There is currently a huge frenzy taking place in our nation that cannot be ignored and it’s called HUNGER GAMES. I’m scared, and I think you should be, too. No, it is not the latest reality TV competition to see how long people can deprive themselves of food (no need. Hollywood starlets provide plenty of visual aids on a daily basis). And no, it’s not the latest video game (although I’m 99.9% positive if it hasn’t been released yet, it will be ASAP). Hunger Games is a popular book (trilogy) written by a woman named Suzanne Collins which is now being released as an even more popular movie.
I have not read the books (yet). As an avid book lover, I am intrigued and interested in the series since it seems “Everyone” is smitten with them. I never turn down the opportunity for a good read (If it is, in fact, a good read)! However, despite the ever growing and glowing movie reviews, either through mainstream media, or from bloggers such as recently Freshly Pressed JAMIERENE, and Holly Maher I am not convinced of any value in seeing this movie – either before or after reading the book(s). In fact, the more I learn and read about Hunger Games, the more I find it extremely baffling (and disconcerting) that so many book fans are actually supporting the movie at all! Keep reading and you’ll understand why.
I personally find the premise of children killing children extremely disturbing. Doesn’t anyone else?! According to social media and recent global events, the answer is YES. As of today, over 85 and a half MILLION people have watched the viral activist YouTube sensation KONY 2012 / Invisible Children Movement. This video has invoked intense outrage and horror due to a real-life militant bad guy in the Congo that forces children to kill children. There’s been an unprecedented outcry, not to mention a huge outpouring of financial aid, for the capture of this “21st century monster”.
One could reasonably assume that the glamorization by Hollywood, especially at this moment in history, of brutal child inscription and senseless child murder would be considered the ultimate in tastelessness – at least to 85 and a half million people. You would think a lot of people would be outraged, and boycotting the Hunger Games film. Correct? After all, the major global demographic who have been viewing KONY 2012, sharing it on their Facebook and Twitter and donating to the cause is the same demographic flocking to the Hunger Games movie.
But, we don’t live in a rational world. The opening day of Hunger Games broke all records at the box office for highest grossing non-sequel movie of all time. Or, as one article headline put it, “gorging” on its “$214 Million Global Debut“.
I’m certainly not alone in being shocked. There is a smattering of concern being voiced about the intense violence which must, and is, depicted on-screen in order to tell this story. But, it seems the majority of critics and rabid fans are nonchalantly discounting it. Many are even passionately justifying the extreme use of violence in this movie.
It should be noted that this film barely escaped being given an R rating. It has been reported that the rating was only lowered to a PG-13 after 7 seconds of particularly gory footage was cut. I think that should be seriously disturbing to anyone, especially for any parent of tweens (or younger) who are clamoring to go see this movie because “EVERYONE ELSE” is getting to see it!
Our society has a problem with violence. We know this. We have become so desensitized to the depiction of violence that studies report people are slow to react when real violence is happening in front of them. Human beings are rapidly becoming dehumanized through movies, TV, video games and social media. Multiple scientific studies have been conducted on the amount of exposure our children are getting to media violence, and the detrimental consequences. Here’s just one excerpt from an article about “The Impact of Media Violence” published in the AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry):
While violence is not new to the human race, it is an increasing problem in modern society. With greater access to firearms and explosives, the scope and efficiency of violent behavior has had serious consequences. We need only look at the recent school shootings and the escalating rate of youth homicides among urban adolescents to appreciate the extent of this ominous trend. . . Studies reveal that children watch approximately 28 hours of television a week, more time than they spend in school. The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Television programs display 812 violent acts per hour; children’s programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly.” – Eugene V Beresin, M.D. (emphasis added)
Anyone who has been to a movie theater has invariably seen at least one young child seated (or held) watching an age-inappropriate show. Even very young children have been sighted at extremely violent, frightening or sexually explicit movies. Thus, I do not expect children (and their parents) to be deterred by the Hunger Games hard PG-13 rating. Despite critics continually admitting and cautioning that this movie is “not for young children“, we all know that young children are seeing it. And, this begs the question. What exactly constitutes as “too young” to see this movie? Is this movie really appropriate for ANY age?
I get very befuddled by the blurry lines being drawn, and especially the reaction of those who have read the books and (therefore supposedly) understand the “whole point” of the story!
Author Suzanne Collins specifically designed a plot to serve as a scathing social commentary on the use of media violence as entertainment. Therefore, isn’t it completely incongruous that Hollywood has done just that, and now all the masses are eagerly flocking to theaters in support of it? It seems to me that fans are either completely unfazed or blissfully unaware of the fact that this movie was made by our own version of Capitalists specifically aimed to entertain and manipulate the masses with as much violence they can possibly get away with in order to make the most profit and assert the most control as possible!
It is the epitome of “dramatic irony”.
Surely, true fans of Collins epic would not be pleased! Where are the protests?! Where is the public outcry? Where are the petitions and complaints? . . . The box office is telling us a different reaction.
How easily duped and gullible are movie goers. Hollywood has once again skillfully lulled the masses into believing on-screen evil “Capitalist characters” are the true enemy, and proving once again that VIOLENT ENTERTAINMENT SELLS. Even more disturbing, based on box office earnings an audience finds it an even bigger thrill when innocent children are facing mortal danger and being slaughtered.
Does anyone else find this terribly, horribly, sick and frightening? Not to mention truly tragic.
Human beings are justifiably horrified by the accounts of ancient Romans paying to watch Christians shredded alive and eaten by lions, or the Nazis laughing and enjoying seeing Jewish women and children being raped and slaughtered. . . And yet, there seems to be a giant disconnect when it comes to our own society’s idea of acceptable “entertainment” subject matter. Why is that?
Remember all those studies about “desensitization”? It’s no laughing matter.
Members of our church have been continually warned and cautioned by our leaders to shun violent, pornographic or otherwise demeaning media, and make wise choices in all of our entertainment. More recently, we have been encouraged to be socially involved and much more vocally proactive:
“We need to remember Edmund Burke’s statement: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”. . Brothers and sisters, refuse to be used. Refuse to be manipulated. Refuse to support those programs that violate traditional family values. We may be a small voice to begin with; nevertheless, let us speak out and encourage a more uplifting, inspiring, and acceptable media. – M. Russell Ballard, “Let Our Voices Be Heard“, Oct. 2003
Do you think we are being used and manipulated? Will you be going to see Hunger Games?
What do you think the heroine Katniss would think of our Capitalistic social frenzy to watch Hunger Games?
A little food for thought. – MoSop
UPDATE 4/2/2012 – A BIG THANK YOU to all who have read this post and to those who have participated in our conversation. I never thought I’d actually see the day of “too many comments” for any one of my blog posts, but this one’s gotten really wordy! It looks like we’ve more than covered any aspect of the debate on this issue, so I’ve decided it’s time to close up shop on the comments here. Please check out some of the other posts that are starving for comments and feel free to share something brilliant (on topic, of course) Cheers! – MoSop
- The Hunger Games: The Ultimate “Reality” TV (kathleenbasi.com)
- My Take: ‘Hunger Games’ asks us not to watch (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
- Is ‘The Hunger Games’ Too Violent For Your Children? (boston.cbslocal.com)