There were so many comments, emails, and discussion surrounding the Hunger Games Article yesterday, I thought I might take a second to answer some questions brought on by a couple of readers. Here are a few points I read yesterday that continue to make sense as we try to understand why the Hunger Games has become such a phenomenon.
1. The concept of Oppression
There's no doubt Suzane Collins wrote about a time when the Rich were Rich, and the poor were under the oppressors thumb. District 1 seems to control the whole of the world, and there's even a place in the film where the President says, "they make stuff we need." They make stuff like coal for energy, agriculture for food, and raw materials to create products bought by Districts 2-12. I agree with one of the readers, this is an interesting metaphor, but don't take too far. To spiritualize this concept is to ignore the reality of Globalization in the 20th and 21st centuries. Let's be honest, until recent past decades China, Brazil, India, and Russia didn't have much to offer on the Global financial stage. It was America that ruled the roost, at least since 1991. Often we like to extend our own spiritual experiences to something like this, but remember in America we still have the freedom to express our religious views however we want. Unlike much of the rest of the world, Christians have it REALLY nice here.
2. The concept of standing up for rights.
In the book Katniss and Peeta are two characters that make it known they'll do the games how they want to do the games. They want to remain true to themselves, without having the pressure of those around them change them to be someone else.
Again, this is a noble idea, but don't try to lean into the spiritual here. I don't know that Ms. Collins was trying to set up a battle cry for Christian teenagers in high schools to "Stand up for Jesus" so to speak. In fact, for some; that would be bowing to another kind of pressure. Environmental influence is an interesting idea. Sometimes we think we can encourage kids to "stand up" and "get out of the world" which is exactly the same pressure being applied with their friends at school, just for a different outcome. I just want to make sure we have a level handed approach to seeing the pressures teenagers face in the world today.
3. The Pain Concept
I don't think there's any way around the idea of feeling the pain of loss, identity issues, and death with teenagers in today's culture. The more I read, the more I think, the more I study the teen culture, the problem of pain is central to transitioning from Elementary School to High School and then off to the University. I don't know of ANY teenagers I've talked with this year that say they've figured out how to avoid the pain of rejection, betrayal, or loneliness. It's an Epidemic, and as I continue to conceptualize this incredible series, I'm finding more and more analogies that hit the chord of meaning in the souls of today's teens.
It's been a great discussion on all fronts. Thanks so much for continuing to find meaning as we live in a world with illusive meaning.
Yesterday was one of the all time most viewed articles here at andybraner.com. Thanks for continuing to share it with your friends, your family, and anyone interested in re-imagining the Christian Worldview.