I have enjoyed both installments of The Hunger Games on film so far without knowing anything about the books from which they are derived or anything else that might help to get a bead on them. Watching Catching Fire — the second of a projected four films — over the weekend, I wondered about the politics of the series. I know the books predate the Age of Obama, but the popularity of the films shows that they strike a chord or two in the culture. What is it?
Watching the second film over this past weekend, I thought it responded to our current political situation. Capitol City feeds off Panem in a remarkably lifelike way. President Snow is one cool customer as he seeks the death of our young heroine. I thought of him as Snowbama. The bread and circuses that entertain the populace seem to me to have a lot in common with Democratic talking points like “the war on women.”
The exploitation of the young for the benefit of the tyrannical government…hmmm, that sounds familiar too. The younger generation portrayed in the film didn’t help President Snow achieve power, so there is a difference. Could the film nevertheless help young viewers think about their exploitation by the government here and now? Obamacare will probably have a sobering effect without much need of assistance from the movie, but it might help.
And our young heroine, Katniss Everdeen. She is the anti-Sandra Fluke.
Looking around on the Web after seeing the movie, I found that there is a healthy debate about the politics of the films. Here are two items sufficient to raise the issue for present purposes. On the one hand, John Boot offers “5 reasons why childish liberals love The Hunger Games.” On the other hand, Mark Meckler has beaten me to the punch with a vision of the Age of Snowbama and a helpful graphic to make the point.