Howdy Contestants, welcome to the thirty-fifth reality show of HACK. If you’ve made it this far, remember that this game is to the death.
So this week I’m going into full hypocrite mode. I haven’t read The Hunger Games, haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t plan to anytime soon. Therefore, I’m about to hate on something that I know very little about except for the synopsis.
If you’re one of those people who is all wet in the ass over the books and movie, you’re probably gearing up to hate on my hate and tell me why I don’t know what I’m talking about and that The Hunger Games is really good. And therein lies the rub. I believe you. It’s not The Hunger Games I have a problem with, per se, it’s YOU.
Over the past three weeks I have heard The Hunger Games mentioned CONSTANTLY. The Hunger Games The Hunger Games Did you read The Hunger Games? Did you get to this part in The Hunger Games? The Hunger Games movie is coming out. I can’t wait to see The Hunger Games. Did you know The Hunger Games is a trilogy. Hunger Games Hunger Games Hunger Games Hunger Games…ENOUGH ALREADY!
See, whenever the masses hop on the ol’ zeitgeist train and bond over something that’s gone viral, I get immediately suspicious. For the record, I haven’t watched the fucking Kony 2012 video and like my good friend Doug who has never worn a pair of jeans in his life, I don’t plan to ever watch that video. I just copied the link location so I wouldn’t add myself to the millions of views. My feeling is, there are so many atrocities going on around the world that you could make a video for every single one of them and people will still attempt to care while realizing they are doing nothing to actually correct these problems. It’s easy to watch a video and support the cause. It’s a lot harder to do anything about it.
OK, back to The Hunger Lames. See, The Hunger Lames is not really a pun. The people talking about it constantly because it’s the next big thing are the lames I’m referring to. The ones who didn’t read these books when they came out in 2008 but have now been infected by the viral marketing which a friend explained to me was done in this subtle internet-ad way to make everyone think they’re unique in their interest. Now I’ve got kids I teach reading the book, teachers I teach with reading the book. My roommate just ordered the trilogy and it’s sitting on the shelf next to his 18 different publications of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I mentioned I’m a hypocrite because I am. When the Lord of the Rings movies came out I was all over that shit like flies on, well, shit. When the Harry Potter books reached maximum saturation I reacted the same way as I do now with The Hunger Games. But then one night during my dark years I watched the first Harry Potter movie and decided to read the books. This was about the time the 4th book came out…and the story got really interesting with the 4th book so I was hooked and followed it through. Yet I still thought all the Harry Potter hype was LAAAAAAME. And yet, I will admit here and now, I stood in line at the Booksmith in the Cumberland Mall of Vineland, NJ at midnight, wondering how many prepositions I could cram into one sentence while I waited for my copy of The Deathly Hallows. In my defense, I wanted to read that book ASAP because it meant I would be one step closer to finishing the Harry Potter saga and moving on with my pathetic life. Of course, I still had to wait for all the movies to come out. I also had to wait for my last car to die because it was so old it only had a cassette tape deck and the only tapes I had was the Order of the Phoenix audiobook read by Jim Dale; tapes that I listened at random for the better part of half a year. You see how dangerous it is for me to get into something new? Long after you got bored with it and moved on I’m still filling my consciousness with this crap.
But I digress.
The point is, if I’m into something that you’re into I will probably feel the same sense of mutual excitement. I will scoff at those who call me lame for being into it and argue that if so many people find it interesting, then just stop hating and let us enjoy it.
I reiterate, it’s not The Hunger Games I’m hating on…it’s the fucking mob mentality that ensues when it’s shoved down our throats by media whoremongers who don’t really care if something is good or not as long as it sells. It makes me angry because it’s like watching people become brainwashed. And clearly there are so many shitty things that become popular. In fact, chances are that whatever it is people think is so great is probably really lame. Remember Basic Instinct? OK, I seriously just dated myself. Remember 808 And Heartbreak? Um, still dated. Remember the ending of LOST?
I’m sorry but my operating premise is that people are generally stupid and easily manipulated into believing that things are good just because everyone says they’re good. So without actually finding out for myself, I steer clear of these things until the hype has died down. I wait until everyone has been there and done that because I just don’t want to be another consumer dupe.
So there you go. I instantly doubt your new fangled memes. Whether you’re right or not that it’s quality stuff I just loathe the idea of feeding into the hype. I hate hype. And I hate things that are overrated. Maybe my hate comes from an underlying psychological issue. Or maybe you’re just a TOOL.
Like I said, I know very little about the actual plot, character development or overall themes. I’m assuming that there is some kind of positive message that comes out of it at the end. And I do see some positive things coming from this:
1) There are no vampires, werewolves or zombies.
2) My students are reading a book that’s above grade-level. As long as they’re engaged in the act of reading I will look the other way. Although I have officially banned all Twilight books from my classroom.
3) I think the premise of The Hunger Games is pretty cool. Come on, I’m an open-minded guy. I love all that glimmer of hope in a dark future crap.
But I also see some negatives:
1) Another post-apocalyptic world? YAAAAAWN. I am so sick of the post-apocalyptic premise. Is this really the future we’re presenting to our kids? This is the vision we want to plant in their heads? A world where adults are impotent, the world is a horrible place and kids are mere pawns? Wonderful. I’m not saying write a book where Heaven has dawned and everything is peachy-keen from beginning to end. But can’t we have something, I dunno, more optimistic about where humanity is headed?
2) It’s been done before. Stephen King did the contestant-on-gameshow thing (and did it well) in his first novel (The Long Walk) and again with The Running Man and there are tons of other books or movies that have their take on the same concept. Can a brotha get some originality please? I know, I know, I’m ignorant because I haven’t read the books and this is an original take on the theme, right? Hell, even Stephen King praised The Hunger Games for its originality, so I am definitely in the minority here.
3) Violence, death, kids killing kids, etc. Now I really sound like an old man but honestly, I’m getting a little sick of all the violence. I saw the first Saw movie but stopped after that because I don’t need such a fucked-up view of humanity. There’s enough going on to reinforce that view in the real world. I view these things as a reflection of the collective psyche and it disturbs me because the evidence seems to show that it’s an ouroboros…fucked up reality feeding our fucked up fictions which in turn manifests into a fucked up reality.
Really, it’s all about context. Maybe The Hunger Games puts it into proper context. I don’t know and I really don’t care. It’s billed as a young-adult novel right? Then why are 11 year olds reading this stuff? See, now I’m actually curious to read it for myself just to see how many fucked up things these kids are imprinting.
I have a basic rule of taking a kid’s physical age and then adding 2 – 3 years because that’s probably where they’re at in terms of the kind of age-level material they’re exposed to. And once again, I’m being a complete hypocrite because I’m always ranting about how we underestimate kids and that they can handle more and that’s it all about context. Yeah, that’s true…but it also means you need someone to put it in context for you. If a parent/adult fails to that properly, the results could be disastrous.
Well, I’m fairly certain the above arguments are full of holes. It won’t change the fact that your next hot new thing will be just the thing I’ll avoid purely out of spite. Fuck you and fuck The Hunger Games. Tell ya what…go listen to some Dr. Dog…an excellent band that’s remained under the radar since 2001. Their new album came out in February and it’s their best work to date. No one wants to hear me go on and on about Dr. Dog, do they? Go listen to some Dr. Dog and if you like them, see how good it feels to be into something that none of your friends know about. See what it feels like to be UNIQUE. Or you can be another orifice for the media to rape with sequels, product tie-ins and all the other lame shit they pull to get your money.
One day I may read The Hunger Games and I may even like it. But I’ll never buy the hype.
Towel Boy is really hungry and is going to make himself some dinner.