It’s taken me a while to write this, but I still wanted to add two comments to my previous blog about The Hunger Games, relating to other peoples’ reactions to it, rather than my own. I tell you, people really do make me laugh. The Daily Mail (note: I did not buy this, but it was lying around so I had a little read) had a double page spread about one woman left feeling like a ‘bad mother’ after taking her two daughters to see the film. She claims she did her research but was left appalled, with her children apparently scarred for life. How could you research the content of this film and still be surprised? Even the trailers tell you what's going to happen, in terms of the situation Katniss is going to be in. The woman then said that her younger daughter was so sensitive she had been known to cry when her brother accidentally stood on a ladybird. Surely if this is true, then you really can’t pin the blame on the film, but on the fact your child is an absolute baby. The girl asked at bed time that night whether the atrocity that is the Hunger Games could ever happen in real life, leaving her Mum to try and sooth her fears. She couldn't believe her child had been subjected to something so incredibly horrific. But aren’t we forgetting the whole point here? This is fiction, people! And Suzanne Collins is certainly not the first author to create a terrifying situation for children. Hello Lord of the Flies, The BFG, The Witches, um, Lord Voldemort?
My second grievance is much worse, although linked via the theme of innate stupidity. The character Rue is played in the film by a talented black child actress, who plays the part extremely well. She has since been the subject of various racist ‘twitters’ by people who feel that her presence in the film is disrespectful and misrepresentative of the world of Panem. What is wrong with people? Of course you are free to imagine characters of a book any way you want, but the book does say that Rue had dark skin. And of course it would be absolutely weird and stupid if a future USA was depicted as being totally white anyway. What made me saddest about the comments made was that they came mainly from teenagers. Whilst my vain hope is that they will learn better as they get older, the more realistic truth is that they will take these vile opinions with them into adulthood, most probably passing them on to their own children. I despair, I really do.