Sunday, February 26, 2012

this is what happens when I try to sort out the sordid mess in my head( the hunger games and violence in entertainment)

I have been so conflicted and messed up over this point in life, I just wanted to...do something, to try and finally figure myself out. Like I've mentioned, a month before THG movie, and they are plugging away at it like all get-out. And THG, when I read it, really freaked me out, disturbed me, etc. I thought no one should ever read them again. But they really are really good. Instructive. Cautionary.

And now, America and the internet has turned into The Hunger Games Channel. All Hunger Games, all the time. it's everywhere. And anytime someone mentions it, I see an advertisement, I see people buying it, reading it, everywhere I turn. I stiffen, my gut twists, and I start thinking about it all over again.


And conversations with my Lakehouse sisters (I love you guys, you are my inspiration) have made me rethink some of my perspective and now I'm all confused.


Stick with me?

 Here's what happened after I read The Hunger Games (recap):

First of all, I stayed up till about four in the morning not being able to sleep or get those images out of my head. For a couple days after, it just got under my skin like nobody's business. I couldn't think about anything else. The day I finished Catching Fire,  I went swimming in the evening, and had to walk home by myself. I remember the pool glowing all creepily, and the insects making freaky noises in the trees, and me breathing hard and my heart racing and paranoid and convinced I was going to be attacked. And I had never been that freaked out. Ever. Don't think I'm exaggerating. I remember being wet from the pool walking home alone in the dark, and praying and singing worship songs under my breath in a vain effort to keep my sanity.

And it's not like I'm a sheltered kid who only read happy books about happy children skipping rope and running through daisy filled meadows. I already read the fair range of fantasy/sci fi, which includes its fair amounts of violence etc.

 And I encountered legions upon legions of people who read the books and ate em up. And they weren't like, jaded people who watched horror movies every night. Regular people. Little kids, even. Almost enough to convince me that I had had a huge overreaction. Almost.

For every 50 people that were like "HUNGER GAMES? OMG THAT"S MY FAVORITE BOOK SERIES I HAVE THE TEE SHIRT AND FOUR COPIES OF EACH BOOK AND WHAT DISTRICT WOULD YOU BE IN I"M DISTRICT FOUR" there was one person who felt the same way as I did. Abby. Lauren. Kate.

So, major conflict. So whenever someone asked me for my opinion of them "Should I read em?" I had no idea what to say. "Er-amer-te-augh, well, they were sorta scary." doesn't cover it by half. And it was even worse when another fan would chime in going "You thought they were scary? Really? No way! They were really good! Well...I guess they might be sorta scary." and give me a weird look that meant "-if you're three."

And they were really really good. Suspenseful. Flawlessly written. Chock full of morals. An interesting story of human nature.




Here's where I sort things out.

Yes, I admit to being easily disturbed.
No, I wasn't the only one.
Yes, I know people have different tolerances of disturbingocity and violence.
No, I don't believe that makes it ok.

Yes, I believe The Hunger Games has many many interesting and powerful things to say about us.
Yes, I believe that violence and disturbingness and fear are powerful tools that can be used to help a good story.
Yes, I believe there is a point where the disturbingness gets too far and the morals aren't worth it.
No, I don't believe that applies to the Hunger Games trilogy.

No, I am not sorry I read them now. (Although I was when I was immediately done with them.)
Yes, if you think you can handle it I think you should read them.

Yes, I believe there are a lot of people who overlooked the point of the story and don't take it or its message seriously enough.
Yes, I know for a fact some have a cavalier attitude toward unnecessary killing as a result of The Hunger Games.
Yes, this is what I was afraid of.

Yes, Hunger Games merchandise/plugging, Hunger Games fangirls, Hunger Games RP, Hunger Games "sorting quizzes" make me uneasy still.
Yes, I'm aware those who participate in Hunger Games RP are only having fun.
No, that doesn't make me feel any better about it.

Proverbs says to not envy violent people or walk in their ways.
Even so, I'm glad I read the Hunger Games trilogy. The ending was depressing, but it can be mucho instructive if you take it the right way. (HINT: it has something to do with living in a world without God and the results of trying to fix something all by ourselves)

 And of course I will watch the movie.

With that being over with(for now), a conversation about The Hunger Games sparked another interesting discussion on the role of violence, witchcraft, and scariness in entertainment. Is it relative per person?

 Is violence and movies in books/games/movies okay, since it's "just entertainment", and we're of course wayy too mature to take it to heart?

Now, being mostly cured, Amaranthine will attempt to make a dent in this subject. (rubs hands together)

Violence has a role in entertainment because it has a role in life. And of course there's minor forms of violence and darkness in pretty much every book and movie. But there is a point where it becomes too much.


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Phillipians 4:8.

I love this verse. And it's crystal clear. It tells us what to set our minds on in order to be stable, be joyful, and remain close to God. And it means entertainment choices, as well.

Entertainment is sometimes the closest thing to our hearts. Books/movies often dominate our hearts and minds. Sometimes it's the only thing we feel we have to live for, and sometimes, it's our escape from life.

As a result, entertainment is important. Nothing is ever just entertainment. Whether we like or not, values, people, character traits from our entertainment choices seep into our subconscious and help make us who we are. Whatever comes in through our eyes and ears flows into our hearts and soul.

Now, does this mean we should only read happy books with happy endings? Of course not!

Some people argue that books should reflect reality. They should be grim! They should sometimes be violent and scary! That's how life is, after all.

What do I believe?

Notice the verse. It doesn't say "Whatever is happy, whatever is easy, whatever is comfortable, whatever is pleasant-"

The verse calls for us to feed the values of truth, nobility, righteousness, and purity in our souls. These values don't need happiness and sunshine! They exist in the darkest of times. In fact, they thrive.

So, you see, it is possible to read books that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, and still maybe have dark, crazy, and violent elements. But the most important thing is that the book pursues those values. . And that's where The Hunger Games falls short. All that...stuff. would have been fine with me if the truth, nobility, and rightness of Katniss&Co hadn't been lost along the way.

And a quick note about desensitization: Desensitization of violence is probably the scariest thing ever. Desensitization is the reason why no one, no one, should be allowed to watch horror movies or read horror books, ever. (besides the keeping noble/pure stuff) Those scary book/movie people are out to shock you. To make you feel. Each is more sensational than the last. If you watch that stuff too much, you start to get numb. To get used to the murder and blood and gore so much it you just don't care anymore. 

Same with video games. What is human life? Is it valuable anymore?

 So when real-life horror stories surface(Holocaust, Nanking, Rwanda?), stuff that we should be scared of, freaked out by, and crying about, the numb people just don't feel it.

People should never get used to other people dying.

God calls us to be innocent. And "innocent" has a lot of connotations in modern life. People are like "Innocent? EW! Get the innocence away from me! That stuff is like, for babies!"

But innocent doesn't mean "clueless". Innocent doesn't mean turning a blind eye to the evil in the world. It doesn't mean sheltered. (Well, it can, but not the way God calls us to be innocent)

Innocence is "freedom from sin or moral wrong." It means knowing about the evil, the dirt, the nastiness-and choosing not to participate in it. It means being apart from it. It means being free from it, and quickly giving it to God the moment it touches us. 


Seeing the evil for what it really is, not what the coolness it sometimes masquerades as. Understanding evil.
Innocence is way hard. 


Well, there's my post. It's a hot mess. But that was what I was thinking about. It probably should have been split into two posts, huh.    

I finished Eragon and Gregor the Overlander today. Loved both. Gregor is happily nothing like THG.

10 comments:

  1. wow excellent posts you have some really good points most of them I agree with and the post is very well written its not a hot mess, I love these types of posts that make you think or question something and you have definitly accomplished that incredibly.

    I see where you are getting at, about violence in shows and shows being "just entertainment" and you definitly had some good points that media influences us however at least in my opinion someone can love Edgar allen poe (lets be honest its completly creepy and very few times can i find any moral in it) and still be okay and know that its just fiction not letting it impact them. though media influences us we can still choose to let it influence us or not. if that makes any sense okay let me stop before this comment becomes a post but really girl outstanding job Love this post you definitly made me think and thats awsome love it keep up the great work love ya God bless

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's funny...I saw a cover of a magazine that was all Katniss, and I see these things that people are buying left and right...and it almost makes me laugh. Because if you've read the book, and if you say you "love" Katniss and all she stands for, you know that she would be like "Are you serious? People are buying things with my face on it? How foolish." Not to mention, the whole idea that the Hunger Games is turning into this giant movie and money-making industry is something I can't see Katniss agreeing with: She was rebelling against the Capitol and the control it had over the people of Panem...what of the American entertainment industry? They've got us running to see this movie, pouring our money into its merchandise, falling right in line. Doesn't it remind you of the wealthy districts of Panem? So excited for the Hunger Games, they can hardly stand it!
    Okay, rant over ;) And that was a total rant inspired just by my opinions on the book (which I very much liked as well up until the third one)!
    Anyways, very well written, Amaranthine. ;)
    ~Lauren :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have wisdom beyond your years, my dear. This was absolutely, positively perfect. The best bloggers in the world, the most acclaimed writers, could write ten books each and not do what you did. The Lord certainly had His hand on you when you wrote this. :) [Not that He doesn't have you the rest of the time, but you know ;)]

    Mind if I link to this?? Especially with the movie coming out so soon.

    I'm also thrilled you liked Gregor. That's one of my very favorite series'. :]

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've never read THG, but I want to. However, this post is going to make me walk slowly around them.

    I'm a really paranoid person, but, I like scary thrills (I enjoy nightmares...:-D), so I dunno. Maybe I'll like it. Maybe I wont. I can't tell 'less I try, right?

    And I'm glad to see you loved Eragon! Tell me, isn't Durza the best thing EVER?!?!? Never mind, don't answer that. I'm probably alone in my Durzaness. Actually, one of my e-names is Durzi..lol.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent post. I am thinking about reading THG too...after getting good reviews, obsessive reviews, and thought provoking reviews *coughyourscough* I've decided to cautiously give it a try. If I get too upset/freaked out, I'll stop. Like you, I am easily freaked out as well. ;P

    Also, the end of that post reminded me of what my mom tells me often "goodness, truth, and beauty". I'm allowed to discern what I read/watch/play/listen to, etc, as long as I keep in mind whether or not it's Goodness, Truth and beauty by GOD'S Standards, not hers or mine. That, plus my guilty conscience, makes me pretty good when it comes to discernment. XD

    Love you!
    Fal <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. XD

      That's just the thing though. Something I forgot to mention: You just can't stop reading THG. XD I've never heard of anyone stopping reading. People who don't like to read have read it in one sitting. It's the most suspenseful book I have ever read. Each chapter ends in a way that makes you know that you CAN'T put it aside now, you have to read the next chapter and see what happens!


      XD I know I'm being counterproductive by posting more about it. The more I write about it, the more intrigued you guys are, ya? Oh well. The Hunger Games is not going to last forever anyways XD

      Amaranthine

      Delete
  6. YES! Ok, so I have read all of the books, and enjoyed all of the books. I didn't feel a pang of guilt, did not feel that they were totally ungodly (That dosent mean i will read them again :D), and did not feel like it was something I should not be reading. My mom lets me choose what I read, because I have a pretty good judgement of what books I should read and not read. But then she read THG, and loved the first two, and is slightly upset that I read the third.

    Anyways, THG made me think about our world. To me, it was almos t a wake-up call. I had never really cared about wars, well I did, but I never really felt anything. never took the true meaning on. Then I read THG, and realized what a horrible thing it is. and how valuable life is. Sense reading THG, i have been less enthusiastic about paying "kill without any reason" video games, have had less intrest in movies full of pointlessly shed blood, and... well, just... yeah...

    Basically, the books sort of opened my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I probably sound like a recording but I'm going to repeat everyone else and say I loved your post on this and it really gets me thinking. Really good post! *high five*

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with a lot of the points you made in this points; I like "The Hunger Games trilogy" but I don't want to be like the people in the books or anything. And I agree about the innocence paragraph; I completely agree with you on that :).
    And glad you enjoyed "Gregor the Overlander." I loved those books a whole lot better than "The Hunger Games".

    ReplyDelete

Amaranthine <3's you. Thanks for the comment!