If the ‘Hunger Games‘ taught me anything, it’s that I continue to be right. And not in the “let’s round up some poor kids and watch them kill each other gladiator-style because that’s a great idea” kind of way. The story uses a beautiful young girl to preach democratic capitalism vs. communist socialism vs. fascist totalitarianism (and if the author didn’t mean to do that, then she’s just a fucking genius, God bless her). It’s a tale of power dynamics that leaves no one unscathed. Just like the real world!!! Katniss, the main character who walks us through this circus of metaphoric political-economic reality (who just so happens to be a stunning and ballsy young adolescent girl), goes ahead and fucks everyone’s shit up. It’s better than Comparative Politics 101, this shit.
What I’d like to do for you today, folks, is give you an opportunity to live out the ‘Hunger Games’ real world style, via select daily news items.
District 13 in the HG is the post-revolution secret society, hiding away and amassing large amounts of man-power, weaponry, and technology. In order to achieve these advancements, they control everything. They ration every fucking thing, make everyone wear gray, no one gets to express themselves apart from the group. The individual means very little apart from its role in the greater community. It’s a well-oiled machine of efficiency that exists for one purpose– to overthrow the Capitol, and all its overly-materialistic plastic-surgery-deformed socialites. Flashes of Nazi Germany, North Korea and South Korea, the U.S., Cuba and South Africa all float through my mind. Apparently this shit happens when a stronger society holds more political-economic power and leaves the weaker to starve. But so often the charismatic leaders who rise up and rally the group are a dark, dark sort… convincing normal, well-meaning folks that their fucked up views are normal and worth adopting as cultural norms. Hmmmm… which event of the day brings this story to the “Real Life” party? Oh god, so many to choose from…
How about the Iraqi kids who got stoned for their “Emo” haircuts? Ninety Iraqi kids were stoned to death by extremists, justified in their minds by the Iraqi Moral Police’s charge to “eliminate” this Western “emo phenomenon” among Iraqi youth. These extremists got this idea (“somewhere”) that it’s okay to just go around and kill anything that smells of “devil worship” (or kids who just have bad haircuts, or are gay, no big deal). ‘“First they throw concrete blocks at the boy’s arms, then at his legs, then the final blow is to his head, and if he is not dead then, they start all over again,” one person who managed to escape told Al-Akhbar.’ Smells a little like pages taken from world history…violently persecuting people for merely existing… gay people, Black people, Irish people, Jewish people, Japanese people, Vietnamese people, Mexican people, Cuban people, Haitian people, transgendered people, Tribal people, Native people, Mormons, virgins, sexually promiscuous, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Muslims, Persians, Arabs, Turks, everyone, everyone seems to have had a go of getting massacred because of who they ARE. God forbid they engage in any level of creative expression.
Sugardaddy has suggested that this sort of anger is due largely to suppressed homosexuality. Hitler sex fetishes? Saddam Hussein sex fetishes? Osama bin Laden porn vault? Really? That billionaire couldn’t find someone to make sexy with? Or was it so frowned upon that he had to wall off in a porn vault, while millions of his followers blow up people because they hate “the West”? (i.e. Free and democratic society.) My microeconomics professor in college was a Russian official who defected from the Soviet Union all James-Bond-style, and made it to the U.S. He described communism as a monopoly of the mind, painting a picture of Stalin’s terrorizing people by giving no rhyme or reason to his murdering. It was control by fear.
I’m not trying to offer up any answers to the question of “Why are people so fucked up?” But I am suggesting that Katniss had a good reason for throwing up in her mouth a little when faced with the spectrum of political-economic options. All of them carry downsides, some more than others, and we all as individuals have a responsibility to do our part to make this world a better place. That was what Katniss realized. She couldn’t do everything. But she knew what few gifts she had to offer, and she capitalized on opportunities to impact her world with those few gifts.
Now, my goal here isn’t to depress all my lovely crackas with all this blatant realism. This little ditty ends with my friends Dick and Henry. Henry was a hilarious, rich old man who sounded like Moe from the Simpsons. Henry died last week. But he knew Love. And he loved with the passion and energy of a child. It transformed everyone around him. Henry belonged to one of the two delightful American political parties. Then you have Dick, a melancholic middle-aged man who thinks he looks like Russell Crowe (although I’m really not seeing that shit) and runs a NGO that cares for the poorest of the poor in our world. He belongs to the other of the two American political parties. Dick has an uncanny understanding of Grace. Dick says that showing someone grace doesn’t always look like the nicest thing, but its what they need from you, given from a place of love. In other words, it’s healthy love– love with boundaries. These two, together, loved each other and loved people, and joined forces to transform people and communities. It is possible to accomplish big things with people who are different than you.
I may make fun of all the weird shit I notice in this world, but that’s the point– its all fun and games until people start fucking killing each other, or even denying the other’s right to be dumb and fucked up. The fat ex-Wiccan? He’s my friend. And he knows I love him. And I’m not trying to fucking kill him. And he laughs at me for the weird shit I do. And we’re part of a larger religious community that chooses a transforming Love, because that makes some fucking sense to us. And that Love may look the same as the Love that others choose, called by a different name, because that makes fucking sense to them as well. That’s great. Maybe we can get a beer.
Or not. Whatever. But you can count on getting the Love ’round here. With a healthy dose of boundaries. Like when you start acting like an asshole in line at the airport, I’m GONNA tell you to settle the fuck down.