Even before “The Hunger Games” movie was released, both right and left were trying to claim that the message of the story reflected their values.
Having read all of the books, unlike most who have penned the reviews I’ve read, I can safely say that the leftist progressives are way off base with their claims.
Their attempts to cast THG as paying homage to progressivism are incoherent and desperate. Current.com attempted to combat the claims made by Eric Bolling of Fox News’ The Five, that THG had a conservative message, with a piece by Julie Booth entitled; ‘The Hunger Games’: 5 scenes that send a progressive message”.
I was interested to see what Julie would nit-pick from the film and recast as ‘progressively’ themed. She did not disappoint. Here are the 5 progressively themed scenes she found in the movie. (my commentary in bold) Oh and before I forget I’ll add something that Julie left out of her piece ***SPOILER ALERT, MAJOR PLOT POINTS WILL BE REVEALED, DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED WHEN YOU SEE THE MOVIE!***
From Julie’s piece;
So we’ve put Bolling’s theory to the test and discovered five moments that suggest “The Hunger Games” actually sends a prominently progressive message (if the progressive message is so prevalent why could you only come up with 5 moments Julie?!):
1. Rue’s Funeral – The nation of Panem is divided into 12 districts (actually there are 13 districts and a Capitol, these are things you’d know if you had read the books, but please continue), each segregated with electrified fences. During the games, Katniss creates an alliance with a tribute named Rue from District 11, a poor, primarily black district. When Rue dies in the Hunger Games, Katniss places flowers around her body and sends a signal of respect to the citizens of District 11 who are watching on the big screen. Rue’s death triggers a rebellion against the Capitol in District 11. The citizens there want a voice in how their government works; (Demanding that the government listen to the citizens, how very Tea Party of them!) how they’re allowed to live their lives (hmm, again, like the Tea Party, conservatives and libertarians who are adamantly opposed to ObamaCare because it imposes a demand upon them, to purchase healthcare, thus removing the freedom of individuals to decide how to live their lives). Katniss makes the choice to speak out against the elite-run government (um hello? Tea Party rallies?), showing flashes of the uprisings seen in the last couple of years throughout the Middle East, and from the Occupy movement (the only thing that the district 11 uprising and the occupy movement have in common is they both involved citizens acting violently towards police officers. The revolt in District 11 has everything to do with throwing off the oppressive hand of big government, and nothing to do with demanding free college tuition or the arrest of bank executives)
2. • Peeta’s speech to Katniss before the games – Knowing he may not make it out alive, Peeta tells Katniss that if he was going to die in the games, he still wanted to be himself (a reinforcement of the importance of individuality). Unlike the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, who are sprinting to the right to appease fringe elements in their party (also unlike the occupy wall street crowd who proudly proclaim ‘we are the 99%!’, ceding their individuality and happily joining the collective), Peeta refuses to change himself for the Capitol. He will not accept the idea that it’s OK to lie, steal and, in this case, kill in order to advance in society (or government) (I can think of a politician, **cough President Obama cough** who habitually lies, and steals tax payer dollars which he funnels to his green buddies). He wants out of their system and firmly states that the Capitol will not change the person that he is.
3. • Suicide Plan – In the middle of the games, the Capitol announces that there can be two winners of The Hunger Games if they are from the same District. After Cato (Did you say Cato? As in the LIBERTARIAN Cato Institute? Must be a coincidence, after all it’s a fairly common name, let’s move along) from District 1 falls to his death, Katniss and Peeta are left standing as the winners. But when the Capitol announces they have revoked this rule and there can be only one winner, Katniss plans a double suicide by proposing that they both eat poisonous berries. The didn’t choose to be part of a televised war with their peers. They didn’t choose to have their names put in the reaping. In this scene, they finally make a choice of their own. They choose not to be pawns in the Capitol’s game of control over the Districts (sounds like an exercise of individual liberty/ free-will to me). Just because a government says war is necessary to maintain peace and order — doesn’t mean it’s true.
4. • Bull’s Eye – Before the Hunger Games begin, each tribute is given a score based on their skills and the gamekeeper’s stereotypes on gender, race and class (really? Is that how it worked? Did we see the same movie?). The gamekeepers rudely ignore Katniss (because they are elitist creeps, see Obama’s dismissive language about PA voters clinging to God and guns) during her skill evaluation because she is a woman from a poor, overlooked District. To gain their attention, she shoots an arrow straight into the apple inside a roasted pig’s mouth, shocking a crowd of dining Capitol members. Rather than just accept the low score the Capitol plans to assign her, which would doom her chances of survival in the Hunger Games, Katniss makes her voice heard. Her arrow is a terrifying reminder to the gamekeepers the women can not be overlooked. Her outrage is reflected in the real life battle women are fighting with Republicans to protect their reproductive freedoms (oh so the recently branded “war on women”, was a theme that Suzanne Collins had in mind when she wrote the series years ago? I’m not buying it but keep clutching at straws Julie!)
5.”Girl on Fire” Concept – Cinna, the stylist assigned to the underdogs of District 12, crafted a non-traditional image for Katniss and Peeta. Instead of coal miners (who are treated poorly and looked down upon by those in the Capitol, not unlike the Obama administration and its great disdain for coal production and complete disregard for how EPA regulations are costing coal industry jobs), Cinna dressed them in black and set their costumes on fire, creating a blazing chariot at the opening ceremony. But their act of rebellion in this scene is not their flaming outfits; it’s that Katniss and Peeta hold hands. This simple act shows that they have rejected the role the Capitol planned out for them, which is to view each other as enemies. Instead of becoming propaganda the Capitol can use to control the Districts, they light the fire of rebellion (a rebellion that champions the rights of individuals to be free from the vice-grip of big government, doesn’t sound like a progressive movement to me…)
What’s next for you Julie? Perhaps a spin-job on “Animal Farm” that recasts it as an endorsement of wind energy?