How Katniss Wins The Hunger Games
I’ll assume you didn’t look at your hand through a sheet of glass before making this comic.
Uh, why are we hating the obviously itty-bitty minority of the players at the expense of the (Hunger) game?
Great, right… I get it. Really, I do. But seriously, who said “The Hunger Games” was a lovely feminist tract of lovely happy yay freedom?
Call me crazy, but I’d guess most of THG’s fans bought it (at one [sub]conscious level or another) because of… you know… the fairy tale part. Who thought it wasn’t a fairy tale? Rachel Maddow? All I know is, they love it in my mother’s Sunday School at church in Texas.
I mean, Jesus, does TLP think the Huffington Post gets to define the cultural meaning of this decent but passable fairy tale? Or whether or not it’s a fairy tale? If you keep hanging out around (vaguely) defiantly pop culture proto-feminist dialogue, then if you are reading it…..
I’ve gotta agree with this.
This is an escapist movie – people with lives full of agency, where bad desicisons equal bad consequences, get to live for a couple of hours in a world where they don’t. It’s a more exciting world, and you know everything will be okay in the end.
There is something about TLPs posts on this topic (and others) that smack of a kind of paternalism. Children will absorb the wrong message, adults are trapped in the matrix.
I think people usually, on some level, know exactly what they are doing. They know what the game is and what the rules are. Every teenager / 20 year old goes through an enui when they realise that the game of fullfilling social expectations is just a game, and they need to figure out who they are.
It’s stressfull and they want to escape a little while. Be a kid again without agency and responsibility.
But they figure it out eventually, as far as anyone can, and they keep figuring it out for the next 60 years or so.
To say people shouldn’t enjoy fairy tales or the mass media is a bit like saying they shouldn’t take halucagens, or trying to make your child a world class pianist because the chinese do. Keep looking, don’t look away. I know it hurts but it’s good for you. You might miss something. You might not become me.
Would you rather be lucky or good? Between the two, what would you rather everyone else want to be?
I had a think about your question. I think you are asking whether, assuming that media teaches us how to want to be, I would rather people absorb a message that they can achieve by trying, or that success if predetermined, by fate, genetics, fixed. Like the Carol Dweck thing.
I think that you are overetimating the power of media to form people, compared to thier real experiences. As I said in my previus post, people are not dumb, and can read between the lines of life quite well.
Many here would probably agree that watching blackhawk down, a film where hereos we identify with because they are american, kill charecterless enemies, would make a watcher more likely to kill in thier own life. Rather, people tend to kill in passion due to extreme events. And they tend to kill as a matter of course because it is normalised by the system they are in, e.g. gansters, soldiers.
Hypothetical american gangsters might play a lot of GTA, but that does not make them kill. They play it because it is an escapist game that speaks to them.
And in the same way, it isn’t the message from the media, that celebrity is a reasonable aspiration and that luck will get you there, that leads to e.g. under acheieving poorer teenagers here in the UK signing up disproportionately to college music courses.
Rather, they know, that conventional success is closed to them. They see thier parents live on SSI, thier brothers work hard jobs for little pay, and they don’t see people like them achieve through work. They see an option that lets them live in a dream for a few more years. So they choose that option, not because they truly believe that they will succeed (otherwise they might work harder at it), but because it’s easy, and the alternatives suck. Hence the dropout rate – when work is required, it no longer makes sense.
I don’t think people learn to want to be lucky, or good. I think they invest effort where they see others, real others that they know, profit from it. And they hope for luck, because we all do.
The question is whether you believe in yourself and your abilities or whether you simply hope ‘things will take care of themselves in my favor regardless of what I do’.
Generally speaking, I want to be good. Mainly because I believe that you make your own luck. As Branch Rickey once said “Luck is the residue of good planning.” This doesn’t account for blind luck, like winning the lottery. Certainly I’d love to win the lottery – but if the choice is between being successful because I know what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, or relying on 7 ping pong balls…..I’ll go for what I can control.
I also disagree with your breakdown of both THG and Blackhawk Down. While many people side with the ‘heroes’ of Blackhawk Down, the fact remains that what makes it a great movie and story is how the teams stick together and work together. We all hate Nazis, yet “Das Boot” was a wonderful film which had us rooting FOR the U-Boat and its mariners. So the issue isn’t whether or not the ‘heroes’ are ‘our heroes’, but rather whether or not they are exhibiting behaviors we can relate to and accept within the confines of the difficulties we all face from time to time (though few of us confront war or death on a regular basis, we sometimes feel what we are doing puts us on the razor’s edge somehow).
Richard Feynman once told of a cab driver he had in a poor country. The cab driver said he was going to get rich because he had an ‘inside tip’ on a horse and he was saving money to bet on that horse. Feynman, in retelling the story, showed how a difficult life alters perceptions about one’s abilities to succeed. The cab driver ignored that he could work hard and save cash, which would eventually make him somewhat wealthy, and focused on the horse – which was probably not a sure thing at all.
The Hunger Games is many things to many people, but most people I speak to are astounded to hear my view of it. It is the clear message that the will of an individual can overcome the power of the state, if that will is applied properly and in a fashion which doesn’t go against the state – but rather utilizes the strong points the state has offered while focusing on human decency. Catniss and her story may be a fiction, but Catniss represents a ‘tipping point’ which all in power tend to ignore. It’s clear the state can eliminate her at any time, but due to the nature of the event, and the means by which they had developed their contest, they left themselves vulnerable, and Catniss was able to seize on that vulnerability. Her ‘victory’ was her lack of willingness to kill without reason – something at odds with how the game was meant to be played. She did get very lucky at the end, but again – luck is the residue of good planning. The state did try to eliminate her by changing the rules, making things more difficult for her at times, but she was astute enough to survive.
These same qualities come forth in Blackhawk Down. As much as the story was one of a badly executed plan, it was the fact that the plans and behaviors were so well ingrained in the soldiers that so many of them survived against overwhelming odds. Most in that story got very lucky, but that luck was all because of planning and training.
So, in the end, whether you choose to be lucky or good – always choose to be good at what you do, because you’ll get the luck you need most of the time.
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