"in terms of helping Christian young people set their minds and hearts on that which is noble and right, we can’t even give it one star. We would have to assign, in this last category, one burnt out asteroid."

4515 reads

There are 13 Comments

Dan Burrell's picture

The link on this is not working. I'd love to be able to read the whole article.

Thanks.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

ChrisC's picture

i have to wonder if douglas wilson even understands the dystopian genre.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

This is why it is important for parents to read as much of what their kids are reading as possible. Not as a censor necessarily, but because books like this- full of plot devices and improbably situations- provide an excellent jumping off place for serious discussions about real life dilemmas.

I agree with Chris that the point of dystopian fiction is to set up a 'nightmare' world. Think of Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Ender's Game, The Road, Dune, I Am Legend... Watership Down for cryin' in a bucket. Bunny rabbits?

The feeling I'm left with after reading dystopian fiction is "There but for the grace of God..."

Mike Harding's picture

Wilson's point is that the author and movie maker set up a relative moral scenario where children must murder other children in order for socieity to survive. This is hardly innocent entertainment and it is destructive of Christian values which still say, "Thou shalt not murder". Also, the fact that children are murdering other children could easily qualify as gratutious violence which might encourage violence among some teens and desensitize other children to the horrors of violence. It seems like a big waste of time and energy to me. A professional secular movie critic commented today on WJR, "I thought the film was very dark . . . very, very disturbing on many levels . . . I regret that I took my son to see the movie."

Pastor Mike Harding

ChrisC's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
Wilson's point is that the author and movie maker set up a relative moral scenario where children must murder other children in order for society to survive.
that conclusion is to fail to understand the dystopian genre. the point of hunger games is to criticize the exploitative nature of reality tv by showing an extreme final oppressive state and to give hope by showing that the heroine does her best to retain as much humanity, loyalty and love as possible.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

is a caption under a picture of me in my high school yearbook, and has been my motto ever since. It is inevitable and almost of necessity that a movie have a different presentation, and therefore a potentially different message, than the book. Books almost always make us think, while movies usually do not. We have to recognize that visual and printed media cannot be judged by the same standards. There are plenty of books that I'll read, but I would never watch a movie based on them because I know how certain story lines or scenes would be presented on the screen.

Here are some different versions of what The Hunger Games movie 'means'- here is the author's take:

Quote:
The Hunger Games is ... commentary on a culture led by political interests and placated by reality TV, suggests a new http://hungergamesmovie.org/13082/author-suzanne-collins-on-the-heavy-me... ABC News profile of author Suzanne Collins-
But “The Hunger Games” is much heavier than most young adult fare, and some people have complained that it is too violent for kids. But Collins, whose father served in Vietnam when she was a little girl, wants young people to think critically about the brutality of war and culture’s desensitization to violence.

“What do you think about choices your government past or present, or other governments around the world make?” Collins said in a video posted on YouTube. “What’s your relationship to reality TV versus your relationship to news? Was there anything that disturbed you because it reflected aspects of your own life, and what can you do about it?”

Quote:
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/hunger-games-finds-conse... ]The Hunger Games’ finds conservative and liberal fans flocking to the movie’s message
An epic centered on a woman defending her family from the excesses of big government and a predatorial pop culture. An anti-war tale in which kids are the victims of an authoritarian government.

Which version of “The Hunger Games” did you see at the multiplex this weekend?


And then Dr. Keith Ablow says:
Quote:
Other than entertaining millions and millions of teenagers and making millions and millions of dollars, the net result of The Hunger Games is likely to be:
1) Females will be further distanced from their traditional feminine characteristics that (sadly, some wrongly insist) suggested they were not being real “girls” if they were extremely physically violent.
2) Young teens and many pre-teens will be awakened to the fact that they are capable of extreme violence, given the right set of circumstances.
3) A few psychologically vulnerable teens—who would have come to no good anyhow—may be inspired to replicate the film’s violence.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/26/psychological-truth-behind-hung...

All dystopian fiction revolves around the no-win scenario, where characters may give in to evil, choose what they believe to be the lesser of two evils, or die for baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. But that's really the point of the genre, as Bro. Chris said. So unless you are James Tiberius Kirk, who famously does NOT believe in the no-win scenario, hence his defeat of the Kobayashi Maru- the Hunger Games books, if not the movie, are worth the time and trouble to explore with the kids. IMHO.

Rob Fall's picture

remembering that HG is the first part of a trilogy.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Mike Harding's picture

Chris,

Perhaps you are right about the book, but I don't think it carries over into the movie. Also, is this the kind of relative moral scenario we want to present to middle-school aged children for whom the book was written? I wish our junior and senior high students had the same interest in reading Pilgrim's Progress. By the way, though movies may be enjoyable and acceptable, God never commands us to "Watch movies!" but he does command us to "Guard our hearts".

Pastor Mike Harding

ChrisC's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
Perhaps you are right about the book, but I don't think it carries over into the movie.
didn't read the book. only watched the movie.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

What exactly constitutes "helping Christian young people set their minds and hearts on that which is noble and right" with regards to media, especially fiction?

Interestingly, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-clawson/hunger-games-allegory-of-chr... a HuffPo review states :

Quote:
It should come as no surprise that in the end Katniss chooses to embrace life-affirming love. She tries the path of rage and violence and it only leaves her burned. She realizes that to survive she has to have ... a life centered around love that nurtures and builds instead of tears down. The "Hunger Games" trilogy is less the story of which boy Katniss will pick, and more about whether she will choose the way of violence and revenge or the way of love and life.

There certainly are a variety of perspectives on the books/movie.

Charlie's picture

I think we have to face the fact that very conservative Christians tend to see the worst in any form of entertainment media. There is the distrust of the media industry to begin with. Then, there's a culture of "discernment" that rewards those who diligently exegete the waywardness and wickedness of any item. The culture does not reward those who bring out the positives. Further, pastors are inclined to play it safe. After all, not watching, reading, or participating in something is usually not harmful, but if a pastor actually recommends something, he's going to have to deal with the fallout from those who took a more negative view. It's safer to be viewed as a bit stuffy than "undiscerning."

I have neither watched nor read Hunger Games. What has interested me is the reactions of my friends. I have many friends who are very well-educated and theologically sharp. Those whose interests tend to run toward philosophy and culture in a broad sense have been almost unanimous in affirming and recommending the books. Those who focus on apologetics have been much more negative. I think the explanation for this is that my apologist friends, particularly of the presuppositional variety, naturally assume an adversarial stance toward culture, whereas my more broadly philosophical friends are used to reading and benefiting from non-Christian sources. Thus, reviews tend to tell us as much about the reviewer as about the thing reviewed.

That said, many have expressed concerns about age appropriateness of the content, but that is an accidental rather than essential feature of the work.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

M. Osborne's picture

Charlie wrote:
Those who focus on apologetics have been much more negative. I think the explanation for this is that my apologist friends, particularly of the presuppositional variety, naturally assume an adversarial stance toward culture, whereas my more broadly philosophical friends are used to reading and benefiting from non-Christian sources. Thus, reviews tend to tell us as much about the reviewer as about the thing reviewed.

Fascinating. I'm into apologetics of the presuppositionalist school, and I think dystopian literature is a great point of contact with unbelievers, because it takes for granted that something is wrong with the world, and invites to answer, "What's wrong with the world?" Neil Postman got me interested in this when he asserted that Huxley had a more accurate answer (Brave New World) than Orwell (1984). (I'm inclined to agree with Postman.)

Also, dystopias demand that we think about objective standards for judgment, because one person's vision of utopia may be another's dystopia. Allow me to cross reference any threads on Obamacare.

I'm in the hold queue to get The Hunger Games on audiobook from the library.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA