killing their self-esteem. We do, to some extent, revel in others’ misery. Think: Shark Tank. Those people are mean to nice people. Sometimes, it feels immoral. We still watch it. The Bachelor–we are entertained by meanness and girls getting their feelings hurt–we pick favorites and make bets. We say salacious, mean things about the girls that were mean on the show. We become every bit as bad as these people… and I am TOTALLY guilty.

The Hunger Games is holding a mirror up to us, People.

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So here’s the reason, I think, I don’t feel bad about LOVING the movie last night. I think I got the message. I did not enjoy “the blood bath” so to speak. It made me cringe, like it was supposed to. But the movie made me look inward and say… there’s a problem here… even if it’s not really a problem yet. 

I know, I know–I’m changing my tune. Didn’t I just write THIS BLOG? But you know what, this movie was so well-acted (for the most part, cough cough Peetah… cough cough Gale), and so well depicted, and so well-adapted (awesome additions with the Seneca Crane under current, Gary Ross!), and so well-costumed, and just… so excellently executed… that I have to say: I’m reexamining. If nothing else, I think I’m going to cut The Bachelor from my life. It’s a big step for me. 
And the other reason to go see this movie:

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Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen. Wait ’till she tucks in her ducktail. 
You will know what I mean.
So, for those of you who actually made it to the end of this epically long blog, I applaud you (and would think it would be awesome if you commented on my blog, so I can see who is in on my experiment here). For those of you who merely looked at the pictures, skimmed for a second, and clicked away, don’t worry, I don’t blame you….
Ray Bradbury already predicted you would do exactly that.

Oh yeah… Here.

This was Jeremy’s way of preparing for the Hunger Games. This may also be reason # 467 that I married him.

  1. Mar 24, 2012

    I'm so glad you loved it!! I liked the movie so much more than the book as well. I thought it was so well written and acted. 🙂 love this blog post!

  2. Mar 24, 2012
    Dave Rackham

    I would consider adding Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell and Anthem by Ayn Rand if the dystopian theme interests you. All three of these books are provocative are don't require dealing with "bumbling rhetoric." Interesting thoughts Sierra!

  3. Mar 24, 2012

    Well said.

    I read the series and felt awful afterward. I couldn't believe I was reading something so disgusting. Yet, I couldn't put it down and I did have glimmers of thinking it was remarkably alike our society now, or where our country might go in the future. Which was scary. I think you took it one (or ten) steps further than how I thought about it. Thank you for sharing your insight! It's very articulate and mature, understandable and relate-able at the same time. I still cannot decide if I want to see the movie or not. Half of me can't fathom and bear the idea of watching such a disgusting story (although I read it, so which is worse?), yet the other half is so intrigued with the reviews, the concept, and the execution of it. Maybe if I think of it the way you mentioned, her making fun of us, then it wouldn't be so bad.

  4. Mar 24, 2012

    sierra i love you. and you make an excellent–even poignant–point. i especially liked that last dig about bradbury's prediction. ha. amen and amen.

  5. Mar 24, 2012

    Chloe Skidmore pointed me here via her Facebook post. Great thoughts. I've been thinking about media choices, complacency, and civic engagement since reading the books a couple summers ago, and seeing The Hunger Games last night was a healthy reminder. After the movie my brother and I felt the same thing: we hate being part of the Capital. I hope everyone watching the movie or reading the books sees themselves to some degree in those well-dressed crowds.

  6. Mar 24, 2012

    Amen. finding the potential problem (which is enough of a problem) in ourselves is tough to do. I think if you're willing to give up The Bachelor, I should be willing to give something up too.

  7. Mar 24, 2012

    Isn't it ironic that we're all spending time on the internet (most of us probably directed to this blog through facebook or simply through our regular internet meanderings) discussing a 2.5 hour simulated experience that points its finger quite directly at all things artificial? Oh, boy.

  8. Mar 24, 2012
    Regan Gull

    Read every word! And loved it, as usual.

  9. Mar 25, 2012

    Yes, I read them.

  10. Mar 25, 2012

    Too true. Did you look at the rest of the audience and think "we're kind of doing that very thing right now"? during the interview scenes, the audience on the screen almost looks like a mirror of everyone in the theater.

  11. Mar 26, 2012

    I'm Chloe's cousin. I totally agree with everything you said. I loved the Hunger Games movie too, and for the same reasons. It has really made me re-examine the reality tv that I watch as well.

  12. Mar 27, 2012
    Sarah B.

    Very nice post, Sierra! While the thought of children killing each other is absolutely horrific, I think that's part of the point of the story. Katniss and the others see that what the capitol is doing is so wrong, that they know it must be faced head on and changed. So at least change comes in the end, and that's why I wasn't turned off by the theme and ensuing events. Just my opinion!

  13. Mar 27, 2012

    I agree wholeheartedly. "The Hunger Games is holding a mirror up to us, people." Well said, Sierra.

  14. Mar 27, 2012

    Thanks for directing me here, adri! Very interesting point of view.. I enjoyed reading this.

    Also, what was it with that ducktail?? Felt like such an odd time to get weepy..

  15. Mar 28, 2012
    Sierra Penrod

    Haha I wouldn't have gotten weepy during the book with that–it was just such a tender, vulnerable moment, that was nicely executed. Here she is, terrified out of her wits, and all she can remember is the silly, trivial advice of her sister. It is like that is her only mode of survival, and you can almost sense her certain doom… Maybe that's over-analyzing. I just thought it was vulnerable and sad. My husband and I both turned to each other at that moment and gulped.

  16. Mar 28, 2012
    Sierra Penrod

    I'm writing about that in a paper for a lit and film class. I'm curious–how do we compensate for the fact of technology invading and depersonalizing our lives…while using technology to convey our message. Any ideas?

  17. Apr 13, 2012

    I think universally conveying a message is intrusive by nature. Maybe it's not that bad of a thing to be "out of the loop". Or, maybe it's not how things are being spread that's the issue, and what is being spread… I'd like to think that if everyone is aware, we won't let things get too out of hand. … I'd like to think…