|I could devote a blog post to indulging the over-tired, overgrown teenager parts of me that wants to marry Peeta Mellark. I could, but I won't. You're welcome.|
I was impressed with the film. The production was wildly successful in transferring the book to the screen. On an aesthetic level, the cinematography was spectacular. Moreover, Jennifer Lawrence, although she's not exactly how I imagined Katniss to physically look, flawlessly plays the part, and her scenes with Liam Hemsworth and with Josh Hutcherson entirely convinced me of Katniss's underlying love for both characters, in spite of her fastidious struggle to close herself off from love altogether. Actually, the combination of Katniss's denial of her feelings and series's overarching theme of the Big Picture is what makes this love triangle so persuasive; it exists, in spite of denial and in spite of the impossibility of a neatly wrapped solution. Now, I could devote a good portion of this post to gushing over Katniss and Gale's first kiss scene, or to her raw anguish at her discovery of Peeta's capture, but I won't. I appreciate all that as much as the next person (or maybe more, considering that cynics are actually just jaded romantics) but the omnipresent oppression and evil embodied by the Capital's forces struck a chord far more profound than any romance could.
|Even if the rest of the movie bored me (and it definitely did not), I could sit through it again just for this scene.|
As I'm watching this I start crying when they murder that old man, and when they ransack the Hob because all I can think is, "How many people watch this movie and believe this is fiction? Because this is REAL. This is what life is like for thousands if not millions of people living in Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, anywhere an evil regime takes power and squashes the rights of its people." And it just makes my heart break to see these characters who aren't even REAL experiencing something that IS so real to so many people.I am of the belief that any story holding any value to readers is valuable because it carries something true or authentic about the world of its audience. Lorelle's insight emulates the very real suffering that far too many human beings have suffered, do suffer, and will continue to suffer at the hands of corrupt governments. It's an uncomfortable thought. What's more uncomfortable, though, is that to some degree, "we" the people of the United States of America are the people in the Capital. It's not as clear-cut as it is in the universe of the Hunger Games series, but our collective hands as a society are dirty.
To illustrate my point, I will draw upon something Louis CK said in one of his stand-up routines. (Before I get into that I have to admit that, much as I love well-done comedy, I'm wary of stand-up because I've come across too many cheap rape jokes and similar misogyny). There are a lot of jerks who reinforce sexist and racist hegemony through what they brush off as entertainment, but Louis CK doesn't fall into that category. I've come to appreciate him as a satirist and philosopher who, in spite of rough edges, actually seems like a decent guy.
Of course, of course slavery is the worst thing that ever happened. Of course it is, every time it’s happened. Black people in America, Jews in Egypt, every time a whole race of people has been enslaved, it’s a terrible, horrible thing, of course, but maybe. Maybe every incredible human achievement in history was done with slaves. Every single thing where you go, “How did they build those pyramids?” They just threw human death and suffering at them until they were finished. How did we traverse the nation with the railroad so quickly? We just threw Chinese people in caves and blew ‘em up and didn’t give a shit what happened to them. There’s no end to what you can do when you don’t give a fuck about particular people. You can do anything. That’s where human greatness comes from, is that we’re shitty people that we fuck others over.
Even today, how do we have this amazing microtechnology? Because the factory where they’re making these, they jump off the fucking roof, because it’s a nightmare in there. You really have a choice. You can have candles and horses and be a little kinder to each other or let someone suffer immeasurably far away, just so you can leave a mean comment on YouTube while you’re taking a shit.His last point (about Chinese factories) particularly stood out to me when I first listened to that segment. In college, a Chinese friend of mine was working towards her degree in International Business and asked me to help her with a business-related ethics paper. She had chosen the recent Foxconn suicides as her topic and, because of her Chinese citizenship and connections, had obtained a personal interview from a Foxconn employee. I was horrified to hear his account of the widespread dehumanization of factory workers; it was very like something out of a dystopian work of fiction, only it's not. fiction. And for my own, selfish, personal reasons, what bothered me the most about the issue was--and still is--that the laptop I use to type this blog, was manufactured in a factory by workers of that same monstrous, oppressive, corporation.
How can we help our collaboration with the oppressive corporations that create these nightmarish conditions, though, when our entire lifestyle and livelihood depends on existing into the societal framework already in place? How can we oppose factory abuses if we are, like most of the glamorous citizens of the Capital, oblivious to the harsh price tag on material wealth? I'm honestly wondering, because I don't know how to escape this system.
Right now, I don't have any answers to these questions, but I'm thankful that Louis CK and Suzanne Collins have prompted me to ask them.