The Hunger Games

by Jason Stotts

The movie The Hunger Games has been doing exceptionally well in the box office and it’s no surprise.  The Hunger Games are poignant, dramatic, and moving.  It is the story of children caught up in the machine of an all powerful government who controls the very lives of its citizens and kills them for sport and to keep the others in line.  It is the dramatization of what happens when the state gains absolute power.  But, this post is not about how The Hunger Games is all too apropos to the direction our own government is heading.  No, this post is about something entirely different.

In The Hunger Games, we see the viciciousness of a world in which children have to murder each other for sport, to appease their government, and to help keep the subjegated masses under control.  We watch these children murder each other on screen, much as the ficitious residents of Panem do and we think about what a good shot Katniss is with her bow or how powerful Cato is.  But, do we wonder about how we are so used to violence and death that the idea of even children killing each other as pets of their government doesn’t faze us?  Do we not worry what has become of our humanity when children killing children is not absolutely shocking?

Moreover, do we not realize what is suspiciously absent from the film?  In the book, Katniss remarks that the height of fashion for tributes is often nudity and she is relieved that her stylist Cinna doesn’t just make her go out naked or perhaps covered in just coal dust.  There are scenes of her showering in the book, of being worked on naked by her prep team to look good for her death, and even of her bathing in the river during the games.  These scenes are absent in the movie.  Why?  Because they contain nudity.  Of children.  And that is unacceptable in our culture.  It’s fine to watch them murder each other, but god forbid we see their nude bodies, whether they are being sexual or not.  And let me point out that I say “god forbid” very pointedly, becuase it is the christian preoccupation with the evil of the body, the sinful nature of the flesh, and the very evil of our “coroporeal prison” that has brought us to this day when to see children murder each other is fine, but to see their exposed bodies is not.  And to think that the christians call us immoral.

If you haven’t considered why you think it’s okay for children to murder each other, but not to be naked on screen, please pause and ask yourself that now.  There was no nudity in the movie because that would have moved their rating from PG-13 to R.  Not the murder of children by other children. Simple nudity.  Nudity in context of a story, nudity because it is part of life, nudity because it is natural.  Not even sexuality, not even gratuitous nudity, just simple nudity can move the rating from PG-13 to R, whereas the murder of children cannot.  What an interesting time we live in.

Our culture, corrupted with the taint of christianity, is so perverse that murder is more desirable to see than the natural state of our bodies.  I can think of no more obvious sign that everything about christianity is set up as the opposite of what is good and fine in life.  I can think of no more telling example than this that christianity is truly the great inversion of morality, the turning of morality from being an aid to achieve a good life to being nothing more than a path to perversion and death.  That christianity is nothing more than the worship of death.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  The day is not too late.  We are still alive.  We still have our minds.  We are still free to act, to think, to write.  We can reconsider our positions, reconsider why we believe the things we do.  We can throw off the shackles of irrationality and look at things anew in the light of reason.  We can regain our humanity one person at a time and retake our culture.  And what a culture it was at one point, the American Dream: Freedom, Independence, Ingenuity, Mastery over Nature, Self-Reliance, a Government that is Servant and not Master.  A dream that reasonable men and women would be able to live out their lives on their own terms, free to succeed or fail on their own merits.  The dream began to fade because the philosophy on which is was based was not yet ready.  And make no mistake, culture is only a reflection of philosophy, of ideas.  Without the right ideas upon which to build, the structure slowly collapsed in on itself.  But it is not gone yet and the philosophy is now ready.

We can start again in this noble land where the ideals are good and true, even if they are beginning to be corrupted.  We can replace their poor foundations with strong ones made from good ideas and begin to build again.  Through reason and human intelligence, we can reraise our flags of virtue and rebuild our society in the light of reason.  We will have to throw off all scraps of faith, of desire to control the lives of others, of the desire to live off of others, of weakness and frailty, and replace these things with reason, productiveness, independence, and self-reliance.  We can do it.  The day is not too late.  The sparks are lit.  The only quesiton that remains is are we willing to commit ourselves fully to reason and fans the flames to immolate this culture corrupted by faith and religion and build anew through reason to the glory of man?

2 Responses to “The Hunger Games”

  1. Grant

    Uh, no one in our culture watched the children in The Hunger Games kill each other in the same way that the people of Pamen do. If our culture were as bad as the fictional one portrayed in the film, what would have been the point in making the film? Would it have even been possible? The whole point of the film is to warn our culture about what can happen if we allow ourselves to be ruled by a totalitarian government.

    Children weren’t shown killing each other in The Hunger Games because it’s creators thought that they could get away with it. That that’s what people in our culture secretly want to see. They were shown doing that precisely because they knew that that’s what people didn’t want to see. The Hunger Games, by showing them the inevitable consequences, is meant to shock people into thinking seriously about the direction our culture is headed (the last thing they want to do).

    The fact that the movie version left out the atrocities of making children sexually alluring or of forcing a person – child or adult – to reveal her naked body under duress is proof of our culture’s health; not it’s illness. You’re right, of course, that even if they had wanted to, the movie’s producers wouldn’t have been legally allowed to show children nude – or to call their film PG-13 when it featured adults (portraying children) nude – but this isn’t because our culture is so ill that it thinks murder is healthy, but not sexuality. The reason why it’s legal to show gratuitous violence – even violence involving children – is because everyone (ie: adults, as well as children over the age of 13) is able to understand that what they’re seeing isn’t real. It will affect them, but only to a certain point, because they will be able to remember that what they are seeing didn’t actually happen, and is only being used to make a rhetorical point.

    Is there any way to achieve the cinematic effect – and thus make the rhetorical point – of a nude, sexualized child without actually having a child become nude and sexualized in order to film her? Is there any way to dramatize the obscenity of making someone – child or adult – choose between physical illness as a result of not bathing and the humiliation of revealing one’s naked body to an anonymous television audience without having an actress actually take off her clothing? In the first case, you are harming the child actor, and in the second case – even if the actor is an adult – you are harming the children who might see her (ie: if you rate the film anything less than R). Yes, seeing such things in a movie will have the same emotional effect – and communicate the same rhetorical point – that seeing children kill each other will have, but unlike with fictional violence, the people who would have seen such things would know that such things actually happened (ie: that that child was actually dressed that way, or that they actually saw a naked woman on the screen). If anything, that (ie: the sacrifice of the sanctity of the individual’s sexual integrity for the sake of, ironically, making the point to “the culture” that the individual is sacrosanct) would be the proof of our culture’s similarity to Panem’s.

    So, actually, your point is exactly backwards. Our culture isn’t willing to tolerate the sexualization of children (including the sexualization involved in seeing an adult naked – even if for rhetorical purposes) because it’s repressed; it’s “repressed” in that regard because it values sexuality (ie: the value to it’s children’s happiness sex offers, once they are old enough to enjoy it appropriately) enough that they aren’t willing to compromise it’s value merely for the sake of prompting them to think about politics.

  2. Shells

    I had a similar thought as the above commenter, but in a briefer form.

    I think there is a rational objection to portraying the nudity of minors. By doing so, you run the risk of sexualizing them, and there’s no legitimate purpose to sexualizing someone who cannot give consent to such activity. You can fake violence without committing it, and faking it is an entirely different thing than doing it. With depicting children sexually, there’s no way to “fake” it – any good fake would actually succeed in doing it.

    If you can show nudity of a child in a purely artistic manner, I think that’s fine, though you probably do need an actor who’s at least 16. The problem is doing it in an artistic, non-sexualizing way. The line is hard to walk and I don’t blame the Hunger Games for not wanting to deal with it, especially because it’s possible that the citizens of Panem were looking forward to sexual outfits.