This week the universe delivered a wake up call through my sister’s recommendation that I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. My sister is a master teacher in a Montessori community in Brooklyn. I respect her opinions on youth literature which we often discuss in light of how she integrates books into her 4th-6th grade curricula. I began reading The Hunger Games a few hours ago and am engrossed in a dystopic world in which its young characters fight for their very existence through a perverse scheme by their government. On the Scholastic website, the author’s bio states “she continues to explore the effects of war and violence on those coming of age.”
That gave me a chill. I have wondered about growing up in a world of intimidation, fear, and violence and what kind of impact that might have on the coming generations.
It is no surprise to me that I would be directed to this story while I am reading John Haidt’s new nonfiction book, The Righteous Mind (2012), which challenges us to step outside of our political framework to examine what is moral and ethical. Serendipity occurs even as the truth becomes increasingly hard to discern when complexity envelops every issue. I typically turn to beacons of light, for me at least. One is Orion Magazine which gives voice to our society’s most creative and perceptive minds, and is not afraid to explore controversial issues even as it strives to inspire community, cooperation, and celebration of all that is good and beautiful in nature and in humankind.
On Orion Magazine’s podcast “Punishing Protest: Patrick Shea and Heidi Boghosian Discuss Law and Civil Disobedience” (February 23, 2012) the speakers explore “What is the justice system for?” This is a very intelligent discussion of the Tim DeChristopher prosecution (Shea was his defense lawyer). These two lawyers describe what citizens in the Occupy movement can expect from our justice system and offer them directions. Shea encourages listeners to strive on even in the milieu of government intimidation of citizen-activists who act to preserve our freedoms – to do the right thing.
So I see in these three current products of our culture – The Hunger Games, The Righteous Mind, and the Orion podcast on civil disobedience – as interrelated discussions rippling through our country, our community, our collective mind.
Have you read The Hunger Games? If so, tell us what you think about the story.
From iris scans to drones, we are in a dramatic period of governmental oppression, a society of haves and have-nots that uses technology to oppress the people and is eerily similar to the world experienced by characters in The Hunger Games.