For new readers, I want you to know that I do not like this story; further, last year, "socialism" and "capitalism" were the two most-looked up words on the internet and that has been reflected in art, specifically, film, where so many in Hollywood are liberals/socialists/communists, but the capitalists have made a strong stand. Having said that, I would like to provide you with my mom's views of The Hunger Games, because I think it's her perspective--rather than the film's own agenda--driving people to see it. I know there are people who will deny this is a political film; revolution, riots, protests, spying, martial law and alliances are political, and all these factors are variants in the narrative; the real question is, who does The Hunger Games: Catching Fire support?
|My original interpretation of The Hunger Games, which I stand by completely (The Hunger Games: Hitler & America's Anti-Socialism), is that 74 years ago, Hitler took actions that led to World War II, and America had been living off the socialist programs of President Roosevelt throughout the Great Depression until Americans saw the horrors of socialism and communism in Europe, making Americans vow we would not become socialist, leading to a massive surge in capitalist reforms and programs, which (according to the narrative) is synomous to the Great Rebellion memorialized by the enactment of the Hunger Games each year. Capitalism is based upon competition, and the arena of the Hunger Games, for socialists, illustrates the "free market" because what the film has done is turned a business into a human being (the other contestants) and they want to convince you that any time a business "dies," it's like a human being dies, because competition is bad (don't believe me? In Catching Fire, they want you to believe that shooting a turkey is as bad as shooting a human, and YES, they did know this would be coming out right before Thanksgiving, and they want you to be thinking of this at your family feast). Socialists hate competition in any form, usually because they themselves are mediocrities and can't compete without affirmative action sticking up for them and forcing someone to hire them for tax incentives; in validation of this interpretation, both The Internship (Vince Vaughan, Owen Wilson) and Monsters University (Billy Crystal, John Goodman) agree with this interpretation and worked references of the Hunger Games into their story lines about competition. This continues in Catching Fire: Katniss wants to destroy the arena where all competition takes place because, to destroy the arena is to destroy the government (the Capitol is where all the capitalists live). Let's take a look at a dramatically different take on the "arena," 42, the story of Jackie Robinson. Had the great Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in the major leagues, not gone into that arena (or, had the arena not existed for Robinson to even enter in the first place) how much longer would real changes in racism have been prolonged? One of the best scenes of 42 is when the Dodgers' short stop Pee Wee--who has been threatened before because of Robinson--stands with Robinson looking at the crowd, so everyone knows what Pee Wee believes in, and that is the American Dream for all people (please see Real Racism: 42 & Dimensions Of the American Dream for more). In THGCF, people are uniting with Katniss to tear something down; in 42, people unite with Jackie Robinson to build something up; which side do you want to be on?|
In conjunction with all this--including the NSA spying on citizens, politicians and the leaders of other countries--there is an even more sinister tie to Obama in Catching Fire that we have all ready seen in another film that viewers like my mom are sure to link to the current administration: martial law.
"Daddy," the little girl asks Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) in World War Z, "what's martial law?" and he responds, "It's like house rules, but for everyone." Well, do the scenes of martial law in THGCF look like house rules to you? When did Bush or Reagan put Americans under martial law? My mother would argue, and I think this is substantial, that socialists put people under martial law because they want control, and this is absolutely correct, but to me, that's not what's happening here: they want you to associate martial law with the coming revolution so when Obama starts declaring martial law and using the federal government to seize any and all private sector industries deemed "necessary," martial law will be viewed as a good thing (again, this is brainwashing). For people like my mom, however, they are seeing through this and this validates that they don't want anymore Obama before he gets a chance at martial law or worse.
|There are a number of characters to discuss in this film, but a real question we should be asking is, why does Haymitch choose Finnick O'Dair to be Katniss' ally when she doesn't choose him herself? Haymitch chooses Finnick for the same reason Katniss doesn't want him: he's bold. Finnick's strength makes him threatening to Katniss, but his strength wins Haymitch's trust that he can keep Katniss safe and lead her to her ultimate goal. This is a great example of where costume makes the character (for those who, like myself, are a fan of the SyFy channel's TV reality show competition Face Off that inspires future special effects designers, you know Ve Neill and Glen Hetrick, whose designs were used in the film). Finnick's pants and shirt, basically, don't match, but they don't need to because this costume is meant to communicate to us, not be a Effie Trinket fashion statement. Let's start with the shirt. The upper-half of the body is where our heart is located, so the upper-half are our hopes and dreams, that part where Finnick wears an open, natural colored shirt. The opening of the shirt is supposed to convey that--just as Katniss suspected him of being arrogant and vain--we think Finnick is an open book and we think we "see" him "exposed" but the strange necklace he wears around his neck is what really guides him. In the film, Katniss tells Peeta her favorite color is green, probably because green is the color of hope. The lower-half of our body symbolizes the appetites because that's where both the genitals are located and where we rid ourselves of waste created by our appetites. Finnick's lower-half being covered in green suggests he, like Katniss, longs for hope, however, Finnick also has a lighter green, animal-textured bit of fabric, suggesting he has animal passions (like the sugar cube he offers Katniss even though they are really for the horses) mingling with his higher passions for political freedom. On his feet are black military boots: black is the color of death, either the death that comes from despair, or the positive death-to-the-world so the world doesn't control you; knowing Finnick doesn't kill anyone but in self-defense, we can deduce that his black military boots express his worldly experiences that have taught Finnick to be dead to the world even as he appears to relish and take it all in. He sits in the chair because, unlike Katniss, he has accepted the throne and place of honor accorded to him by the Capitol, even though they despise him. The white rose is the sign of Finnick's "friendship" with President Snow and his role as a victor.|
So, what does the film mean?
The Hunger Games: Hitler & America's Anti-Socialism, and The New Founding Fathers: The Purge & Releasing the Beast). But, as long as we know about it, we can keep on the look out for it and be the wiser for it.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
|We see Brad Pitt wearing a similar gray scarf in World War Z.|