Hunger Games Nauseating

The Disclaimer: I have not read the books.

The Background: I knew nothing about it other than advertising. Tim teaches high school so a lot of his students had been talking about it.

Historical perspective: I don’t typically like SciFi. I’m not hard-wired for it. I never understood The Matrix. I find the entire architectural surroundings of SciFi bothersome, all that chrome and clean hard lines.

Expectations: I had none because what I knew of the books and movie ahead of time could fit on the back of a flea.

The Best Part of  The Hunger Games: the popcorn

What happened: Shortly after Katniss out ran the fire and climbed the tree, I left the theater. Perhaps I’d had enough of cats for one weekend. (See Saturday’s blog). But I couldn’t sit through another moment. I find despair oppressive. I was nauseated from the first scene of the kids turned loose to kill — no wait, slaughter — one another.

Perhaps the books are better. I hope so. Because of the little dialogue that was in the first hour of the movie, there was only one memorable sentence — Control the hope. Give them a little bit of hope but not too much.

It’s a line worth pondering.

Not much else was.

What mortified me: The number of very young children in the movie. I just have to say this and you can be all kind of mad at me all you want but we have some dumbass parents in this nation of ours. Lame. Irresponsible. They don’t have a clue what it takes to raise a child up rightly. And yes, I think having raised four to bright, shining adulthood makes me somewhat of a voice of experience on this matter. One 7 or 8 year old boy sitting three seats over from Tim and I had to get up and leave the movie. He had a look of sheer terror on his face. Nobody walked out with him.

I think taking a child under the age of 12 to see this movie is a form of emotional child abuse. Here’s why: Young children think concretely. They do not understand nuances and irony. Sarcasm isn’t funny to them. It’s hurtful. Their fears are real and very pronounced. They need to feel safe and secure in order to grow to bright, shining adulthood. They may do it despite our failures as parents but they do it much better if we provide the right climate for such growth. This movie is disturbingly violent. While as an adult, I can appreciate the editorial comment of some of violence, a child of 8 doesn’t have a clue what commentary means. What they see, what they know is that adults are flocking to a movie in which children kill children and we say it’s okay because it’s just a movie and it’s all about self-defense anyway.

Dystopian Genre: Anthony Burgess wrote one of the classics, A Clockwork Orange. Said he of the work: “It seems priggish or pollyannaish to deny that my intention in writing the work was to titillate the nastier propensities of my readers. My own healthy inheritance of original sin comes out in the book and I enjoyed raping and ripping by proxy. It is the novelist’s innate cowardice that makes him depute to imaginary personalities the sins that he is too cautious to commit for himself.”

Burgess admitted that he was appealing to the very worst in all of us. Stanley Kubrick who translated the novel into film, also came to despise its popularity, and worked to ban the movie from television and video release. Kubrick was disturbed by the number of people who claimed that the movie compelled them to rape or attack others, and he began to fear for his own family’s well-being.

Proverbs 23: 7 sums it up best: As  a man thinks in his heart so is he.

And Solzhenitsyn adds: The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.

I have heard that the Hunger Games trilogy is redemptive but just like with Clockwork Orange where Kubrick slashed the redemptive ending,  there was nothing at all redemptive about this first Hunger Games movie. It was full of despair and hopelessness. Justifying the killing of a child in the name of self-defense holds no redemptive quality, not if you believe in the admonishment of Jesus to not harm a child, and I do.

Besides, I’m pretty sure that millions who saw the movie will never read the books, never know of any redemption. Who is going to explain the redemption of The Hunger Games to the terrified little boy sitting three seats down from us?

I think what really nauseated me about the movie is the overwhelming sense of acceptance of violence toward children. Maybe I’m just sensitive to it. But I’ll tell you what I will never understand, people who will stand in line for hours to see a movie about children killing children and call it entertainment, the best movie they’ve seen in years.

Is it me, or do we have an insatiable imaginative appetite for bloodlust and darkness.

Have we have become a people who no longer feel it necessary to instill hope in our children?

 

 

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • Cassie Humble

    We didn’t know much about it (hadn’t heard of the books until the movie came out) but went to see it yesterday out of curiosity. I agree it’s not a movie for small children to be watching. But I think you’re missing the point. We thought it was a beautiful story of self sacrifice. The girl was a great role model for girls. She was not blood thirsty. She did not want to kill. She only did to protect others. She sacrificed herself for her sister, and tried to help others in the game. Even in the end, rather than kill her team mate, she was willing to take her own life rather than to kill him. It was about sacrifice and standing up to oppression. It was inspiring, not despairing. I wish you had stayed till the end. You would not be focused on violence, but.. yes, hope.

  • Aksorrells

    I adore your honesty and passion for justice and children and innocence. My column that runs this Wednesday offers a different take on the movie. I don’t think it will change your mind, but that’s okay. It’s not supposed to. And I’m still not sure my opposing opinion is “right.” I just know we need to keep pressing on together and for Him.

  • JAZ

    Well, that was the author’s point: she was showing us the logical conclusion of our current obsession with violence, “reality TV”, hypocrisy, and the dehumanization of others. By the way, I love that you know that the final chapter of A Clockwork Orange (in which Alex and his droogs grow bored with being hooligans and become middle-aged, respectable citizens with wives, kids, and well-paying jobs) had been chopped off. It was Burgess’ American publisher who first made the cut, by the way, saying something to the effect of, “You don’t need to soften it for us, we Yanks know how things really are.”

  • Bekahjane Porter

    My opinion of the story (and I in fact actually read it through to the end) is that it exhibits how hope is forged amid great tribulation. I went away from it changed, for the better. It is not a story that everyone, however, will have patience nor understanding therof. It is a deep. And it js hard. As was actually true in Rome centuries ago, when people (young and old) were forced to fight against their will for the sole purpose of entertaining an arena of so called civilized people … this story is a modern day depiction of how a corrupt government in our time could stoop so.low as to cause our own children the same fate. I appreciate the fact that my children grasp history and grab onto hope in the future, while knowing that the present is sometimes a fight not of their own choosing.

  • Sharon O

    You are so right on I am angered how many parents do NOT do the job justice. It IS a form of abuse to take a small child into a movie like that. But also the question for me would be why would a movie theater allow it? for the money? don’t they have ‘age appropriate’ codes of viewing? I am saddened that we cheapen so much these days then we ask with loud questions… WHY did that happen?? when a child acts out and thinks it might be like the movies when in reality someone does get killed or intensely wounded. Abuse comes in many forms and most people do not think of the ‘age appropriate ones’. Adults need to be the responsible ones.

  • DLCC

    How can you truly review what you have not read nor finished watching. I agree it has no place with small children but it is a story of how a group of people were being controlled and how someone had the courage to stand up to that control and in the end overcome it. It is about the acceptance of a society and opening their eyes to what should not be accepted. I suggest before you review you read the entire book or see the entire movie. You cannot judge a book by it’s cover, nor a movie by the first 20 minutes.

  • Anonymous

    Whether the movie has redeeming qualities or not, I’m not going. Those types of images disturb me.

    Tim

  • TNF

    Let me say this first: I enjoyed the film, but I doubt I would be able to separate the film from an experience like you had with the young boy in the theater. Further, I support anyone who chooses not to see it out of whatever sense of conviction.

    But regarding your larger point re: violence in our stories, on the one hand I totally agree with you. I personally hate the way we so often glorify violence. On the other, I didn’t see this film or story as glorifying it. Further, I struggle with the same issues of giving stories that contain any violence at all when thinking about reading Bible stories to my girls, who are still under 10. It’s not like only the minor stories of the Bible contain violence: The Exodus, the Flood, Joshua, Judges, Esther, King David’s life . . . the gospels, Acts, etc. Now, while these stories all contain violence, only a few of them glorify it. Indeed, Jesus’ own framing of things makes it hard to justify any violence, let alone celebrate it as his followers. But the Exodus still is what it is, as are the other stories.

    In the Hunger Games, I saw a story that contained violence, but didn’t praise it much, if at all, certainly less so than the stories of King David. Indeed, I saw an oppressive power seeking to intimidate others and justify itself by turning the children of the oppressed into inhumane killers, like the oppressors are. It wasn’t the heroine’s violence that gave hope and courage to the oppressed, but her compassion and humanity, even under threat of death, to a little girl she barely knew. She refuses to become, even under threat of death, what the Games are intended to make her into, so she becomes a story of hope and inspiration and humanity.

    Again, my girls haven’t even seen most Disney films or even the Prince of Egypt, but I don’t think we can conclude that violence w/n a story makes a “bad” story, even for some older children. That line of thinking stands to condemn about 80% of the scriptures. But I do believe in being appropriate to maturity level and the like, and I agree that we must see what the story “says” about violence and everything else and make a call about whether it urges us toward goodness or evil.

  • Mariel G

    Hunger Games isn’t about the future it’s about the now. This is our society now.

    I’m a teenager and I see every day how my friends and I are forced to “fight to the death” for scraps for the amusement of you adults. We are trained like gladiators to fight, with a couple winners who become billionaires and all the rest of us as losers.

    Teachers, parents, and so-called leaders in society are totally liars about this. You talk and talk about how kids should be protected, and then you are all preying on us. Liars.

    This isn’t a joke. We aren’t laughing. Don’t think we’re going to forget how American society has betrayed and destroyed us in order to gain a few more luxuries for adults. It’s not about democrats or republicans or conservatives or liberals. You are equally corrupt, just talking and talking with your fake smiles, your fake concern, your fake religion, all equally self-centered and guilty of selling our generation into debt slavery to finance your toys or ideology or whatever.

    The adults are Panem. That is the message of the movie for millions of young people. Haha. So funny how you don’t get that.

    • http://theradicaljourney.com/2012/03/19/why-worry-about-women/ Tim

      Mariel, raise some kids of your own for a few decades and then let us know if you still think all adults are evil. Parents do the best they can with what they have, just as teens are doing. If you think it’s not enough, then do more. That way you’ll be part of the solution, just like a lot of us who are working our backsides off in a fallen world.

      Grace goes a long way because we all come up short without it.

      Blessings and grace to you,
      Tim

    • Beakerj

      Mariel I love your take on this & I’d love to be able to sit down & talk to you about this. Many years ago when I was a young British punk (note the British, it’s important..) I used to bunk off school to go on anarchist demos in London, because I thought the system was pathetic & was about to blow us all to Kingdom come with a nuclear war. I still think pretty much the same about the system, but people? I love them a whole lot more now, & believe that there will be redemption, & that pockets of ‘resistance’ exist & are making a difference.

      You show fantastic thinking skills…read widely & test everything, find places & people you can throw these ideas at, & see what comes back at you.

      And Katniss? Fantastic example of someone who fights…but tries to be as constructive & non-violent as she can be as she wades through a nightmare.
      Wishing you baskets of intellectual bread.

    • Luke A

      But you know you’ll be an adult someday, right? Way to have a long-term perspective there, kiddo.

      • http://theradicaljourney.com/2012/03/19/why-worry-about-women/ Tim

        When I was a kid the saying among teens and young adults was “Never trust anyone over 30.” Eventually they all turned 30.

        Tim

        • Luke A

          I think an important lesson in all of this is two-fold:
          1. One should never base an entire life’s ideology on a fleeting series of popular young adult novels
          2. This is what many many young people do (music, movies, books, etc.)
          3. How then do us evil adults address it?

          Clearly we can’t completely ignore it and write it off as adolescent nonsense (I’m close enough to my extended period of adolescence to remember how very sincere I was), but we also can’t give it so much credence either.

          The fact is, if all the truths of the world are hidden in the Hunger Games, (as opposed to the numerous dystopian and apocalyptic novels it rips off), then society as we know it is over. Because everything has been revealed.

          Art is important, and stories are powerful…but let’s face it. This is pretty much dreck, albeit well-plotted and slightly thoughtful dreck.

          I guess the violence doesn’t really have any effect whatsoever on me, but that may be a generational issue.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2QSV5FEMULMB4LDUFMKCIA76Y David

    I stopped reading this “review” as soon as the author said she had not actually seen the entire movie. The author decided it was better to bury her head in the sand rather than be confronted with anything that shatters her naive view of children and the role of violence as a means of control in society.

    To quote from another movie in which a child does unspeakable violence, “Hanna”: “Sometimes children are bad people too.”

    “The Matrix”, by the way, is the most deeply philosophic movie ever made. If you’re a philosophy major, you can spend a whole semester discussing nothing but “The Matrix” in some universities; and how it relates to Plato, Kant, Schlegel, Schopenhauer and Baudrillard among others. One of the most brilliant aspect of the movie is that you can watch it on so many levels, that the philosophical aspects can be overlooked without diminishing the entertainment value.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      I think you’ve just explained the problem with being a philosophy major.

  • Aly

    So you didn’t read the books, didn’t finish the movie, and don’t really know anything about the series, and you’re trying to critique it?

    Next time maybe be a responsible writer and finish the series, or at least the movie, and then you can provide actual criticism. That is if you take your head out of the clouds and actually look at the message that the author was trying to get across.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Ahh.. but Aly, I did finish the movie. Or the last 10 minutes of it. And I was clear that I was not reviewing the books.

    • Thereisnogreyarea

      What she writes and thinks, are her opinions, whether its of a movie or just 5 minutes of a movie, if its subject matter that offends her she has the right to state so. And i happen to agree with her, and tim and others who see her point

  • AFRoger

    As I read some of the comments below, particularly Mariel G’s, I found they echoed many of my own questions. Haven’t we been, for years, sending young people into battle so that the lucky winners could feel more secure in the supply of cheap oil and/or freedom from political shocks that might threaten our illusion of economic growth at the expense of all the supports life on earth? What was the Vietnam War for? No, really? It ain’t a coincidence that 80% of the 58,200+ names on the Wall were not old enough to vote.

    This morning, I received this partial message from a friend, an Iraq War vet with blood on his hands and the weight of Atlas’ burden on his soul:

    “So sorry to have missed you guys last night. I was just so depressed! But believe it or not, I caught a movie, ‘The Hunger Games’ that made me want to live again last night. I may have pretty low self-worth, but I love helping those in need. I need to be strong in order to help those that are weak. That is the message of the movie (I’ve read the first two novels, currently working on third).”

    His words. Not mine. No joke.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      And Roger, I can understand how someone who has been to war might relate to this movie in a way that I cannot, and do not want to.

  • random

    grow up!

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      If growing up means that I have to embrace the notion of children killing children as a form of entertainment, then spare me that sort of maturity.

      • http://theradicaljourney.com/2012/03/28/advice-for-those-married-to-a-pregnant-person/ Tim

        Exactly.

  • Amyjhartley

    Thank you! My husband and I went to see this movie and I cried the entire movie. I was mortified and this story was horrible. At the end there was applause from the audience. I couldn’t believe people liked it. I have been looking online to see if anyone else felt the same way I do and you are the first. I’m haunted by the violence of this movie and am still moved to tears even thinking about. Something that will haunt me forever…evil is evil no matter what context it is written in.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      As CS Lewis might say, You, too, huh? Thank you.

  • Crimson_bolt

    Concerned mother? or Troller? Bashing a movie you didn’t even watch 30 min of? Sounds like trolling to me :D

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Watched an hour of it and then the last 10 minutes of it. I watched enough to know I had enough of it.

  • Meanbeaver

    You have to watch the movie fully in order to put in a valued crtique.

    Your closemindedness and lack of understanding scares me into thinking there are more of you out tere then we need Karen.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Well, if you buy into the movie’s premise, I suppose you could just shed yourself of people who aren’t as open-minded as you, then, heh?

  • Anonymous

    Karen,

    I can appreciate the emotion. A few years ago I started to read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” When I came across the act of violence against one of the protagonists I nearly bailed on the book. It was graphic and revolting. I finished the book because I needed to see justice. But I wasn’t satisfied that the author had truly written a book about women’s rights and the problem of sexual mistreatment as many of the stats sprinkled throughout the book suggested. It wasn’t until book three that I got to see where the author was going, and that he indeed accomplished what he said he was setting out to do.

    I wonder if you don’t need the same level of patience with this movie series.

    Peace, Karen.

    Larry

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Too old for that sort of patience. I don’t have time to waste watching people find violence entertaining.

      • Anonymous

        What do you do, Karen, with Dostoevsky, whose regularly used a murder as the launching pad to explore philosophical themes?

        • Karen Spears Zacharias

          I don’t hold it up to ten-year olds as entertainment fare.

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          I don’t read Dostoevsky to 10-year olds.

          • Anonymous

            No one is defending showing the movie to ten year olds.

  • Holly

    Sorry, Karen – you totally missed the point. You have to compare this story to Lord of the Flies or A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. Brutal and tasteless – but redemptive in the end. It tells a story of what happens to a society when it cheapens life – it does NOT endorse the cheapening of life – and it tells how (in the end….but you’ve gotta stick with it to the end, like all good stories) a group of people overcome a corrupt and controlling government. It’s about love, morality, and self-sacrifice – all the way through. Should a 9 year old see it? No way. Not at all. But a 16 year old? Yes.

    It is important – really important – to READ the books (all of them) before reviewing them. Can you imagine trying to tell the entire story of Aslan and Narnia on the basis of one book? If you only reviewed the first few, you’d have to say that it endorsed killing lions, and everyone should kill lions.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Not once did I claim to be reviewing the books. In fact, I was clear that I was not doing that at all.

  • Subrobail

    This idea that you have to watch the “entire movie” in order to “fairly” review it is patently absurd. I don’t have to go in to an “adult” movie theater & give the movie a “fair” hearing to review it — I know it’s disgusting simply by passing by. If you have to wait to the end of a trilogy to get the “redemptive” message, it makes me wonder what purpose the movie maker is truly intending. Hmmm. First titillate people’s worst instincts so they can secretly enjoy the journey, then justify it with a purposeful ending. No thank you. It’s like justifying rape so you can experience how bad it is, and realize that not endorsing rape is so noble.

    • http://theradicaljourney.com/2012/03/19/why-worry-about-women/ Tim

      Exactly. This post is not about whether Hunger Games is a good film. It’s about how disturbing it is to some people, and where that disturbance comes from. Artistic merits, redemptive features, etc., are not the point.

      Tim

      • J Johnson89

        Should we ever read books which disturb us, which challenge us to action – say, maybe, books about little children who are murdered (like Karen writes about,) or about the Holocaust?

        I don’t like to. They upset me.

        But you know….I have to believe that I *should* read books like that. Not to “imagine” or “enjoy” the darkness – not at all – but to let my heart be bruised and broken and changed.

        • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

          The question is not whether we should be rendered by the true things of life — such as Karly’s murder — but what it says about us when we are “entertained” by the thought of children killing children. That’s an entirely different question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1517719217 Mary Cooke

    I started the book and had to put it aside before I finished the first chapter. It was just not my thing. But I talked to my 11 yr old grandaughter this weekend and she has read all three books and was eager to see the movie. She convinced me that maybe I should try reading it again. Still the whole idea of the book kind of creeps me out. And I am one who doesn’t want to waste time if I think I don’t like something….but then enough of the comments here are encouraging me. The book is being read in our local high school and if the comments here are any indication, there is probably a lot of good discussion going on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1069765960 Rachel Mahar Homen

    If you read the WHOLE trilogy you would see that the story is about REVOLUTION against the sick/twisted/tyrannical gvmnt of the time. The “widely accepted violence against children” as you put it is the WHOLE POINT! It is SICK and WRONG and citizens of the ‘capitol’ see it as ‘entertainment’. If you had bothered to finish the movie you would seen Katniss take a stand against the retched evil of the gvmnt and stand up and say “NO THIS IS WRONG I WON’T PLAY YOUR GAME”. If you read the books you will see how her acts of bravery spark the rest of the citizens of Panem to revolution and overthrow the evil gvmnt and in the end Katniss herself makes a choice to NEVER allow such atrocities as the ‘hunger games’ to take place EVER again….you seem to make judgments based on no facts…..

    • http://theradicaljourney.com/2012/03/28/advice-for-those-married-to-a-pregnant-person/ Tim

      I don’t know about Karen but for me, in my comment earlier, it’s not judgment of what the books teach. It’s judgment about not wanting to see those types of images. I know there are horrible things in this world, and I see the effects of those things at work every day. I choose not to see Hollywood’s version of children killing children on screen.

      Tim

      • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

        I echo that sentiment, Tim.

      • consvltvs

        While the movie did have some wonderful moments and positive themes, like self-sacrifice, courage, and compassion, the filmmakers spoiled it all by what I hoped never to see: the casual murder of a 12-year-old by an older child. If filmmakers can put that on screen, they can show anything. There really are to be no limits, then, to the images in our entertainment. Perhaps worse? The majority opinion is in defense of the filmmakers’ “dark” choices. More, this reaction itself is proof that the people opposing violence in film 20 years ago were right. Seeking ever greater shock value with ever more sophisticated special effects, Hollywood now is happy to pull in revenue by jettisoning the last taboo. There simply has to be a limit, a line somewhere–or not, and then we will have become true barbarians.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for pointing out the similarities of our country’s acceptance of the ritual sacrifice of the unborn for the sake of convenience and the unspeakable evil of pitting youth against one another in a televised fight to the death for the entertainment of some and intimidation of the masses.  I truly hope more Americans, and especially young people, begin to question what kind of society would allow their children to fight to the death, and the slippery slope of losing liberty and qualifying others’ lives by their utility that could lead to such horrors.  The books were amazing, and the movie does great justice to the stark realities of Panem and the hope and loyalty the young people have in the midst of such brutality.  Bringing a child of 7 to the movie would make no sense if the child had not read the books and had no frame of reference for what the film is trying to convey.  Chances are good those parents had not read the books themselves.  I brought my ten year old son and his two cousins because I had read all three books, other cousins had read them, and my son wanted to read them.  We had long discussions before and after the movie.  I truly think the books are more emotionally powerful because the reader experiences all the pain directly through Katniss’s thoughts.  I don’t think it is too much of a burden for a child in this country who is routinely protected from the news to learn that some boys of his age in third world countries are abducted from their families and forced to fight and kill.  Many boys in the US enjoy playing video games, and some of those involve simulated war.  We talked about whether children in war-torn countries, whose family members could be killed by bombs in open areas, would want to come home after school and play violent video games.  Sadly, these are realities that our children will learn about soon enough.  These are the types of conversations we should be having with our youth around these books and the movie – they are a golden opportunity to discuss themes of justice, respect for all human life, selfishness, oppression, loyalty, hope, etc.

  • Chris W.

    I started to read the book and did not like the idea of teenagers killing one another for the sport of viewers–so I stopped reading it. Even if the trilogy ends up bringing hope and or justice by the third book–still not going to read it.

    Of course, I cannot critique the book either.

  • Ayannah Mers

    I think there are several important things to take into consideration. 1) The movie was rated PG-13, meaning parents are strongly cautioned that content within the movie may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13. In my humble opinion, parents can not drag their 12 and under kids to a movie rated PG-13 and then complain the movie was not appropriate for young children. That is simply common sense. 2) The movie was not intended to be a “happy” or “feel good” movie. Nor was it intended to be a stand-alone product, as the movie was only the first part of a trilogy. As unpleasant as the concept may sound, Karen, I encourage you to read the whole series, and then examine you thoughts and emotions to determine if you feel the same way. Perhaps you did not find redemptive qualities in Part 1 of the series, but you just may find the redemption which you seek upon completing the series.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      I do intend to read at least the first book but I want to make it clear that this post wasn’t about the books at all.

  • Kim

    …and there in lies the belief system of western culture, if you do not experience everything you do not have a valid opinion. At this point, this tiny point in time, in the story of man, our culture has decided that experience is supreme over critical thought and discussion. The belief that what I experience is the only thing that exists. I don’t have to experience violence to call it what is it, violence. There’s enough violence inside me to know what is it – even if I never witness one image.

    I have read The Hunger Games, and it’s a valid choice to avoid images that portray the worst of humanity. Some think The Hunger Games comes around to redemption. Maybe. Maybe not. A broader perspective might be, can we as humans redeem anything that is evil by partaking in it? Can I redeem violence and change the world by partaking in violence – even with just my eyes?

    I am so hungry. We are so hungry. We will fill our hunger one way or another. Today in our western culture, we are presented with many choices and many paths. Everything available to us is meant to numb us or make us feel a need for something. The Hunger Games no less. While Suzanne Collins might be writing out of a vision in her heart and mind, movies are about money. Yours, mine, and now theirs. Might they be using you and I?

    As I wrote, I was reminded of wisdom. The Good News Bible has 189 references to the word wisdom. So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skillful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world’s wisdom is foolishness! (1 Corinthians 1:20)

    We are all but dust, and this dust is hungry.

  • http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/ Marilyn

    This is a troubling and ignorant blog post. 1. You did not read the books 2. You left the movie. For years we have had a young adult genre where books that reflect dystopian societies are published and widely read. This is nothing new. The books are good. While the last one felt like it was too much, I still liked it. I believe that you may be surprised at how many people had read the books before seeing the movie – everyone I knew had done so – they went informed. They had discussed this. I have 5 kids and we have taught our kids to critically think through issues, issues like violence, reality TV, power for the sake of power and the list goes on. The author herself in an excellent interview on Scholastic says these are not for young kids, and the movie was definitely not for young kids. The problem of violence in our society is not because of books like these. The problem is that a “classical conditioning” takes place as children as young as 2 and 3 are allowed to watch violence all while eating buttery popcorn and their favorite soda. This associates violence with pleasure and instead of recoiling their responses are not appropriate. The only thing I agree with on this post is that we have some foolish parents in this country. Otherwise I think folks would do better to read less well known, but better informed blog posts such as these two:
    http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/2012/03/27/when-kids-kill-kids/
    and http://slowingtheracingmind.areavoices.com/2012/03/25/hunger-gamesdisturbing-indeed/

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      The post was not about the books. Did you miss that first line?

  • Fabmom43

    Amen….

  • Anonymous

    Wow. You really don’t get it. This is the world we live in.

    I get not taking a little kid to see this. But would you tell a high school student they shouldn’t read 1984 or Brave New World? Because they’re essentially doing the same sort of thing. Our world is violent to children. Our world causes children to do violence to one another. This just makes the implicit violence explicit in cinematic form.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      I didn’t tell anyone not to read anything. What I said, if you read it, was that I didn’t like the movie, was disturbed by the violence in it. And so if I follow your reasoning, the world is full of violence so why try and protect children from it? Hey, about because we owe children a childhood?

      • Anonymous

        Actually, I said I understand not taking a little kid to see it.

        Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book. My friend who watched the movie with me had. After talking to her, I wish they had actually pushed further, especially into the political and economic themes in the book.

        Also, I want to apologize for my first comment. I meant to delete it, because I felt like I hadn’t said well what I meant to. Then my computer died. Sorry about that.

        But I would say that we need to see more movies like this, because we need to be disturbed. We need to be disturbed about the way that the violence in the film mirrors reality. And yes, high school students need to see it. And parents should see it so they can talk to their kids about it.

        I don’t think your comparison to A Clockwork Orange is a fair one. Whereas that work might be considered “raping or ripping by proxy” for the author, I think the function of Hunger Games is revelation. In an apocalyptic fashion, it draws back the veil from our eyes so we can see the world as it is, not only as it presents itself. If this sounds like high praise, it’s because I don’t think many films for youth do anything of the sort.

        We might recognize what’s being done to youth in our culture, whether figuratively or literally, as clear as day. But if the youth can’t see it for themselves, they’ll keep on allowing society to feed on them. They’ll keep jumping through the world’s hoops and suffering through. They’ll keep on bowing to the authorities of this world rather than the world to come.

        This article says much of what I thought better than I could, because it came from a father who was just as uncomfortable as you.

        http://blog.onbeing.org/post/19794478107/the-hunger-games-reality-tv-not-lost-on-our-youth

        • Anonymous

          Also, I would say that the point of the film as a piece of art is to make us confront human depravity and structural injustice so that we can reflect on it and critique it, not be entertained by it. If people are entertained by the violence itself, then their entertainment is only a testament to the depravity that the film is revealing. Perhaps only by confronting depravity rather than walking away can we be truly disturbed by it–disturbed enough to do something.

          • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

            Well, I get that film is art and that art reflects life, and I heartily agree that we should be disturbed by the exploitation of our youth. I just don’t think that message came across in the movie. Not for me, at least. It felt much more like gruesome sci-fi than anything.

          • Anonymous

            I would say that if you had stayed for the next 10 minutes, you might have seen things differently.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jasmine-Suckapunch-Rice/100000734212870 Jasmine Suckapunch Rice

    God bless your soul I just watched it on netflix and wanted to break the tv it was horribly disgusting ….i didn’t cry because they clearly wanted us to be depressed …i was angry it was ever made I felt bad for the last guy who diead and thought they were going to let the 2 main people die as well. This movie will only pleasure crazy people and confuse children. Wtf I hate it the end.


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