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Author Topic: The Hunger Games
TomDavidson
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quote:
You consider those PURELY leftist states?
I would argue that Sweden is more leftist than the USSR was, yes. But of course you might be defining "leftist" as "communist and authoritarian," which kind of renders the conversation moot.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

Look at what Marx called socialist and Sweden isn't remotely socialist. The USSR was.

First of all, socialism was an *influence* on Marx, not an invention of his. Second, the USSR was not at all what even Marx called socialism. It began as a dictatorship of the proletariat, which he believed was a necessary precursor to Communism (a specific form of socialism); however, under Stalin, it ceased to be even that, and was simply a dictatorship with some pseudo-socialist economic aspects.

Sweden is very much a socialist nation; the USSR never was.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
You consider those PURELY leftist states?
I would argue that Sweden is more leftist than the USSR was, yes. But of course you might be defining "leftist" as "communist and authoritarian," which kind of renders the conversation moot.
No. I consider socialism being where government controls the means of production.

Damn. I thought it was just the right that were frigging ignorant about that simple definition.

Tom, do you only read those little tidbits that you cut and paste? If you even read what I said about Volvo and bastions of capitalism, you should have grasped the blitheringly obvious fact that I was talking about a specific economic construct and not tyranny. You have been on this forum long enough to know that I'm not even to your right on fiscal issues. What you said insults us both.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

Look at what Marx called socialist and Sweden isn't remotely socialist. The USSR was.

First of all, socialism was an *influence* on Marx, not an invention of his.

[Goes on,like Tom, to say this is socialist and that is not socialist, without bothering co consult an actual definition of socialism.].

The term communism also predates Marx, but today the terms have become intertwined with Marxism. One cannot discuss premarxist concepts of socialism and communism without specifying such.
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Pete at Home
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Both of you, for disregarding specifics and acting like I was some tea partier who defines socialism as "evil", bite me. Read the damn definition http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

I'm the one who cited this same definition to righties who thought that obamacare was "socialism", and I know you were in those arguments. I expected better from the two of you.

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Pete at Home
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I would like to test if Adam even believes what he just said. Adam, what Swedish laws would you say would make the United States socialist if Obama adopted them?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
No. I consider socialism being where government controls the means of production.
The question isn't "what is socialism?" The question is "what is a 'leftist state?'"

You'll notice that, despite three separate posts of yours asserting the contrary made in a remarkably short period of time, I have not once offered up an example of "socialism" on this thread.

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cherrypoptart
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Everybody freaks out and says I just don't get it when I say what I'm about to say but this seems too much like kiddie violence porn for me to get any enjoyment out of it. And I didn't mind Battle Royale, the Japanese version of this, but the disturbing thing about this version is how it is marketed to children and we just let them eat it up as if it isn't pure evil. So I guess I'm one of "those" people now like the types against D&D and Harry Potter, both of which I very much enjoy, but this seems to be completely different, at least to me. I know the point is that she's fighting against it, yes I realize that, but I still see people including children taking pleasure in the emotional rush of watching children killing children, as if any of the other kids deserved it anyway like when Katniss got them with the tracker jackers. The difference between this and so many other films that have killer kids like Lord of the Flies or Children of the Corn is how this glorifies it instead of treating it as horror. Our society is in a very dark place. And that's my take on it so now let the flaming begin.
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cherrypoptart
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And for those who say The Hunger Games has nothing to do with Battle Royale I'll concede that she could have come up with the idea independently as it's not really that far fetched especially when there are day care centers in the news where the staff makes the little children fight each other for the amusement of their overseers. So it's not a difficult idea to come up with, just very evil.


By the way, do you know what they call The Hunger Games in Paris?

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D Pace
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:



By the way, do you know what they call The Hunger Games in Paris?

+1 lol
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OpsanusTau
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It is more accurate to say that Sweden has a Nordic-model economy, which is not exactly socialist but is what most Americans would probably consider leftist.

Scandinavians(/Nordics, depending on how annoying one wants to be about definitions) are definitely collectivist. Sometimes it is very hard to figure out to what extent people do certain things because a law requires, and to what extent people do certain things because intense (and internalized) social pressure requires Right Action.

Cherry I also hated the books. The first one at least has an interesting overall plot arc - but the second one is just the same thing over again with modifications, and the third one is a mess. And yes, it is child-torture-porn. I didn't/won't see the movies though I'm told they're not as bad in that respect as the books, but it doesn't matter because the bar is so low.

It's just like the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I finished, but couldn't bring myself to read the sequels for. There's this whole genre of books that portray horrifying torture in what I can only describe as loving detail, and the terribly insidious thing is that the moral orientation of the actors in the torture scenes is such that the reader is manipulated into having a positive reading experience about the torture. Either the bad person is getting what is coming to him/her, or the innocent person is being damaged which is an inspiration to righteous feelings of condemnation and desire for revenge. Either way, the reader is intended to come out of the book feeling like one of the good guys when what the reader has really done is enjoyed portrayal of torture as entertainment.

I agree with cherry: evil.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
I know the point is that she's fighting against it, yes I realize that, but I still see people including children taking pleasure in the emotional rush of watching children killing children...
I was similarly concerned when I started reading the books, but that was quickly put to rest.

The books really are not about "children killing children," although that happens. It is about Katniss' reaction to all of it.

2/3 of Hunger Games occurs before the games, and the games themselves take up around a quarter of the tale. So the emphasis is not on the games. And by the time the games start, you have seen Katniss' terror and anxiety and moral conflict about the whole thing.

By the end of the series, Katniss is a mental and emotional wreck, barely able to function. There is no glory in her victory, in her killing anyone.

Yes, you can take some emotional pleasure of "children killing children." But to get to that point, you first have to go through a long, long passage that takes away that pleasure, that reveals the game for the emotional and moral horror that they are.

I'm sure there are easier ways to get kiddie violence porn, just like there are easier ways to get war porn than watching Saving Private Ryan. And those who really want it will look for other sources.

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scifibum
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I'm in between.

I don't deny that there's supposed to be some amount of pleasure in the deaths of the obviously evil characters who die. But they are Obviously Evil; there's no moral complexity to be had. Other deaths are Obviously Wrong and Sad. That's why it's YA. Enjoyable to read, no real moral complexity.

It does goes quite far in describing gruesome things. I understand why it can be described as violence porn. I think Collins was pretty determined to make sure the reader was aware how Obviously Evil the bad guys were, and probably tried too hard.

However, I wouldn't call it evil. A substantial chunk of the series is devoted to describing how awful the consequences of all the violence are. I think it feeds an appetite for violent entertainment (which is a problem, although not a simple one) while also overtly discouraging real life violence.

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NobleHunter
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To those of you who've read Ender's Game more recently, how does Hunger Games compare in terms of its treatment of violence?

I remember Ender trying to justify the violence he commits, and it's only when he can no longer do so that he has the freak-out by the lake.

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D.W.
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I wouldn't say it revels in violence but Katnis kills when she has to. Reluctant or not it's deliberate. Ender's killing can all be framed as an undesired result even if not an unexpected one. Or a manipulation. Katnis is quite simply placed in kill or be killed situations and she refuses to give up and die.

In the first book she does go out of her way to avoid taking lives, though the tracker jacker (wasp) nest she dropped on a group did have rather horrific results. She correctly views everyone she's pitted against as victims but some of those victims are very much willing to kill to survive as well.

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OpsanusTau
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The violence in Hunger Games is much more graphic, and much more ... I don't know, "out there". Ender kicks kids in the face and there's blood and death but there's not the same kind of carefully-constructed, detailed portrayal of edgy, torturous violence.

I agree with several people that there's not supposed to be moral ambiguity in some of the deaths and violence in Hunger Games. What I'm trying to say is that the lack of ambiguity does not excuse it or make it less torture-pornographic, although the structure of the book seems to want to excuse it.

For instance,
quote:
But to get to that point, you first have to go through a long, long passage that takes away that pleasure, that reveals the game for the emotional and moral horror that they are.
And then, when the reader has "gone through" that passage and has come to (or returned to) the conclusion that the game is an emotional and moral horror, the reader gets to feel self-congratulatory about being on the side of the good and righteous who don't like that stuff.

That's what I think is evil.

It's not limited to these books at all. I'm not much of a media consumer in most forms, but I saw a movie at the theater in the last six months (Eclipse? is that a movie?) that was so full of graphic, gory violence that I had to close my eyes for a lot of it. And listen, I do surgery. It's not that blood and guts and injuries bother me, they really mostly don't in the context of the real world.

What bothers me is media that dwells on the details of violence and torture in an obsessive, voyeuristic, and I'm sorry but the best word is pornographic way - and then manipulates the media consumer into feeling good about herself for having experienced that.

"Well, okay, I spent 20 minutes watching a simulation of someone having horrible things done to him against his will, but the point of the work was that doing those things is wrong, so I'm actually more virtuous for having watched that."

No. No, no, no. I don't believe that much of anyone is morally improved by experiencing torture porn, and we need to stop telling ourselves that we are. If people want to enjoy watching actors pretend to mutilate one another, fine, they should just own it as sadists. If books & movies want to portray torturers as "baddies", it is actually possible to do that in a more effective way by dwelling less on the actual torture.

But I do not like works of art that manipulate people into watching torture and feeling virtuous about it. Disgusting.

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scifibum
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I think Ender's violence is hard to morally judge, while the violence in Hunger Games is easy to judge (as long as you accept the Really Evil People Exist who will Do Really Evil Things premise).

That being said I don't think Hunger Games is more kid-appropriate by any means. Kids are probably more susceptible to the type of manipulation that Ops is (wisely I think) concerned about, and more likely to be disturbed or inappropriately thrilled by the graphic portrayals.

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LetterRip
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Ender's Game, Harry Potter, Hunger Games - all of them have a significant theme of being forced into a situation where one must get and is morally justified in getting 'revenge against the bully'. The respective bullies are all extreme in their nature and character with essentially no depth.

They are all heavily playing into that fantasy, even if they couch it in terms of necessity.

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OpsanusTau
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Oh I meant to say and forgot - I think the Ender's Game is extremely ethically problematic.

This essay gets at some of what I have found difficult about the book.

However, it's also a much better book than Hunger Games. Which, okay, is not as bad as the snippets I've read of 50 Shades of Grey (BLARGH) but I am so, so tired of badly-written books that become extremely popular for thematic reasons that make sense in context of the world (I mean I get some of what people like about these books) - I feel like such a curmudgeon all the time when people who know I like YA and spec fic say, "Ooo, have you read Hunger Games/Song of Ice & Fire/Twilight/Whatever, it's SO GOOD, you'll love it" and I have to say "Yeah actually I read that and thought it was not that great, I didn't finish." [Frown]

On the upside, I finally got my friend who reads horrible Twilight fanfiction all the time started on Ursula K LeGuin and she is so happy about how amazing all those books are.

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Funean
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One of the benefits of "popular" literature, which is to say books that are widely read and have at least marginal substance (not Harlequin romances or pure action thrillers) is that there is a kind of social pressure to join the conversation and actually discuss what one is reading. This is an activity that faded to near extinction in the popular culture. That the first Hunger Games novel inspired some people to read the book, and then read the second novel in advance of the second movie is pretty great. Mind you, I would hope that some of these folks who have discovered or re-discovered reading for pleasure will go on to broaden and deepen their bookshelves, but the fact that adults are carrying reading material around in increasing numbers is a stand-alone Good.
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LetterRip
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Funean,

it is probably the increase in smart phones, I know that my reading of books has increased quite a bit now that I can convieniently check out and read a book from anywhere.

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OpsanusTau
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I agree, I love that people are reading. I just feel sad when I think that the books everyone else likes are stylistically bad.

Oh well. There are worse problems to have.

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Funean
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Ops, I think the number of people who enjoy good books is probably stable, and who those people are. This represents a net increase in the number of people, not a replacement of that set of people. And hopefully they will experience personal growth.
LR, the invention of a device by which I can purchase new books at 10:00 at night, while lying on the couch in nightclothes, was the functional equivalent of installing a hookah on my shoulder. And I already read about a book a day.

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JoshuaD
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[LOL]
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Pete at Home
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Ops, why do you think hunger games was stylistically bad? I was really pleasantly surprised. Simple elegance.

Agreed as to other popular novels.

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Pete at Home
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Song of fire and ice certainly has its torture porn. But hunger games? You feel everything emotionally. No acts without spiritual conequence
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cherrypoptart
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The second Hunger Games movie was much better than the first and pretty much redeemed itself insofar as my earlier objections are concerned.
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