As I sat watching the second installment of the Hunger Games film series, I was amazed that something so obviously anti-System would be allowed to be produced. With the subtlety of a shovel upside your head it was a film that took the hinted at subtexts of the first film and openly proclaimed criticism of the soulless gluttony of our elites versus the persecution of the working class who through blood, sweat, and toil provides the resources for the decadence of those on top.
The dystopian society presented by the film has so many obvious correlations to the modern era and the path that America is going down that you would have to be blind not to see it. This film is Traditional, revolutionary, and most Americans will not even realize it between their popcorn and ogling over being on “Team Peeta” or “Team Gale.”
The world of The Hunger Games is one that is simply the logical conclusion of our own System. This is the tyranny that is my personal worst fear for how the future will look. Worse than nuclear war, societal breakdown, or racial conflict is the world of The Hunger Games. The former United States of America has been reconfigured into a nation called Panem. The glittering and overly indulgent Capitol lords over the twelve (formerly thirteen) Districts.
Using a System of extortion and tribute, the Capitol lives off the labors of the Districts while repaying them with violence and tyranny. The Districts of Panem racially reflect the 1950’s America, overwhelmingly White with Black folks in the agricultural zones. Panem is multiracial but monocultural, the dreaded future of a globalist planet. As the saying goes “A People separated from their history are easily persuaded” and in the land of the Panem Districts, there is only endless work and misery, no time for literature, art, history, or culture beyond the simple push for survival.
True diversity of culture and people is ground underfoot by machines and a false “American” or in this case “Panem” identity in which the struggles of life and oppression of culture by the System creates a crushed and disheartened populace in which race and culture barely seem to matter, all are made slaves on the elites’ factory floors, mines, and fields.
Each District is impoverished and under a constant state of surveillance and low levels of terror. While the posh elites in the Capitol enthusiastically throw up at parties in order to devour endless plates of food, the people of the Districts are always on the brink of starvation. Locked into their District with no ability to communicate with their neighbors, the soul-crushing isolation for each District has a clear psychological toll upon the population. The Capitol has established Japanese style bullet trains to connect the Districts to the Capitol in order to receive tribute and to quickly move in troops to quell disturbances, the people of the Districts must walk and use ramshackle equipment to fulfill the ever increasing demands of the Capitol.
Using armed “peacekeepers” to keep order and enforce harsh punishment on dissenters alongside universal surveillance by drones and hidden microphones, the steel bootheel of the System is grinding the people of the Districts deeper and deeper into the mud. In a perversion of the old term “peacekeepers” the Panem law enforcement in military-style vehicles and body armor (sound familiar?) have become tools of the national government, not representing the local community. The book discusses how one District is chosen to field peacekeepers from where the youth are totally and utterly desensitized to violence and any sense of humanity. These men are trained to view the citizens of the Districts as enemies and treat them so, not too different from modern militarized training for police who use pregnant women and children targets for firearms training.
There is never any mention of religion in the series, indicating that alongside the total seizure of firearms from the public, religion has been whitewashed from the culture. The Soviet Union made the mistake of simply trying to terrorize the Orthodox Church into submission but was unable to destroy it. The faith of Orthodoxy inspired countless millions of Soviet citizens to remain true to the Russian people, the Russian faith, and the Russian culture. Faith gives the ability to transcend the material world and look upon sacrifice, compassion, and heroic endeavors outside of oneself.
Instead of persecuting the Faith and creating legions of martyrs that would inspire even more Faith, it appears that the government of Panem has done its best to simply erase Faith from the culture in every avenue. Towns are dominated not by Church spires, but by billboards and government monuments to the Capitol and Panem. The culture of pre-Panem America has been utterly reconstructed in the mold of a the ultimate end goal of the elites for America, a hedonistic, secular, and soulless entity that exists only to destroy the very hope of humanity in order to allow the elites to better be parasites off of the masses.
The Capitol is the epitome of modernity in all of its forms. There seems to be no work to be done in the Capitol beyond vanity projects such as hairstylists or clothing designers. Slaves, most of whom are mutilated, fulfill the jobs that the elites do not wish to do. Wearing costumes that at first seem outlandish, but when compared to Lady Gaga and other stars of the modern pop age aren’t really that far off from current styles, the residents of the Capitol simply indulge in every hedonistic pleasure imaginable.
Frequent drug use, sleeping all day just to party at night, gluttony, physical mutilation in the name of beauty, sloth, and utter shallowness are the abhorrent collage that makes up the personality of the residents of the Capitol. The residents of the Capitol love the Hunger Games as it provides them sport to enjoy. While not being forced to sacrifice any of their children, they enjoy the spectacle of young children going off to die to advance the interests of a few (Iraq/Afghanistan anyone?)
Totally disconnected from the suffering and misery of the Districts, the Capitol is made up of selfish and nearly soulless creatures just yearning for the next high, party, or Hunger Games. The problem is that looking at any college, spring break trip, or mainstream media outlet, this is who the youth of modern America are being turned into. As Tradition, the ties of folk, and Faith are thrown away in favor of YOLO! and hedonism, the degeneracy of the residents of the Capitol looks more and more like a roadmap to our future, not science fiction.
The name of the series comes from the yearly “ceremony” that every District is forced to participate in. Seventy five years before the start of Catching Fire, the Districts had rebelled against the Capitol and attempted to throw off their shackles. The Capitol responded by crushing the rebellion with brute military force and instituting a program in which every year the Districts must send two tributes, one man and one woman under the age of eighteen, to fight to the death in an arena on national television.
In an annual reaping, two names are selected for both boys and girls aged twelve to eighteen. The Capitol makes every District give up its own children in a Satanic sacrifice to Moloch. Just like abortion in the modern age is dressed up with enticing graphics and support of the System, the end result is broken families and a populace disheartened. In The Hunger Games the families of the tributes and entire population of every District are forced at gunpoint to “celebrate” these games. Brutal combat, vicious animals, starvation, and even electrocution slowly whittle down the twenty four contenders until one is left standing. After being forced to watch children be murdered, the Districts must celebrate the victor as the population of the Capitol gayly indulges in the sacrificial slaughter of children.
The main character of the series, Katniss Everdeen is from District 12. Katniss heroically had volunteered to take the place of her younger sister Prim in the first Hunger Games movie, an emotionally stirring move for the people of District 12 to witness. As Scripture said in John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Katniss bucks the hedonism of the Capitol and is willing to give everything, including her own life, for her family and community.
District 12 is responsible for coal and mineral production for the Capitol and it is very obviously a part of modern Appalachia. The conditions of the White blue collar population of Appalachia are not some dystopian nightmare, they’re the present situation. Currently in areas of Appalachia we have a true imperialist framework that the elites and businesses of America enforce upon the people of the region. Used as little more than slave labor to dig the coal and other minerals, modern Appalachian families face crumbling infrastructure, poor schools, poison running in their rivers and creeks, and limited health care. The bosses, scabs, and gun thugs never left Appalachia, they only got official government uniforms and nicer business suits. The tragedy of watching Katniss and her community struggle in District 12 is that it is a reality not too far off from what happens every day in the coalfields of America.
Catching Fire kicks off after Katniss and Peeta Mellark had both won the 74th Annual Hunger Games. In an act of defiance, the pair had threatened suicide rather than have to kill one another. To avoid a publicity catastrophe the Capitol had allowed the two to survive, but not without cost. Having used a romance to win public support throughout the games, Katniss and Peeta are forced to remain lovers regardless of their actual feelings. The appearance matters far more than reality in the age of mass media and publicity shots.
Part of the “pleasure” of winning the Games is being sent on a victory tour of all of the Districts. Katniss and Peeta are given cards to read off of and the environment is sterile. The Capitol does not want emotion, they want generic cookie cutter prepackaged words to lull the populace back to sleep. The victory tour is supposed to be a bread and circuses sideshow for the public, but this victory tour, it planting the seeds for revolution.
In the first Hunger Games film, Katniss had befriended a young girl named Rue from District 11. Rue was the smallest and youngest competitor and had forged an alliance with Katniss early on. Through a series of tragic events, Rue was fatally wounded. In a game in which every contestant is supposed to turn on one another, Katniss held Rue and sang to her as the young girl died. Instead of putting herself first, Katniss stayed behind with Rue’s body to create a small shrine out of flowers, and to honor this young tribute from a different District. Walking away with a final salute of her District of friendship and respect, Katniss planted the seeds to unity between the Districts in the midst of a contest in which for generations the Districts had been pitted against one another.
Katniss honoring and caring for Rue was viewed as a tremendous break from the Capitol’s narrative. To send gifts of food and materials to tributes is incredibly expensive, usually only for the Capitol elite, but District 11 came together to sacrifice a tremendous amount of their meagre savings to send the starving Katniss a loaf of bread. The symbol of Katniss, the mockingjay pin she wore on her jacket, became a sign of rebellion through all of the Districts.
The seeds of Revolution began to sprout.
When Katniss visited District 11 she gave a heartfelt thanks to the people of the District and honored Rue’s family and young siblings. In a scene that I must admit emotionally hit me, one man from the crowd salutes Katniss with the District 12 salute she had given Rue. Soon the whole crowd does the same, the bonds of unity against the despotic tyranny was born and put on national television. In classic heavy handed sentiment, the peacekeepers drag the old man in front of the crowd and execute him, but instead of inciting fear, they create a martyr. Revolution begins bubbling up in multiple Districts and the mockingjay becomes a true sign of rebellion.
Overall, Catching Fire took the ideas of the first Hunger Games film and fleshed them out into a more believable universe. Hoping to avoid spoilers I won’t give away the rest of the film, but I heartily suggest it to all Traditionalists. While some scenes are pure Hollywood, the importance of family, sacrifice, and rejecting modernity makes The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, a very enjoyable viewing experience.
One thing when leaving the theater that viewers must consider though is we must all look in this modern context the similarities we are facing. “Remember who the real enemy is” is a line repeated amongst the tributes in the latter half of the film. The other Districts are not our enemies, the other tributes are not our enemies, the enemy is the Capitol. As we squabble against one another in factions, all we do is provide entertainment for the residents of the political class.
Ethno-nationalists of all different stripes must realize that we all lose if the current System remains in place. Regardless of differences, uniting together to stop the ritualistic slaughter of our children, the plundering of our God-given natural resources, and the increasing police State over our lives, is what we must do to secure the existence of all peoples and all cultures. While the Capitol remains in power, the Districts will continue to suffer. As long as our current business, banking, and political class are in power, we all will continue to suffer. Time to throw off this System because under it, the odds are never in our favor.