"Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance." ~ T.S. Eliot in "Burnt Norton"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Hunger Games

Over Christmas Break, I read the entire Hunger Games Trilogy. These books ignited something in me that I had not felt in a long time--that feeling that you get when you realize that  as you have been reading something you have held your breath and suddenly have to remind yourself to let it out.

I. Loved. These. Books.

But why am I mentioning them here? In the world of The Hunger Games reality television has morphed to such an extent that society is willing to watch teenagers kill one another for the sake of entertainment (as well as political oppression). So there is Neil Postman's old question of what technology gives us and what it takes away from us. But there is also something about the distinction between The Capitol, where technology thrives in its most advanced forms, which also often take on the forms of weapons, and the districts, which are much poorer, have rudimentary technology (but for the obligatory televisions), and are in many ways the victims of the technology of the Capitol. And so there is also the link that Stanley Kubrick makes in 2001: A Space Odyssey between technology and violence as a means of control. I don't mean to imply that all technology is connected to violence. And I think many forms of technology are great. They allow us to explore space, to see the depths of the oceans, to fly to visit our families at Christmas, etc. I am only mean to point out that there is some connection between technology and violence that we need to be aware of. This trilogy (and I hope the upcoming film as well) points out this connection between wealth, power, violence, and technology, and shows us what it means on a very human, personal level. It may be that technology is neutral...but so often we make it a weapon. In The Hunger Games it is not only a weapon in the traditional sense, but in more subtle ways; reality television has become a means to keep the districts in check....because they are forced to watch their children die each year through this means of technology.

Here's the trailer from the upcoming film:

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