The Hunger Games: From the Dystopian to the Great Depression

The Hunger Games has a somewhat  integrated cast that includes African Americans: Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the Hunger Games, sure loves black people. And we love her too. I’m often critical of the relationships between African American and whites, along with stereotypes of African Americans in film, television, and literature. But The Hunger Games got it right. Cinna, an African American man and Katniss’ stylist, becomes the father she lost in the District 12 mines. Rue, the little African American wood elf, initiates an alliance with Katniss in the games-to-the-death. They find a sister in one another. Katniss in particular, embraces Rue much like the little sister Katniss left behind in District 12. There’s no patriarchy here where whites save African Americans. And the African Americans are not stereotyped as mammy’s or thugs. True relationships are established on film and experienced by the audience.

Without the relationships, the Orwellian dystopian themes typical of science fiction would not matter. The foundation of The Hunger Games is George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). He is the great granddaddy of dystopian science fiction in the form of the novel. 1984 is where we get the term Big Brother, the roving eye of technology that is always tracking us in the 21st century. We see much the same in The Hunger Games where even the trees have electronic eyes. And the world in The Hunger Games has gone to hell in a hand-basket, a post-war hand-basket in which the survivors live in a police state. If that isn’t Orwellian, I don’t know what is.

Oh, the first scenes in The Hunger Games are moving pictures that mirror the gritty still photos of rural people taken during the Great Depression. The pain, the seams in the faces of even the young remind me of Dorothea Lang’s “Migrant Mother.” In the film, the camera stops at a worn laced high-top shoe. It lingers on the wind in the trees. The people in District 12, Katniss’ little town, are a worn people, worn by mining. Those scenes, mirroring a Hunger Games Appalachia, are the most memorable in the film.

Katniss leaves home to fight as tribute in The Hunger Games. The trope of youth battling in games is not new going back to ancient Greece. There’s also a modern take which I believe is a nod to “The Most Dangerous Game,”  a short story by Richard Connell. In the story, one man hunts another. Ultimately, the hunted creates intricate traps to capture the hunter. Both the human-hunt and traps are echoed in the Hunger Games. Katniss did something similar turning the game on the elite, her captors and humiliating them.

Taken together, what does the Hunger Games say about contemporary American society?  The Great Recession of the 21st Century first comes to mind. Much like the children living in poverty in the 12 Districts and battling in the games, we are frightened at every turn by unemployment, high gas prices, and a depressed real estate market. The film reflects our national malaise. In addition, our children are consumed by technology and even in a virtual forest, the children in the games are moved around like puppets on strings among the trees and along the creek. As Americans, have we lost our rugged individualism, unquestioning puppets in the day-to-day drudgery of survival?

Hopefully, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the next novels in the trilogy will translate well, meeting the high expectations already met by The Hunger Games, the first in the trilogy.

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2012 State of Diversity and the Environment Blog Carnival

Another Blog Carnival Presented by Rooted in the Earth! Read the original call for blogs.

I am going to keep this simple: my hope is to join with each of you  to meaningfully and fruitfully gather together face-to-face focusing on people of color and the environment in the near future. In 2009, Audrey Peterman did just that with Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors.

Some thoughts on some wonderful work in 2011 and where we are headed in the future including 2012:

~ Andrea Roberts’ Extending our Useful Lives Being Honest About Sustainability and Mortality

~ Rue Mapp’s The Year of Relevancy

~ Dianne Glave’s She Wolf  Transitioning to the New Year of 2012

Go to the blogs to read thoughts, ideas . . . some are transforming thoughts into action.

Do contact me at dianneglave@gmail.com if you would like to add your blog to this carnival.

2012 State of Diversity and the Environment Blog Carnival

Welcome to the third Rooted in the Earth Blog Carnival!

People of color faced many obstacles in 2010 and 2011 including higher rates of unemployment during the Great Recession and increased conservatism concerning diversity/ethnicity in the US. There has also been much to celebrate with an African American president and a growing Latina/o population. I wondered in 2012, the new year, if the same ups and downs are true, when it comes to those working and serving for diversity (people of color) and the environment. Personally, I can count more than twenty people of all ethnicities I can reach out to with expertise concerning people of color and the environment. Five years ago, the ranks were thinner. At the same, time I sense some (justice) fatigue among the ranks.

I am sending a call for blogs responding to a the state of diversity and the environment in 2012. I will include your name, organization, a personal/non-profit description, and blog/website. The blog carnival is broad enough to include stories about nascent environmental movements among and concerning people of color, projects-in-progress that will help to grow the movement, ideas for the future, and more. For those who do not blog, please contact me directly so we can work together to add your perspective to the blog carnival.

Submit your blog to 2012 State of Diversity and the Environment by January 19th. All blogs will be subject to review based on suitability to the topic.

Dianne Glave

Nature Blog Network: More Diversity and Analyzing Traffic!

Storm Clouds in Memphis

I have been linked to the Nature Blog Network for several months now and it is one way of discovering nature blogs and learning about traffic at your own blog.

According to the website the network is “a nexus for the very best nature blogs on the net. If you’re looking for outstanding blogging about birds, bugs, plants, herps, hiking, oceans, ecosystems, or any other natural topic — or if you blog on those topics yourself — this is the place for you!”

As noted, it’s a great way to get to know about other nature blogs. As a novice, I am interested in birdwatching so 10,000 Birds, linked to the network along with many other blogs, appeals to me.

In addition, Nature Blog Network is an analytic that tracks the number of hits to a nature blog linked to the website. For example, on August 4, 2010 Ugly Overload averaged 2549 views per day ranking it as the #4 blog on the network. Click on the orange tab to the right of the rankings on the Top List page and more analytic statistics pop up. From May 11 to June 10 Ugly Overload had 78.272 views at the blog.

The Nature Blog Network is one of many statistical tools that can help a blogger figure out how many people you are reaching. Another options is Google Analytics, which can drive viewers to your site, while providing statistical data on google word searches. And when blogging using WordPress, specific data on your blog are available including your top ranked blogs.

Based on my searches at Nature Blog Network there isn’t much diversity at the site. If you are blogging about nature from any perspective of diversity, then consider linking your site to the network.

Photo by Dianne Glave

Sampling of Diversity and Environment Blogs and Websites

This is an exciting time with many blogs and websites focusing on diversity and the environment.

Here is a sampling of the ones I visit the most with some amazing people behind the sites:

Brown Girl Going Green

Chocolate & Arugula

Eco Soul Wisdom

Jarid Manos (Ghetto Plainsman)

Legacy on the Land

Outdoor Afro

What are some of your favorites? Which blogs and websites do you visit regularly? I’d love to learn more.

Inaugural Blog Carnival: Challenges of Doing Diversity and Environment

Welcome to my Inaugural Blog Carnival focusing on the joys and tribulations of doing diversity and the environment.

As an African American woman, it has been a long lonely difficult journey sharing the stories of African Americans and the environment. It has also been one of my greatest joys. My goal in my inaugural May 2010 blog carnival is for diversity/environmental bloggers to share their successes along with their trials and tribulations. We have been doing the good but difficult work of getting the word out about diversity and the environment. I invite and challenge you to come join with me to connect with people and find support in one another. Some are connected and others are not. For those who are connected, continue with me creating community. For those who are not, please do join in.

Please submit your blog at my Inaugural Blog Carnival: Diversity and Environment Challenges. The submission deadline is Friday, May, 21, 2010. The blog carnival will be posted on Monday, May 24, 2010.

Dianne Glave