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The Politics of "The Hunger Games," from Fox News to Salon to Ebert

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik March 23, 2012 at 10:02AM

As I suspected, "The Hunger Games" is becoming hot political fodder for the mediasphere, with outlets on both the right and the left geting on board the politicizing bandwagon and making an issue of the teen-film phemomenon. Is it feminist? Is it anti-government? Is it anti-capitalist? Apparently, it is anything you want it to be. Here's a rundown of some of the political interpretations of the film. And like any good mass-market product, its ideology is, of course, extremely conflicted and all over the map. Remember 'The Matrix"?
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As I suspected, "The Hunger Games" is becoming hot political fodder for the mediasphere, with outlets on both the right and the left geting on board the politicizing bandwagon and making an issue of the teen-film phemomenon. Is it feminist? Is it anti-government? Is it anti-capitalist? Apparently, it is anything you want it to be. Here's a rundown of some of the political interpretations of the film. And like any good mass-market product, its ideology is, of course, extremely conflicted and all over the map. Remember 'The Matrix"?

hunger

Fox News:  "A furious critique of our political system, in which the central government grows rich from the toil of the masses, even as that same political elite finds entertainment in the contrived and manipulated death of its subjects....Ordinary folks are good, government is bad--really bad. There are no evil corporations in this movie; the bad guys are bureaucrats and TV hosts."

Salon: "Katniss is moody, rebellious, deeply committed to protecting her mother and baby sister, and can incidentally shoot a man’s eye out through his windpipe. Right now, millions of nice young ladies all over the world want to be her. This should probably worry Rick Santorum more than it seems to."

The Atlantic: "The Hunger Games offers the populist hero the Occupy movement wasn't able to deliver.... Katniss's awakening isn't sexual. It's political...When she strews flowers over a fallen friend's corpse (a scene that would have been more effective at half the length), she seems, for the first time, alert to the systemic perversity of her situation. She gives a coded salute to viewers, her first act of rebellion. It works: Laborers in the dead tribute's district, most of whom are black, revolt against the Capitol's rule. One protestor is hosed against a wall, an allusion to the Birmingham campaign that may well slip past Katniss's teenage fans. But whether or not they recognize its specific references, The Hunger Games' devotees clearly get the story's urgency, its now-ness."

Roger Ebert: "The old folks in the Capitol are no doubt a right-wing oligarchy. My conservative friends, however, equate the young with the Tea Party and the old with decadent Elitists. “The Hunger Games,” like many parables, will show you exactly what you seek in it."

ThinkProgress.org: "Feeding some 9 billion people by mid-century in the face of a rapidly worsening climate may well be the greatest challenge the human race has ever faced," he wrote. "The Hunger Games makes that challenge a literal and hyper-violent one."

Forbes: “On its face, the book reveals the oppressive cruelty that is big government... While the global political class and their enablers in the media to this day try to explain away droughts and the resulting famines from an 'Act of God' point of view, the simple truth is that economically free countries don’t suffer them.”

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