The Hunger Game’s ravenous fans are flocking to theaters this week. The story has been told before (1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Running Man, The Giver among many others) and the appeal is timeless. The question – is mindless entertainment a substitute for human connection? – is worth asking.
The Games are distracting. That’s the point. The Games simplify overwhelmingly complex issues and reduce them to “Him v. Her ” and sizzle-y sound bites… “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
Consider Reality TV, and our obsession with The Games. I love feel-good programs that show case talent and improving skills. I love discovering back stories of courage and turnaround. Agreed, not all Reality TV is inspirational. (I’m talking to you, Jersey Shore and Mob Wives!) And, unfortunately, the format is slipping into other aspects of our lives.
More Reality TV: The presidential election season is now open. The contestants are being selected. The tag lines are sounding. The teams are forming, for one candidate or another.
Is it really who is in office that makes the biggest difference in your personal freedom? Or, is it money. Money buys options. The more money you have, the more options you have. Note that, like in The Hunger Games, the poor are disproportionally represented in fights to the death.
Prosperity and poverty are taking sides. I am a big fan of business. Honorable, profitable trade expands peace, prosperity and freedom. We can use the marketplace to distribute goods and services, to exchange our gifts with one another. Business is a way to create money – options – from nothing. I also believe in government, to do that which business can’t – and won’t – do.
It’s just not as simple as “Dems v. Reps.” The Reality is: It’s not just entertainment. Our humanity is at stake. At any point in our lives, we are in a position to lend a hand, or we may need one. If you are able, are you willing to help a brother or a sister out? If you need help, are you able to accept it? When you are very young and very old, you are dependent on others. And even the most privileged can find the tables turned by a natural disaster, a Ponzi scheme, a serious illness…or war.
When the disaster strikes, all politics aside, we are going to help someone who needs it. We’re not going to draw battle lines and wage war on our neighbors. That just happens in the movies. Right?