My Facebook friend RP pointed the way tothis repulsive piece in Slate about how, just how on earth, we will ever explain to anyone younger than 40 that the world sucks:
ThatMockingjay will eventually become a movie is one of the safest bets in Hollywood. WithHunger Games, Lionsgate is hoping to unleash the next great young adult movie franchise, filling the void left by the $7 billionHarry Potter series, andTwilight, which has already earned $2 billion and wraps up with a final film this fall. The studio (which also produced theTwilightfilms) has already announced its plan to render the book trilogy as four movies. At some point, then, the producers are going to have to figure out how to make the depressing and chaotic finale into a film (or films) with broad appeal and a PG-13 rating. How will the producers satisfy Collins’ 20 million or so readers, along with millions more curious newcomers, with what is essentially a war movie, and, more troubling, an unmitigated bummer?
Children, naturally, beingnotoriouslysheltered from violence. Children who would never everendanger each other for the sport of the rich. Children whose deaths areso much more moral, because at least we don’t televise them for our entertainment.
Mr. A and I hit a midnight screening of the film, unable to wait for a sedate daylight matinee, and so we were the oldest people in the sold-out theater not toting a minivan full of teenagers. When the opening credits rolled the cheers about busted the roof off, and these were young women, girls primarily, packed six deep in the popcorn line.
They were leaning forward in their seats for a story about a young woman their own age who takes an entire political system designed to dehumanize and punish, and tells everyone involved in creating it to go right to hell. To take all their neuroses and all their needs and all the ways they’ve made young people something for their own amusement, and shove it up their privileged, entitled, arrogant asses.
The imagery was terribly violent and upsetting: the Reaping, with its deliberate echoes of draft boards and concentration camps; the fighting, filmed like a contemporary war documentary in nausea-inducing shaky-cam verité. Teenagers with their necks snapped, teenagers with knife wounds, shot through with arrows, blown up in explosions, turning on one another. Overcome with fury, weeping with fear, singing out in laughter in even the direst of straits. One of the most upsetting scenes in the entire film is, of course, about an act of kindness, because it’s so alien amidst all this.
Forget any parallels to Occupy, though they’re there. Just think about how adults talk about teenagers generally. Just think about the drumbeats for every war that ever was: How “we” in the person of some 18-year-old who signed up because college is a forlon hope or to feed his family or to get out of some burned-out hellhole must defeat “the enemy” and how the minute one of those actual 18-year-olds saysif it sounds so awesome to you let’s switch places, they become that enemy themselves. It’s not too much of a stretch, from there to here.
Who fights our wars? Who signs up for our armies, full of pride about representing their countries? Who dies in the bombings, who is blasted to pieces by mines? Who runs the drugs? Who packs the crates and ships them off to blow a crater in someone else’s life? Who comes home burned, broken, sorrowing, scared of his own shadow? Who comes home in a box, the flag draped over it intended to give some kind of comfort?
We’re fighting two wars in this country right now, do we really think it’s so strange a thing, a story about the aftershocks of conflict and the effects on those who had least to give and most to lose? A story about the sacrifice of the young and innocent, about what happens when people become abstractions amidst The Rules?
Do we really think that will be so hard to understand?