Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!
Tonight, I am going to attend the midnight premier of Hunger Games with a few dozen friends and coworkers. Some of them are huge fans of the books. Some of them are guys who just want to see a movie where lots of people die. Some of us have t-shirts painted with Jennifer Lawrence's face. Others are dressing up like Effie - plenty of pink, high heels, funky socks, excessive makeup. A few friends have promised to bring beer and pizza, a kind of pre- Hunger Games party. We have blankets and snacks and a massive stack of movie tickets to sell off in case some of our group doesn't make it.
We've been planning this night for months. But it wasn't until last night that I realized something a little disturbing.
We are the Capitol.
Drowning in privilege, eating and drinking on the eve of a physically and emotionally violent phenomenon... I am a member of District 1.
Now, I know that this book is fiction. I know that we're not literally watching people die while munching popcorn. But I do think it's important to fully grasp the implications of Suzanne Collins' bestselling trilogy.
Panem is a world ruled by a single dictator, who lives in a district that utterly ignores the poverty and suffering of the cities around it. The people in District 1 have so much food that they vomit after each course to "make room." They are more interested in fashion and gossip than the misery of their fellow Panem citizens. And in some ways, it's not their fault; they are encased in a pretty, shiny world that doesn't allow them to see what's happening outside.
America is not District 1...But we could be. And I think that's the point Suzanne Collins was trying to make.
Books awaken us to things in ourselves that we could not have seen otherwise. Today, on the eve of The Hunger Games' release date, be awake.
Understand your privilege. You ate breakfast today. You live in a house. You have access to internet, newspapers, books, DVDs. You are literate. You drink clean water. Water. So many people in this world don't even have that.
Use your privilege. And I don't mean this in a self-gratifying, pompous way; don't throw your privilege at people as if your money and resources can save them. I mean use it. Learn about the world. Write. Read. Travel. Find a cause or a charity that you love and join it, if you can. Be kind. Keep an open mind. Pray.Think.
And lastly, be grateful for your privilege. Don't be ashamed. You are blessed. Accept that fact, savor it, understand it, and respond.
Be a mockingjay.