The Hunger Games
After watching 'The Hunger Games' for the second time, it reminded me of a piece I wrote a while ago on it - but never really got around to finishing it. So this post includes the remnants of that as well as some new opinions. Here goes...The concept as seen in the film (I haven't read the books but I am assured they are even better) offers some extremely thought-provoking observations on our society and also, I believe, offers a strong warning against what I will call - 'Entertainment Desensitization'. Let us strip away the Hollywood theatrics and delve into the issues at the core.
Modern day's top priority is that of instant gratification. The accelerated journey of technology has set the standard for our expectations of development. We expect things done faster, better and more efficiently at an ever increasing rate, because that has simply become the norm. For example, research shows that as a race, we have developed more in the last century than in all the previous centuries combined. A trend like this is nigh-impossible to maintain (just ask China) and while the warp speed brings benefits, it also carries significant dangers to our psyche.
'The Hunger Games' investigates the effects of this warp speed development in respect of the Entertainment Industry. Naturally, entertainment has evolved side-by-side with technology as it has become the medium through which modern entertainment is enjoyed. 'Live' entertainment has been overwhelmed by the epidemic of mass media for a variety of reasons, and this has meant that our choices have become endless. We now have, at our fingertips, any kind of entertainment that we have the audacity to think up. Being spoilt for choice however, also accelerates our expectations as we demand more and more from what we watch. In turn, the industry continues to push the boundaries to come up with fresh, attention-grabbing concepts. We watch reality show after reality show and essentially we are desensitized to the reality itself! We may become emotionally attached to a character for the duration of the show, but as soon as it is over - it is soon forgotten. We don't take cognisance of the impact our demand is having on those people.
The 'fight-to-the-death' reality show depicted in the film is a hyperbolic dramatization of what lies at the end of this path. Although exaggerated, it is not difficult to see how the progression could lead to a televised show such as this - and I fear that not many if us would be able to deny the actual entertainment value. That is my point exactly. It paints a terrifying picture of where our society could be headed, in the absence of specific action. A return to the Ancient Rome days of the Gladiators? If we fail to control this psychological desire for more, we risk losing our respect and empathy for our fellow man, and by extension - human rights.
I have used some strong words and made some big claims, but this merely indicates how strongly I feel about this issue. I am not naive enough to believe that a real life 'Hunger Games' will be around in 100 years time, but I do believe that our psychological disposition will remain.
Everyday we persecute our fellow man, we put them down, we hide, we demand instant gratification, we desire material objects above all else, we only look after our individual interests, we fight to the death.
Aren't we already in 'The Hunger Games' ?