Thursday, April 5, 2012

Everything Is The Hunger Games

Ever since The Hunger Games hit the big time, just about every journalist on the planet has invoked it in some way or another. Myself included. However, doing so has often been something of a shoehorning, a lazy attempt to get clicks by tying whatever it is you're writing about to the hot movie of the day.

So let's give all those lazy writers clicks and see if any of them have actually invoked The Hunger Games properly. Just remember: the actual book/movie is about teenage children being taken from their parents and forced by the government to fight to the death on television as a demonstration of government power.

TRIBUTE: "A real-life Hunger Games", Blaine Harden, Los Angeles Times

Well, if you're going to invoke the Hunger Games, North Korean labor camps are actually a pretty damn good comparison. Harden chose to compare them not because the camps reminded him of the movie, but because the movie reminded him of the camps. He talks about how children, born in the camps and forced into hard labor under starvation conditions, are also made to betray their families on pain of execution. By the North Korean government, of course, as a warning to other North Koreans to not cross the North Korean government lest this happen to you, and your family, and pretty much everyone you care about in life.

The comparison works (aside from the televised part; North Korea denies the camps' existence in front of the outside world) and it's actually really worth a read if you're not familiar with the camps.

TRIBUTE: "Warning: Hunger Games Ahead", Dan E. Burns, Age of Autism

Not so much here with the good comparisons. The article promotes a 'Give Autism A Chance' luncheon in Austin, Texas, which seeks to show potential employers that people with autism are capable of being productive, even excelling employees. Which, while a noble aim that I am in no way trying to slight... the Hunger Games? Really? The entire justification for invoking the franchise is, quote, "Will it be “Hunger Games” for our kids as adults, or can we bend the future?" Which is really pretty weak even before you factor in the whole children-burying-axes-in-each-others'-skulls aspect.

TRIBUTE: "Harper's Hunger Games: What The Budget Says About Canada", Kimberley Love, Meaford Indpendent (Ontario)

This article concerns the budget presented by Jim Flaherty, Canadian Minister of Finance, which Love sees as going too far over to the right and, well, making Canada look too much like the United States. (Americans in the audience ought to cringe right about there.) Considering I'm an actual American, and knowing the budget Paul Ryan is trying to put through, I sympathize, but again: battle to the death, like, with axes and bows and arrows and stuff. Let's not go crazy here, Kimberley.

TRIBUTE: "Is your company like 'The Hunger Games?'", Dave Logan, CBS Money Watch

Logan's article is about how companies that set goals deliberately too high place their workforce under so much pressure that it turns into a stressed-out blame game when they inevitably don't meet the goals they knew all along they weren't going to meet. At that point people throw each other under the bus and try to be the last person standing, or at least the person who gets the least blame. Just like the Hunger Games.

Dude. Nobody's dying, Dave. You barely even allude to anyone getting fired, which if you wanted to push the metaphor could at least work as a corporate substitute for dying. I could maybe see where you're trying to go if you played up the aspect of people getting fired for not meeting those goals, and corporate would work as 'the government' in this case, but you're still really kind of stretching things.

TRIBUTE: "Playing the Hunger Games at home", Karrie McAllister, The Daily Record (Wooster, Ohio)

The first two sentences: "Please don't think there is any more violence than normal in our kitchen. I can assure you the only bloodshed is by myself, mis-slicing an onion. And the only things that truly go from alive to dead are the meat and vegetables we eat." So right there we're not off to a great start. Then you keep going and you find McAllister is writing about her kid wanting a snack from the kitchen while she is preparing dinner and her steering said kid towards something healthy if he can't wait a half-hour. That's it. That is literally it.

Ah, the local paper. Why are you dying off? Can't think of any reason at all.

And finally...

TRIBUTE: "Are We Preparing Realtors For The 'Hunger Games'?", InmanNext

Dear God, I should hope not.
Preparing real estate agents to be rated reminds me of the “Hunger Games.” It appears everyone is getting into the “game” of finding the best agent.

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