Pop-culture with a social commentary

The Hunger Games. I wonder how many blogs, facebook statuses and tweets have already been posted on this topic. They really have become the next Twilight, haven’t they? Social phenomena that everyone seems to want a piece of; and now they can in two and a half hours without even devoting a weekend to reading the books. I’m going to be honest. I enjoyed the books, they’re a little bit addicting. They are actually well written for teen fiction. I like the complexity of the characters and the well laid out plot. But ultimately I’m conflicted about them. And it’s not for the reason you’re thinking. I’m not conflicted about joining the pop-culture bandwagon.

The novel actually has some interesting social commentaries: the relationship between the first and third worlds, revolution psychology, and an analysis of the role of violence in entertainment. All are worth discussion, but I’d like to focus on the brilliance of the last one. She strikes out against violent entertainment by writing the most horrifying and violent games imaginable. So smart; there’s something A Modest Proposal-ish to it. But as I was sitting in the theatre thinking about the movie and its argument against violent media I also wondered about the thousands of others who have seen it this weekend. And I wanted to know how many of them understood the point, and how many of them just wanted a “good show”. And that’s when I got scared. Because without understanding the point, if you just walk out saying, “That was a really good movie, didn’t you jump with that dog jumped out of the forest” without also saying, “How much of what I saw today is present in my media and entertainment. What precautions should I take to not desensitize myself?” Then what’s the point besides making money and entertaining people. Because, in viewing The Hunger Games don’t we become the Capitol? The ones who are watching it merely for entertainment value. Scary, right?

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