I only just watched The Hunger Games (the first film, not the sequel) this evening, and was blown away. Where do I start? Jennifer Lawrence playing a majestic role as lead? Lenny Kravitz as a revelation? One of the best representations of a dystopia I’ve so far seen in art? Genuinely terrifying fight scenes, punctuated by appalling levels of tension? The fact that this film is practically a vision of a futuristic feminist revolution?
That’s a lot of questions, I’d better calm down. The point is that a lot of this ground has been covered already by those who watched the film many months ago, and so I thought I’d try and pen a different reaction to it. I looked at the parallels with how young people were treated in that film and in real life – rising costs of living, of student debt; fewer jobs, workfare, crackdowns on protests; and I realised that, in some ways, the Hunger Games are already here, with young people increasingly pitted against each other. So I wrote this short piece (below), which sums up how I’ve been feeling about these issues for some time now. I hope you find it of interest; if so, please share.
“The Hunger Games”
Our youth are already playing Hunger Games:
We’ve lowered them into the pit,
Then pulled the ropes away:
We have made them work for painful hours without payment
And view their plight as casually
As online entertainment.
We promise them a harsh future of infinite constraints
And then we make examples of those who would raise complaints.
We show them that, so they’ll survive,
They must be selfish brutes,
That they must spurn compassion, and all other such untruths.
Our youth are playing Hunger Games already, that’s for sure:
We teach them to greet backs with knives,
Each other’s eyes with claws –
There are still those young people resolute
To use their kindness to tear our whole world up by its roots.