Mockingjay: Pure Entertainment, or Cautionary Tale?

So by now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Mockingjay movies, as well as the first movie, The Hunger Games, and the sequel, Catching Fire. These movies have definitely caught fire in entertainment, marketing, and product lines, but is the message being lost?

I’ve both read the books and seen the movies. I know the differences between the two, and some of the more glaring differences are bothersome to me. The movies don’t have Katniss getting her iconic Mockingjay pin from a friend she didn’t even know she had in District 12. They don’t go into her fear of having children because she doesn’t want them to have to face competition in the Hunger Games.

These are two minor changes, but they are powerful messages that need to be conveyed. The symbol of the Mockingjay wasn’t something Katniss picked up in a marketplace; it was given to her by a friend, a precious commodity to Katniss in the harsh conditions of District 12. Her fear of having children was a powerful message, a sign of the desperation of the times. Being afraid to have a child because that child might have to compete in a battle to the death with other children? That is an enormous weight to carry, and to gloss over that is to do the books a great disservice.

Another thing that disturbs me is that the message of the story is lost in the commercialization of the films. We–I’m speaking primarily of Americans–have become complacent in our current political system. We protest, we gripe on Facebook, we post political memes and quotes…but what do we really do about it?

Now, I’m not suggesting full-on rebellion like in the books. I’m saying that we need to consider the situation we’re in. Sure, our political system has worked for a couple hundred years. Yeah, we had that Civil War in there, but y’know, we’ve been pretty much status quo for a while. Are we really operating in the right system right now, though?

You have basically two parties that are diametrically opposed. “Debates” become arguing sessions where nothing is accomplished. And don’t even get me started on TV coverage of politics. Ugh.

Our political system is a hot mess. Do I know how to fix it? Hell, no. I don’t get involved in politics because not only do I admittedly have only a basic understanding of the system, but also because I don’t fully agree with either side. I’m neither right nor left, black nor white, light nor dark. I’m in that grey area, that middle ground where I don’t feel strongly enough about any of the hot button topics to raise up my voice and speak out. And if I did, who would listen? My Twitter followers? My few Facebook friends?

Politics and social media don’t mix well, I’ve found–and yet I’m writing this blog post today. Why? Because I think we should do something. I don’t know what; I’m not smart enough for that. But maybe, just maybe, someone who is smart enough will read this and say, “Hey, she’s got a point. We don’t have to keep the system we have just because it’s what we’ve done for a couple hundred years.”

“Well, AJ,” you might say, “what exactly do you want us to do?” I honestly don’t know. I want us to not bitch about stupid things. I want us to be open to different ideas and different beliefs. I want something more.

Is there an “ideal” political system? Is it worth it to upend the current one only to wind up in a worse situation? Who knows. I don’t think the ideal political system has yet been found, because if it had someone somewhere certainly would have the common sense to say, “These people have got it right. This is what we need to do.” And then others with common sense would say, “Yeah, good point. Let’s do the thing.” And we would all do the thing, and world harmony and all that jazz.

Yeah, I know that’s not going to happen. Maybe some day in the far, far future, but certainly not my lifetime. And that sucks.

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