Culture

Is The Hunger Games Libertarian?

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Nestled snugly atop the box office right now rests The Hunger Games. The movie is based on a Young Adult novel by Suzanne Collins and it's the latest in a line of series (See: Twilight and Harry Potter) to make teens and unashamed adults flip out and reach for their wallets. Meanwhile the movie's $150 million-and-counting haul in its first week of release, plus the two more book sequels to turn to profit means more delicious chocolate gold for a lackluster movie bizs is on its way.

For those not in the know, the books are the story of a future North America ruled over by an opulent and oppressive capital city which exploits and oppresses most citizens as they wallow in menial labor and bare-bones survival. Worse still, every year, as punishment for a failed revolution, 24 children from around the country must compete in the eponymous games. The proceedings are portrayed partially as a withering, hyper-critique of reality TV-style disconnect, as rich capital citizens watch the life and death struggles as entertainment. But within the story, the games' true purpose is to keep the government's power over their very lives fresh in the minds of citizens in case anyone else feels like revolting. The books' narrator is a 16-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen who heroically takes her little sister's place when the youngster is picked most unluckily for the games. Things follow, drama, bloodshed, some romance. 

But, say, is this saga of an oppressive government that hinders freedom of movement, expression, and even trade, while holding the ultimate power of life and death over its citizens remotely libertarian? 

A lot of people seem to think so. Today Dave Grant at The Christian Science-Monitor muses "The Hunger Games: Should Ron Paul be a Hunger Games super fan?"

His answer, in awkward, libertarian-basic-prose, is yes indeed: 

The Hunger Games trilogy has violence as its main consideration. But whether it's on war or myriad other topics, we don't think Great Libertarian Poobah Ron Paul would quibble with many of the sentiments sprinkled in Collins's writing.

Let's run through four of them.

1. "As long as you can find yourself, you'll never starve," Katniss recalls her father telling her. In this case, the play is on her name, a sort of bluish tuber that she claws up from a riverbank. The book begins on this note of ultimate self-reliance, that only the individual can keep life alive.

To avoid starvation with help from the government, one must enter a devil's pact. While all citizens are entered into the Reaping, a lottery to decide which boy and girl will be sent into the hellish Hunger Games, citizens can opt to enter their name more than once for a year's supply of vital – but meager – foodstuffs. And the entries are cumulative each year from age 12 to age 18.

If you can provide for yourself, the Hunger Games tells us, you can make it through. If it's government help you want, the price may be your very life.

2. "District 12: Where you can starve to death in safety," Katniss laments near the book's outset. It's forbidden for the people of Katniss's district to venture out into the woods to hunt, fish, or gather plants. Here one could hear echoes of the cries of libertarians, crying out against a government that by securing total security has all but destroyed liberty.

In other words, one must rely on themselves to survive, even in the face of a government that restricts almost all avenues to prosperity.

3. Government bureaucrats, a favorite libertarian target, get a very harsh reading. Not only are Panem's paper pushers aesthetically and culturally bankrupt, the book makes clear, they consider themselves far superior to people from the nation's 12 districts.[…] 

4. Lazy, capricious and warmongering. And it's the last third of those that is most accentuated in the Hunger Games. In the modern libertarian movement, the answer to war is to stop "policing the world."

Libertarian's hold that a force capable of defending the United States should be the mission ofAmerican military spending. Simply put, the goal isn't to find ways to insert oneself into conflict but to protect oneself and fight if attacked. Petaa, Katniss's fellow gladiator from District 12, gives a succinct statement that weds a libertarian instinct about violence to his desire to subvert the entire violent system.

"No, when the time comes, I'm sure I'll kill just like everybody else," he says. "I can't go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to… to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games."

It's not just the CSM. 

Several of Lew Rockwell's writers were all in a tizzy about the meaning behind the movie and books (as well as their appeal to teenagers being nothing but a positive sign; a bookend, if you will, to Ron Paul's success with the kids). Southern Avenger Jack Hunter dubbed it "a libertarian movie." A very alarmed writer for Naturalnews.com is sure the oppressive government portrayed is on its way. Other writers have said it's vaguely survivalist or a " Junior Tea Party training manual." Sam Staley over at the Independent Institute thinks "Katniss Everdeen is is almost Randian in her individualistic quest for liberty."

Intriguing, but let us turn to the excellent law blog Volokh Conspiracy where Ilya Somin gets to the heart of the problem with these hopeful analysis of the books. So many of the critiques of the stories' fictional society are usable for leftists who claim that fuzzy, good government is the answer to such bad government! (And indeed, the author's politics seem pretty unknown):

Collins does indeed convey a very skeptical view of government. Not only the Capitol but even the government promoted by its opponents turns out to be tyrannical, which suggests that the flaws of government are institutional and not merely the result of the wrong leaders being in power…. The "sybarite class" of the Capitol and their oppression of the twelve districts can be seen as a classic leftist parable of the oppression of the poor by the rich. The game show-like nature of the Hunger Games can be interpreted as an indictment of commercialism. And perhaps the true way forward for Panem is a government that cracks down on commercialism, redistributes wealth to the poor, and gives everyone free food and health care.

Quite. And speaking as someone who literally read the first book this last weekend (it went down easy enough in a few hours. It's entertaining, with some satisfyingly disturbing moments, I would have loved it a decade or so ago), I also reveled in its good, old fashioned railing against the state moments. But I also wondered if the books/movie were any more overtly libertarian than any other dystopian tale. Plenty of left and right folks are quite keen on throwing off shackles and putting on different chains in just their size. Critiquing one government is, to most people, probably not critiquing all governments or the nature of government period.

But then we have to ask, so what if it's not libertarian on purpose? I delight in seeing any strongly anti-government characters or acts portrayed in fiction, from Firefly, to Parks and Recreation, to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. But the most famous skewering of oppressive government, the book that gave us "Orwellian," "doublesthink," "Big Brother," and other words now about as overused as Hitler comparisons, was written by old George "democratic socialist" Orwell. Maybe it doesn't matter the creator's intention if disturbing truths about the nature of the state can be sussed out and inferred from the art. And if that art is as popular as The Hunger Games, so much the better. 

Reason's Peter Suderman and Kurt Loder both reviewed The Hunger Games film

NEXT: Gary Johnson, Likely Libertarian Party Candidate, on Colbert Last Night

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  1. Everyone I know seems to like The Hunger Games. I guess it was creative for Collins to re-package The Running Man for a generation of readers who are too young to have seen it.

    1. While we’re on the topic,

      Katniss“, people. Are you serious?

      1. “Katniss”, people. Are you serious?

        Katniss, AKA Arrowhead, duck potato, arrow leaf, swan potato, wapato, swamp potato and tule potato.

        1. So, she’s a potato?

          1. Dude, they’re hungry.

            1. And for “Peeta Mellark“?

              1. pi?ta [pee-tah, -tuh]
                noun. a round, flat Middle Eastern bread that is often filled with meat, peppers, etc., to make a sandwich.

                1. And he’s a baker.

    2. STOP. WHAT. YOU’RE. DOING!

      I just came up with the perfect interpretation of The Hunger Games.

      It’s a psychological thriller about one young woman’s struggle with anorexia!

      1. Set against the backdrop of the Donner Party.

      2. NOT KIDDING: I saw this movie at the Premium theater. The thin young lady in front of me ate an enormous 4 course meal during the film. And then things got all bulimic.

    3. The Running Man is itself an adaptation of an earlier work by Robert Sheckley, “The Prize of Peril,” published in 1958.

      1. The “dystopian reality TV show” was invented by The Running Man.

        1. Yeah, but “The Puppet Masters” is about aliens controlling humans and so is “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” And they’re both amazing. So people should relax about some things.

          1. Sorry, it’s just the general feeling I get from YA literature.

            It’s not that I think it’s a crime to re-use certain tropes. It’s more that I that I have suspicion that YA authors feel they can rely on these successful tropes because of their audience’s relative unfamiliarity with older literature.

            Stephanie Meyer ripping-off Dark Shadow, for instance.

            1. I just figure, as a former teenage girl and a forever fan of dystopias, if you’re going to be derivative, at least be a mildly clever, bloody, downer dystopia with some vague libertarian themes.

              I know it’s cool to rip on Twilight, but I have read it and it’s fucking awful. And very, very safe compared to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

              1. Why would you read Twilight, Lucy? At a certain point you know it’s garbage…and you stop. When I was a kid, I tried Battlefield Earth. I stopped 20 pages in. Then took it back to the library that same day. On foot.

                1. c’mon, Battlefield Earth was a blast. And if you haven’t read Mission Earth, your education is incomplete.

                  1. If you could get all the way through Battlefield Earth, db, there is something wrong with you. Something very wrong.

                    Now, the movie…that’s amazing trash.

                    1. I never tried to watch the movie. I knew it could never match the majesty of the written work.

              2. I don’t know.

                If To Kill a Mockingbird had ended with Scout waking up to find herself a moon colony in the year 2091, filled with white people, where the notions of “equality”, “fairness”, and “respect” had been outlawed…Wait, that sound fucking awesome.

                1. …Wait, wait, wait…

                  And the moon colony is called Moonbase Mockingbird!

                  1. …And the…get a load of this…The moon by a tyrannical supercomputer called

                    ATTICUS!

              3. Yet another film from before your time, but you really ought to catch Brazil.

                1. We’re talking fiction here. ‘Brazil’ is a documentary.

          2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was about the US being infiltrated by commies.

        2. No, it was invented by Robert Sheckley. Read the story.

          1. I should say, the first point I came across this idea in literature is with the Sheckley story of 1958. I suppose it’s possible someone could have invented the idea of dystopian reality broadcast programs prior to his publication.

          2. Perhaps it is older than that even. There is afterall this large building in Rome that was used to stage life and death combat for the entertainment of the masses.

            Sure the Romans didn’t have broadcast technology but does anyone doubt for even a second that if they did that they would use it to broadcast those games as a way of keeping the peasants in line?

            1. And King Minos asked for human tribute chosen by lottery from Athens as a show of power.

            2. Gene Roddenberry certainly would agree.

        3. I mean as trope, rather than the original idea itself.

          1. It’s an excellent story. You should read it.

            1. Seen the movie.

        4. I presume you haven’t seen A Face in the Crowd?

        5. The first movie I recall seeing with that theme was Death Race 2000. In fact I think Hunger Games has more similarity to Death Race than The Running Man. The world in Death Race is much more of a Statist Dystopia, Running Man was more a critique of entertainment culture.

        6. The “dystopian reality TV show” was invented by The Running Man.

          I would have to check dates, but Im pretty sure that Niven’s Drako Tavern short story “War Games” predates it.

  2. Okay, stop. Let’s stop trying to draft artworks into our little ideological camps, please.

    Are there libertarian themes to be inferred in the Hunger Games books? Undoubtedly. But there are also complexities and contradictions to those themes, not to mention at least as many different readings as there are readers.

  3. Reading politics into your entertainment is a good way to ruin your entertainment.

    Besides, the ultimate libertarian movie is Young Guns II. I’m embarrassed by any of you who didn’t know that.

    1. Oh that Emilio Sheen is such a good actor!

      1. It’s like he’s a warlock or something!

      2. Ah, but Repo Man, now that’s straight up libertarianism with racism tags set to enable.

        Don’t get me started on Men at Work, Van Jones would get a confirmation bias hard on for days.

        1. If Emilio’s in it, it’s probably libertarian. I mean, Maximum Overdrive? The Mighty Ducks? You don’t get much more libertarian than those.

          1. I thought it was Alan Ruck that made a movie libertarian. That would also explain why he’s gotten so little work since Ferris Bueller.

            1. You would think that. Always reaching the wrong conclusion. You probably think Another Stakeout isn’t about the pointlessness of modern existence.

            2. No no no. It’s Alan Rickman. Die Hard, Galaxy Quest if those aren’t libertarian, I’m turning in my decoder ring to go gambol about hill and plain.

    2. Let me spoon feed you some strained facts.

      Armageddon. It’s basically a propaganda piece for Big Oil. You don’t get more libertarian. And recognizing the political bent doesn’t alter your enjoyment level of that film one single iota.

      1. Not to mention, Bruce Willis has the BEST hair in Hollywood!

      2. God damn it, you’re retarded. Armageddon is a anarcho-socialist parable on how we cannot own anything, even the earth, unless we collectively own it.

        I thought I’d made this clear to you before.

      3. God damn it, you’re retarded. Armageddon is a anarcho-socialist parable on how we cannot own anything, even the earth, unless we collectively own it.

        I thought I’d made this clear to you before.

      4. God damn it, you’re retarded. Armageddon is a anarcho-socialist parable on how we cannot own anything, even the earth, unless we collectively own it.

        I thought I’d made this clear to you before.

        1. Said thrice for emphasis. Jerk.

        2. This is like ten times funnier as a triple post. Well done, squirrels.

          1. Epi’s work is always funnier when reinterpreted by the squirrels.

            That really should be an iron law.

            1. No, no. Laws related to internet posting are named after the poster who proposed them (e.g., Joe’z Law, RC’z Law).

              We can call it imprudent’z law, if you like.

        3. Man you really have a deep seated hatred of Michael Bay.

    3. And here I was, thinking that the most libertarian movie of all time was Leprechaun: In The Hood.

      Hates on ethnics and the poors, has a protagonist who’s only goal is to keep the enormous sums of money he already has — what’s not to like, people?

  4. The Hunger Games struck me as having more overt libertarian themes than overt leftist/statist themes. The examples Forest Ruler cites seem a big stretch to me. Maybe I’m just inclined to agree with examples that fit my worldview :-/

    1. The climax of the series is pretty anarcho-libertarian.

      ***Spoiler Alert****

      She kills the leader of the successful revolution that overthrows Snow & the Capital because that leader is becoming as corrupt as Snow.

      1. Damn yoooooooooooou.

        1. There are two other shockers at the end of book 3 so it’s still worth reading.

          1. Shockers, really? I didn’t think they would publish something like that in a YA novel. Kids these days.

            1. You haven’t read much YA fiction recently. Some of the better fiction coming out these days is YA. Lots of schlock as well, but that is expected from any popular genres.

        2. Thank you for the Firefly reference, Lucy. I’ll be sure to wear my “What Would Malcolm Reynolds Do?” t-shirt tomorrow in your honor.

          1. He would buy a crappy/amazing ship and flee!

            1. “Remember, If anything happens to me, or you don’t hear from me within the hour, you take this ship, and you come rescue me.”

              1. Stop making me miss Firefly!

                1. “You know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with ’til you understand who’s in ruttin’ command here!”

              2. And risk my ship?

                1. “This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then – explode.”

            2. He would buy a crappy/amazing ship and flee!

              I have a 27 foot trimaran sailboat. Sorry, no spaceflight capability. Nor will it hold a crew of nine, though I do have a cute mechanic!

              1. Nice boat. Got pics of the mechanic?

              2. I’m not really a boat person, but if I were going to buy a good sized ocean going boat, it’d sure as shit be a trimaran.

                1. so would kevin kostner

            3. “I aim to misbehave.”

          2. Shiny!

      2. …becoming…???

        she’s pretty much a split personality by the end of the series. Though, to be sure, Collins really sticks it to Katniss.

  5. Never mind movies; why aren’t people here chatting up the GOP presidential primary results the way they were a month ago?

    1. Jennifer Lawrence’s titties are a hot topic nowadays.

  6. It’s forbidden for the people of Katniss’s district to venture out into the woods to hunt, fish, or gather plants.

    An anti-gamboling ordinance?

    1. Hooray for the gambol lockdown!

      1. +20

  7. Is the Hunger Games Libertarian?

    No. It’s a repackaging of Battle Royale liberally dashed with the generic best selling menstrual aid of two boys fighting over a tough, independent girl who can do it all on her own and doesn’t need a man, but can have whichever one she wants.

    I can see the Rockwell-ites trying to shoehorn their ideology, but I’m slightly disappointed in Volokh for the same.

    1. Volokh’s point was your point.

      I remember when Lew’s camp claimed Harry Potter for one of their own. Not only do I not want Potter novels in my camp, but the little I have been exposed seem nothing like libertarianism in the slightest. I would not be surprised if an Obey Your Masters For They Have Knowledge Beyond Your Petty Understanding and Fate Chose You, Not You It, You Selfish Twerp themes prevailed.

      1. Harry Potter is definitely mixed, but the constant theme of disobeying the rules when you have something you gotta do can be libertarianish. And the 5th book gets very authoritarianism is bad, the press is meek, etc. So yeah, some anti-authoritarianism.

        The statists can have Twilight, though.

        1. Well clearly, Twilight is syndicalist trash.

        2. More power to Stephenie Meyers for coming up with such a market winning formula. Vampire and werewolf fighting over an average plain Jane teen age girl. Chang! Chang!

      2. Fate Chose You, Not You It

        Actually, it turns out that by believing in fate, Voldemort accidentally brought it to pass. So it’s a “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice” kinda thing.

    2. RTB: the boys don’t fight over her, and while she’s tough because she had to learn to hunt to survive, she’s not particularly independent. She actually allows herself to be used as a pawn throughout the entire book series and the only truly independent decision she makes is killing the revolutionary leader. At the end, by her own admission, she’s bat shit crazy, an isolationist, and is just going along for the rest of her life with what she’s told to do.

      Nonetheless, ideology makes bad art. Just enjoy the stories (or don’t) and don’t think everything has to have some greater meaning.

  8. Well The Prisoner is quite pass?. And no one truly resolved the political stance of that enterprise.

    1. It was all going pretty well, I thought, until that last episode.

      1. Like most things in life (“The Twilight Zone” until a few years ago, a million others) I have only seen “The Simpsons” parody.

        1. Lucy, what would you say your favorite episode of Manimal was? Mine was definitely the one with the wolf girl.

          1. I can’t stop staring at that photo.

            Manimal. Manimal. Is this what the ’80s were like?

            Could he turn into animals that weren’t mammals?

            1. You bet he could!

              Yes, this is what the 80s were like. It was a crazy, shapeshifting time with big hair.

              1. Sorry I (mostly) missed that. But I’ll always have this:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq1tpCkAecI

              2. The show centers on the character Dr Jonathan Chase (Simon MacCorkindale), a shape-shifting man who possessed the ability to turn himself into any animal he chose. He used this ability to help the police solve crimes.

                Whoever wrote that summary is a comic genius.

                1. From the wikipedia page:
                  Manimal was a part of NBC’s 1983 fall line-up which also featured eight other series that were cancelled before their first seasons ended (including Jennifer Slept Here, Bay City Blues, and We Got it Made).

                  I had a license, a ’74 Ford Maverick, and gas was dirt cheap back then. There is absolutely no excuse that I remember all four of those shows.

                  1. Wait. False alarm. ’83. Didn’t get my license to ’84. That explains it.

                  2. Ah the 80’s College, Grad School. No television. My TV knowledge skipped the decade. Aside from the occasional MTV. And General Hospital which I watched for a year bcse I had a hole in my class schedule and there was a room full of co-eds that gathered there every day.

              3. And headbands, leg warmers and spandex.

                The good old days!

              4. Hell, Manimal was still better than reality shows.

          2. Epi you majestic miscreant – only you could connect Manimal to a thread started on The Prisoner. I can’t decide I want to fuck you or kill you.

            1. Why not both?

              1. Okay, so which first?

                1. I don’t make a rule of overthinking one-night stands… just let it flow naturally, y’know?

                  1. Naturally I am repulsed at the thought of any contact with Epi. Thanks, you’ve returned me to my senses.

                2. I’m not sure. Do you like them just lying there, or moving a lot?

                  1. With you would I notice the difference?

                    1. Depends on how much I like you.

          3. Still one of the best intros ever.

        2. You should check it out Lucy. I bet you’ll develop a crush on Patrick McGoohan.

          1. Rod Serling has my heart. He is proof that ladies care way too much about height.

            1. “do you like… muscle?”

            2. McGoohan brooded every bit as well as Serling – with an English accent and no cigarettes.

      2. I am not a number! Unless it’s number one **ooh spoiler alert**

  9. When you play the games of hunger, you eat or your stomach growls.

    1. No it’s: “… you win, or you wash the dishes.”
      http://www.innatthecrossroads.com/

  10. I read the whole trilogy and watched the movie (I wanted to see what the wife was all atwitter about and got sucked in – two bowls of pot and a few beers later I read all three books in about 4 hours.)
    There is no profundity in The Hunger Games. It isn’t a cheap knockoff of just one work like Battle Royale but an amalgamation of a bunch of the most successful sci-fi books of the past 50 years. I found myself wanting at the end because there were so many things that Collins could have done with it all but gave up on. Even the whole premise of the 12 districts + capitol seemed interesting, but poorly hashed out. So much is glossed over that it got disappointing. I realize it is YA fiction, but I still felt cheated out of 6-8 hours of my life that was devoted to either reading or watching this dreck.

    At least Harry Potter evolved over the years even if mostly superficial and when Sorcerer’s Stone was released it was originally shelved with younger stuff like The Phantom Toll Booth and Judy Blume’s stuff, which were at the time separate from the Young Adult stuff.

    1. The thing I’ve liked most about the Harry Potter films (having not read the books) is watching some fine actors doing the craft proud. The story is something that has only been done a thousand times before (and very recognizable if you’ve read any Joseph Campbell).

  11. Is The Hunger Games Libertarian?

    I haven’t read the books or seen the movie, but my impression is that The Hunger Games is whatever political fantasy the individual reader/viewer cares to masturbate to.

    1. I saw it last weekend. It certainly fits into a Libertarian good guys versus oppressive Statist bad guys template. Everything about the “Peacekeepers” and the capital city civilians made me want to attack them.

      1. Like others say, I think the movie could as easily fit leftist politics in many respects. That said, and only having seen the movie, it struck me as an excellent study in how ordinary people deal with an intolerable situation. Note, for example, that the only “tributes” who sought out their opponents to kill them were those who had trained and volunteered for the games. All the others fought only in self-defense or – in the one case – for revenge. This seems to be the rule rather than the exception for the vast majority of people, even when put into an impossible situation.

        Also note near the beginning of the film the self-serving history told by those in power, how the districts had to be punished because they had rejected the rulers’ love and tried to leave. Sounds like an abuser to me – and ain’t that what government is all about? Where do I file the restraining order?

        All that said, the teenage girls are reading it for the love triangle, not for the politics. But the movie was quite well done – much better than I expected.

      2. If you read the book, you’d realize most of the peacekeepers were part of the system, but not on top of it.

        The problem is Collins didn’t have the wherewithall or desire to complete the picture of the society, so you’re left with a puzzle with like 1/3 of the pieces missing. That 1/3 allows others to fill in the blanks.

  12. The third book is more libertarian friendly than the other two, given its rather bleak outlook on force and those who use it (even the rebels are highly criticized). Ends-justify-the-means thinking is given a solid thrashing in that book.

    Even so, I think it’s a left-anarchist series, at best — much is made of the wealth disparity between the Capitol and the districts, and the dialogue and characters seem to have a preference for redistribution of this wealth, rather than a more market-oriented or self-reliant route for society at large.

  13. Is The Hunger Games Libertarian?

    Your mom’s a libertarian.

  14. The only libertarian movie is Singin’ In the Rain, because it’s the only movie where a technological advance born of the unregulated workings of a free market is treated as a positive development that rewards the good characters and punishes the bad characters.

    1. I thought that was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

      *ducks*

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      2. HAHAHA

        (Is that better spam filter?)

    2. Yeah, but like most utopian dreams it’s fiction.

    3. Your ideas intrigue me. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      1. I thought this was his newsletter.

    4. Iron man?

  15. The Hunger Games was complete garbage and I’m seriously pissed off at all of you fucking assholes that said it was good. You owe me 10 bucks and 2.5 hours of my goddamn life back.

    The set design, costume design, casting, and acting was terrible. While some movies are like a feast for the senses The Hunger Games is like 2 homeless people with urinary tract infections pissing in your eyes for the length of the movie. Could they have chosen a more unattractive female lead?

    Cinematography: Garbage. Unless you like a movie shot entirely with closeups. The few shots that ARENT closeups are shakey-cam idiocy. Hell, half of the closeups are shaky-cammed. What the fucking fuck, just shoot the goddamn scene and let me watch it! Even worse, the entire thing is put together with jump cuts every 3 seconds because none of the actors has enough talent to attempt to act for more than 2 of those seconds.

    1. Special effects were almost equal to a Syfy (ugh that fucking name change) made-for-TV movie. I have no idea what the budget was, but if they spent more than 1 mil making this movie they got ripped off. I don’t give a fuck how much money it made, everything technical was complete crap.

      The other obnoxious shit was how much the movie pandered to the Twilight crowd. The entire first half of the movie absolutely nothing happens aside from playing up every single female power fantasy. One scene they spent seriously 30 seconds in a shot of this chick twirling around in her dress while an entire stadium full of people oohed and aahed. 30 fucking seconds. Of dress swirling. Jesus fuck. And then the love triangle bullshit where two dudes are fighting over this frumpy, mush-faced amazon of a woman. Give me a break.

      Fuck The Hunger Games.

      1. Called it.

      2. HA! Hope you’re feeling better.

    2. God, just thinking of that movie pisses me off. Like in the beginning where she’s shooting a deer and this guy comes out like “LOL WAT R U DOING LOL” and scares it off and THE VERY NEXT FUCKING SCENE they are talking about how greatful they are to share a shitty piece of bread together because they have no fucking food.

      WHAT THE FUCK.

      1. Tell us how you really feel.

        1. All tapped out at the moment, give me another hour.

          1. Quality rant, my man. Quality rant. And crushed any slight thoughts I had of going to see it at The Big Picture because it’s close after hearing people say it was good.

            1. Enjoy martini olives that are stuffed with real blue cheese and fresh popped popcorn served in Champagne buckets with white cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. Each location offers stadium-style seating; Seattle features plush rocker seats and Redmond features Tempur-Pedic foam theatre seats.

              Damn, that actually sounds pretty good, better make sure you bring your monocle. The ticket prices are surprisingly reasonable!

      2. Teen movie based on a teen book targeted to be consumed by teens..

        It is better then Twilight by a mile…to expect anything more then that is madness.

    3. “none of the actors has enough talent to attempt to act for more than 2 of those seconds.”

      I totally disagree. Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci are two of the better actors in the US today, and Jennifer Lawrence is better than this steaming pile.

    4. What about the color palette? Is this another of those films that’s mostly browns and blues?

      Give my dye-imbibition Technicolor any day.

  16. Hunger Games, Atlas Shrugged … libertarians are quickly building a resume of completely horrible dreck as “our” movies. Pathetic.

    1. Movie are passe, videos of game walkthroughs are the one true artform now.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RysuXg-vH38

      1. videos of game walkthroughs are the one true artform now.

        +1 for truth.

        I think we might be approaching an honest to goodness generation gap here. The likes of Which have not been seen since 1968.

        Of course by the simple fact that games are consumed at home and discussed outside of MSM news and culture I am thinking the older generation will not even know it happened before they are dead.

        The closest they ever come to realizing it is when there is some idiotic discussion about how texting is ruining the English language….little does anyone over 30 realize it that a whole generation is subverting the very language to their own ends.

        I don’t mean to make it sound sinister…only to point out how blind whole segments of our culture and society are to the existence of the other.

        If you were over 40 in 1968 you knew who the Rolling Stones were….how many people over 40 today know who Notch is?

    2. Have you seen Hunger Games? I haven’t, but it’s getting pretty good reviews and lots of people paid and will pay money to see it.

  17. I’m surprised Lew Rockwell’s cadre likes this movie. There was nothing remotely racist about it.

    1. Triumph over the cosmopolitan city dandies.

    2. When did you start supporting Affirmative Action? You don’t? Well, good with being differentiated from Lew Rockwell as far as the political centrist like Van Jones and Soledad O’Brien are concerned.

      1. Well, good luck with being differentiated

      2. To answer your question, shortly after I stopped beating my wife.

        1. I wish there was a like button.

    3. The “black” district rioted when one of its kids gets killed in the games….

  18. People in their 20s read a high school level, highly derivative dystopian novel because a movie is made of it.

    You can’t explain that.

    1. My explanation: there is a whole class of people who only read books that everyone else has read. These people are not good readers. Therefore the series that enjoy this kind of success are those written for children.

      1. Close, but let me FIFY.

        There is a whole class of people who only BUY books THEY THINK everyone else has read, BUT EVERYONE ELSE HASN’T READ THEM, THEY’VE JUST BOUGHT THESE SAME BOOKS TOO.

        Or at least this has been my experience. If you actually attempt to discuss with these people parts of the books that weren’t discussed in the popular culture or in the movies, they’ll usually look at you dumbfounded for about 15 seconds then confess that they didn’t actually read the books.

      2. there is a whole class of people who only read books that everyone else has read.

        I have never read a book that no one has ever read…

        Thank you for pointing out how I am failed reader.

  19. Haven’t read the books, don’t care to see the film.
    I’ve also never seen “Titanic”
    so sue me.

    1. At least go to Mr Skin and get the clips of Winset nude. You wont regret it. Don’t overlook her nudes in that movie where she played a Nazi boy rapist. Not as lush, shot in a very sterile environment, but well detailed, and her glute muscle tone. . . The cheap thrills that sustain one’s existence!

      1. Woah, when did MrSkin update the site? It’s got like ratings, recommendations, and some crazy ass filters on it now. Last time I was there it was like something from the 90s. Actually, the last time I visited it might have been the 90s.

  20. I’ve only seen the movie, but the only thing missing from the scene where President Snow trims flowers in his garden is his libertarian-issue tophat and monocle. Which would not have looked out of place given Capitol fashions.

  21. If the movie isn’t libertarian enough to infuriate people like Jonah Goldberg or Rachel Maddow, then it’s not libertarian enough to matter.

  22. Pretty much all the movies of Peter Weir are libertarian: from Picnic at Hanging Rock, to Gallipoli, to Dead Poets Society. Master and Commander was pretty much a paeon to Edmund Burke.

  23. Steve Sailer reviewed Hunger Games and wrote this:

    A major problem with at least the movie version of The Hunger Games is the almost complete lack of discussion of tactics. Supposedly, this fight to the death competition has been broadcast to universal audiences on TV for 74 years, but almost nobody seems to have developed any strategies for playing despite all their watching.

    So, according to Sailer, it is Libertarian.

    1. Maybe they were worried that it would sound too on-the-nose if they included stuff about alliances and such?

      Unless they do include that. I haven’t read it, nor have I seen the movie.

    2. Well the book makes it clear that every Hunger Games is played in a different arena. Some jungle-y, some watery, etc etc so there is not one way to win. And as the books make clear strategies do emerge among players and some provinces train their kids to compete so when the time comes they are ready. (Read the books, thought they were great as far as YA goes, have not seen the movie)

    3. Keep in mind most of the districts are struggling to survive and the hunger games are just a nightmare they hope to escape from. The wealthy districts do strategize as is evidenced. The poor districts just hope its not THEIR children that go.

  24. Twelve Districts = the Federal Reserve system

    Is that too-too obvious to mention?

    1. Yes, because not everyone is obsessed with what you are obsessed with.

      There were 12 apostles, too. Maybe it’s about Jesus.

      1. You seem to miss the point, sophomore.

        Not the twelve districts – the twelve districts. Look it up.

        It seems like an obvious joke by the author, which I did not see mentioned here. You probably would be surprised that the Wizard of Oz is a parable with references to monetary policy, the Free Silver debate and the gold standard.

        http://www.federalreserve.gov/otherfrb.htm

    2. Actually there are 13 districts but one (not actually named Judas) rose up against the central authority and was nuked…..

      1. That one represents Ron Paul.The nuke represents the Mainstream Media.

      2. 13 original colonies.

        I hope it was Massachusetts that got nuked.

  25. The author said it is anti-war, never mentions libertarian.

    Not that there aren’t libertarian themes, but all dystopian novels will have libertarian themes even if they are not advocating for libertarian societies and governments.

    See Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut.

    1. Well, you could argue that’s because libertarianism is the one moral political philosophy, so any plausible dystopia will be built on elements that contradict libertarianism.

  26. But the most famous skewering of oppressive government, the book that gave us “Orwellian,” “doublespeak,” “Big Brother” and other words now about as overused as Hitler comparisons, was written by old George “democratic socialist” Orwell.

    I wish I could have had the chance to talk to Orwell about this, because on some level I don’t get that.

    I can understand that Orwell was a socialist when he sat down to write 1984. But by the end?

    I mean, the book-within-a-book contains a dead spot-on accurate critique of “oligarchical collectivism”. I don’t see how you can sit there and type the words to Goldstein’s book and still be a socialist. Maybe you can tell yourself, “Well, my socialism would be all ponies and unicorns!” but Goldstein’s book sure sounds like it was written by someone who knew it couldn’t have turned out any other way.

    1. It was a time of extremes. We have a rule about mentioning Nazis meaning that you’ve gone to an extreme and lost the thread, but there wasn’t anything like that in Orwell’s time. When Orwell denounced people as Nazis, fascists and Stalinists, that’s what they really were.

      He was anti-totalitarian. That’s the consistency. I wish he hadn’t been a socialist, too, but he saw socialism as the appropriate and necessary reaction and counterbalance to Stalin and fascism.

      If I had been living in his time, and the only movement that was really fighting against totalitarianism, be it Stalinist or Nazi, was socialist, I’d probably have been tempted to join the socialists for pragmatic reasons, too.

      Orwell’s socialism was also a reaction to the class society he was raised in. I think the idea of a classless society is especially appealing to people who grew up in the UK. When no matter how hard people work, they have a hard time rising above their class, the capitalist message can ring pretty hollow.

      Incidentally, I think that’s also why our message sometimes rings hollow with minorities in this country. We should emphasize capitalism’s role in breaking social stigmas down more than we do.

      1. Orwell’s socialism was also a reaction to the class society he was raised in.

        I think this has a lot to do with it. The US was founded in a virtually classless society…at least in terms of inherited status. One could choose their church, one could choose to own their land, one could choose who they socialized with. Socialism I imagine looks far more appealing under a classed regime.

    2. Political fiction seems to be much better when the author has just a general tendency, rather than total confidence in some precise model. Orwell was hardly more than a broken down left leaning cynic by the time he wrote 1984, and that cynicism is key to the way the book works.

      Or to put in another way: imagine how cool Atlas Shrugged could have been if Rand wrote it before she became certain of her views. It would have been a spooky thriller, with sharp villains pitted against confused, struggling protagonists. The reader would have been able to reach conclusions on his own, without having them spelled out, etc.

      Let’s face it: if Katniss had uttered the words “natural rights” or “individual choice” in the script for this film, we would have been excited for about five minutes, then quickly disappointed, and finally embarrassed. This thread would be called “Does Hunger Games Give Liberty a Bad Name?”

    3. Orwell seems to have had a few “Oh, shit!” realizations about politics towards the end of his life driven by his observations of Soviet communism.

    4. Ian M Banks wrote “Consider Phlebas”.

      And with it the character of Horza.

      It is a mystery.
      British socialist scifi writers have an inexplicable ability to empathize with the the other side.

  27. Dude is making no sense at all man,I just dont get it.

    http://www.Surf-Tools.tk

  28. Here is the thing. It is actually kind of hard to have a YA novel and not have it come of sounding at least vaguely libertarian because any YA novel that did not have the Youth as struggling against the established power structure wouldn’t appeal to the target audience.

    That said I’ve not seen the movie and only read the first book in the series so far and while it isnt really original (really, what at this point in history is) it is well told with solid multi dimensional characters who generally behave in believable ways given the circumstances they find themselves in.

    1. Right on there. There is nothing more young adult than wanting authority figures to leave you alone, and there is nothing more young adult than wanting authority figures to take care of all your needs.

      Hey! Maybe the series, like its deeply confused target audience, is both libertarian and socialist.

      1. Cognitive Dissonance is so easy for the young.

  29. The thing I don’t like about the CSM’s analysis is that they think every libertarian is some kind of goddamn survivalist who wants to go it alone. The thing is – libertarians of all people are most cognizant of the fact that we need each other, and that voluntary actions are the best way to accomplish success.

  30. written by old George “democratic national socialist” Orwell.

    Corrected.

  31. Anyone else reminded of The Long Walk?

  32. You’re analysis is close but not right on, in my opinion. The political philosophy Collins is nodding to, as an alternative to an oppressive totalitarian state, is anarchism (as in anarcho-syndicalism/communism), not libertarian-capitalism. The constant references to bread may be referencing Kropotkin’s Conquest of Bread. I could support this further, but I have a paper to write. Seriously though, you libbys are so close; just loose the emphasis on property and individualism and replace it with cooperation (lots of that in the books) and you’ll be right where you need to be.

  33. Your analysis is close but not right on, in my opinion. The political philosophy Collins is nodding to, as an alternative to an oppressive totalitarian state, is anarchism (as in anarcho-syndicalism/communism), not libertarian-capitalism. The constant references to bread may be referencing Kropotkin’s Conquest of Bread. I could support this further, but I have a paper to write. Seriously though, you libbys are so close; just lose the emphasis on property and individualism and replace it with cooperation (lots of that in the books) and you’ll be right where you need to be.

  34. I don’t think so, although the demands of many users and players speaks for themselves, and only one thing is I know, this is not just like physics games that we mostly play.

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