Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everyone's Hungry

     Here's another topic I've had in my Idea Notebook just waiting to be voiced.  I'm a fairly avid reader, and I don't necessarily critique every book I read, I reserve that right for the ones that really stick with me, or strike some sort of chord in my brain.  I think it's safe to say that you're familiar with The Hunger Games because it's a movie, but it's also a book.  I haven't watched the movie yet, but based on past experience- the book is better.  (The reverse is only true for Stephen King novels.)  The Hunger Games trilogy was written by Suzanne Collins. If you haven't read them, I highly recommend them.  Spoiler Alert- the first one is the best, but if you're like me you'll feel obligated to read them all.

    I'd like to share my thoughts and ideas on the first book.  I wrote them down as I read, which is best because the ideas are fairly fresh and relevant that way.  I'll try and not ruin the ending or anything for you guys.

     - Stephen King's endorsement on the cover was initially a turn-off.  But, I figured if he liked it then it's probably not complete crap.
     - Wants vs. Needs: You can survive without the things you want.  It may not be a lot of fun, but it's easier to live without the things you want rather than living without the things you need.  Your basic necessities are shelter, food, and water.
     - Drafts:  The Hunger Games reminded me of the drafting process during wars.  If you don't have enough volunteers, you need someone to go out and die for the cause.  It's not really fair, but you're severely punished/ostracized if you don't go.  If you do go and you survive, you're welcomed back as a hero...unless you were in Vietnam.
     -Time: There's something tranquil about knowing when you're going to die.  You have the time and the inclination to finalize things that may otherwise have been left unsaid.  If I knew for certain that today was my last, I wouldn't die happily or peacefully but gratefully.  I'd be grateful for the opportunities and the blessings I've been given and for the people I've been able share them with.
    - Reality Television: Something like the Hunger Games would be the next logical step for reality TV.  I was reminded of George Carlin's thoughts on the All Suicide Network.  We already cover birth, weddings, imprisonment, the odd execution if we're particularly excited to get rid of you, surgery, addiction, drug abuse, sexual indiscretion, etc.  It could be like Extreme Survivor.  I bet a show like that would get good ratings in today's society.  We're a pretty depraved lot.
    - Government Control: People only have the control over you that you let them have.  Rules, rights, money, power, it's all an illusion.  There are more poor people than there are governing and/or wealthy people.  It's a fairly revolutionary idea that rears its head once every revolution or so, and the people in control dread the day that we finally remember that.  What really keeps us from taking what we want?  Fear of imprisonment for one, but those places are absolutely running over- or at least that's what we're told when someone rich and famous serves six hours of a three month sentence.
                      -Revolution: While I was writing this, I also had a conversation with a man who owns a business down the road.  We discussed the local and national economy and how money is basically useless.  $100 just doesn't buy anything anymore.  He said that what we needed, and I'd probably see it in my lifetime, is a revolution to put the government back in its place.  I liked the idea.  We've had revolutions before, and it helps for a little while but then things get all corrupt again and the cycle continues.  The fire in his eyes was compelling, though.  There's still plenty of fighting spirit left in the world, that's for certain. 
                      - Money: is really worthless paper that means whatever we say it's worth.  The same for everything else.  Remember those Furbies you paid hundreds of dollars for about ten years ago?  Utterly worthless now.  Sorry.
                      - Robin Hood: was so appealing because he took from the lazy rich and gave to the down-trodden poor.
      -Public Forms of Punishment: Not a new idea.  The Romans built Coliseums for people to watch prisoners kill each other (Gladiators) or to watch a hungry den of lions devour them.
      -Popularity: For the characters in the book, living depends on how popular you are.  The more wages in your favor, the more aid provided for you in the games.
      -Self-preservation: You can't trust anyone when your lives are at stake.  Even your closest friends will be compelled to save themselves over you.  Don't take it too personally, that's just the way evolution works.  The economically-challenged are viewed as weak, but they do have advantages because they rely on their wits to survive, and doing without isn't something new to them.
      - Unjust: People turn a blind eye to blatant injustice until it affects them personally.  They're outraged when it actually becomes a living, breathing thing clawing them from the inside out.  Like when one of Katniss' friends dies in the games, she suddenly understands what Gale was so angry with the capitol about.
       -Dispensable: People aren't a means to an end.  They're real, rationally thinking creatures just like you.  You may think that you're getting ahead by making friends only to drain them dry until they're no longer useful to you; but in the end, you're the one who's left alone and useless.  I'm reminded of the old adage "Be careful of  who you step on getting to the top, you'll meet them again on your way back down."

I'm interested to hear what kinds of ideas you guys had on the books.  Don't be shy!

-NSA: National Security Agency-


  1. so.....plain and blunt....did u like it?? lol

  2. I did, or else I wouldn't have recommended it :P The first one is really the only good book. I had higher expectations for the second and third.