The idea of people fighting each other to the death for the sport of it and for the amusement of others is nothing new, in fact or fiction. In films, some of my favorite movies with this theme are Spartacus, the Running Man (so bad it’s good), and, of course… Battle Royale.
To diverge from the path a bit, allow me to say this: every person who has ever done a blog, a zine, been in a band, or, really, done anything creative has their target audience in mind. They have a type of person that they are writing for, and that they imagine are the types of person who would read it/listen to it. Sometimes you may even have a specific person in mind when you write something.
Today, I am confounded.
My target audience is not people who are exactly like me (never has been), but they are close. They are the “geeks”. A word that, like “emo”, completely lost all its meaning once it was latched onto by the public and everyone else who never really understood the culture anyway… other than as a way to make some serious moolah.
The geeks that I like to imagine read this blog are smart, witty, perhaps a bit socially inept, out of shape (of course), are into some fairly eccentric stuff (obscure Muppet movies, extinct Disney World rides, stuff like that), but most of all…. they are literate. And by literate, I mean they read. And by read, I mean they read things that are above a middle-school level and would never, ever, be branded with that dreaded acronym: YAF.
Young Adult Fiction.
I enjoy candy as much as the next guy. Occasionally, I will purchase a large bag of candy and eat it (which is why I am not fit for dragon*con). Usually, some sort of gummies (gummy lifesavers, jolly ranchers, and the starburst ones with shit in the middle are the best, imo).
But for my nourishment, and to help me grow up big and strong, I eat vegetables, meat, and drink water and milk. Well, mostly I eat pizza and drink beer, but you get the idea. A man cannot live on candy alone.
To really beat the dead horse: Young Adult Fiction is for Young Adults, but it’s fine occasionally as a fun supplement. The problem comes in when people discover that they prefer candy to meat and potatoes. It is easy to eat, cheap, tastes great, and most of all: it’s fun.
Unfortunately, too much candy makes the belly (and mind) mushy and worthless.
Where am I going with all this?
I have made my disdain for Harry Potter evident in the past, along with my own weakness for hype machines. So I know how you feel, my fellow geek. Don’t get me wrong. I have fallen prey to many a hype machine.
But when I see intelligent people go from Harry Potter, to Twilight, to the Hunger Games, it makes me want to barf. And when these crazy blockbuster movies are clearly marketed heavily towards my fellow geeks, I get mad, because I feel like innocent geeks are being exploited all over the world by greedy, fake, Hollywood money machines.
Make no mistake about it, geek: they know you. They know what you like, and they will feed it to you in the most easily-digestible form you could ever have imagined. And before you know it, you will be addicted to whatever the next “thing” is: whether it’s pussy vampires or wizarding tweens. You won’t even know it, but the hook will be in your mouth and you are being reeled in.
Here’s the thing: the Hunger Games is a dumbed-down, easily-palatable, Battle Royale.
What’s worse than that???? You know it is!!!! But yet you still eat it up.
Sure, humans killing each other for sport and fun is nothing new in movies….
But, a dystopian (a word that gets thrown around way too much these days) society in which the gubment forces teens to battle each other to the death??? That is a direct ripoff and I, for one, refuse to be duped and give my money to a hack writer, and the even more talentless producers who are spoonfeeding my geek brethren this tripe.
The Battle Royale novel, which I admittedly have not read, came out in 1999 (I looked it up, dog). The film, which is awesome and was banned in several countries, came out in 2000.
The Hunger Games novel came out in 2008.
Here’s how we can make some money folks: Take a great idea that is both edgy and original, and write a terrible, dumbed-down version of it and then sell the movie rights.
Voila! We are both rich and popular… but somebody, somewhere, will know that we completely suck and hate us for it. Oh well, ya gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, right?
For me, like the word “emo”, I’m throwing in the towel on the “geek” thing…
The Hunger Games. Really, yall? Seriously?