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When life imitates art. November 11, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Those of you who’ve read Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games books doubtless recall that the depraved and decadent citizens of Panem’s Capitol turned the arenas where teens were forced to fight to the death on national TV into resorts. They loved going to their favorite arenas—which, of course, were different and more horrific every year—with their families for a nice little vacation, reliving (and relishing) every moment of the unfolding nightmare that took place there, without, of course, risking their lives or their comfort.

This reminds our friend Ben of people who read and/or watch horror and murder mysteries as entertainment. What’s entertaining about being terrified? I doubt that the folks who seem addicted to such “pleasures” would be so thrilled if Charles Manson’s ‘family’ or Hannibal Lecter or a bunch of goons burst into their home and opened fire. But it’s apparently thrilling to watch other people being tortured, killed, or terrorized.

I have to wonder if we lived in a place where starvation, natural disasters, untreated disease epidemics, routine violence and torture, and repression were commonplace, we’d find these books and films so entertaining. I read just this morning that 80 people had been officially murdered in North Korea, many just for watching films from South Korea. Jews in Hungary and Christians in Egypt are being terrorized. Neo-Nazis are marching in Kansas to celebrate Kristallnacht, the anniversary of horrific Nazi atrocity. At least ten thousand Filipino lives have been lost to the latest typhoon, and Japan is still leaking nuclear waste from its devastated plant. Do you find this fun and relaxing? Why would you find any suffering fun and entertaining?

Suzanne Collins doubtless thought she was being ironic when she turned the murder of innocents into the Capitol’s Disney World. But now Lionsgate, which produces the film versions of the Hunger Games, is turning her nightmare into reality. According to today’s headlines, Lionsgate is planning to establish Hunger Games theme parks. No doubt we’ll all be given the opportunity to enter the arena with Katniss and Peeta, watch an interview with Caesar Flickerman, and be intimidated by President Snow. The real-world irony is overwhelming.



1. Huma - November 12, 2013

Oh my god—-this is indeed sick. I love mysteries but preferably where there is no dead body on display and can’t stand to see the current ones where multiple dead bodies are being excavated by “forensic scientists” for gruesome details. Yes there is something utterly sick about all this but I think Collins had a dual purpose not all of it ironic or innocent. How could it?

I’m all for the Sherlock Holmes model of mysteries-as-puzzles (who is the man with the twisted lip, where did Irene Adler hide the portrait of the prince, what happened to the giant jewel and how did it end up in a goose). These are intellectual puzzles involving logic, not horror. The sad fact that gore for its own sake has taken over the mystery genre to the point that every mystery is a “murder mystery” is a really pitiful comment on our society and its degenerate values. As for Suzanne Collins, the word “innocent” would not occur to me when speaking of her. She created the most brutal world she could imagine to showcase the evil of murder/torture-as-entertainment and the results of desensitizing the populace to the true atrocities occurring all around them. (The famous quote “and then they came for me” comes to mind.) I can only imagine what must be going through HER mind in the wake of the theme park revelations.

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