Thursday, March 29, 2012

Girl Power

Last weekend was an auspicious occasion around my house-the premier of the movie, The Hunger Games. My girls have both devoured all of the books in the trilogy, read and re-read them, wrote reports on them for school, made projects where they designed a book cover for them, and on and on. They've both already seen the movie twice, and went to the premier in costume, as Katniss and Prim, two of the main characters.

Last year, during one of their projects, I picked up the book, and began reading randomly. I wound up reading all three in three days. The story is great, and nearly free of the self-involved super-sappiness of most young-adult genre fiction. I can't go to see the movie in the theater, since I'd be an embarrassment, bawling and heaving and having to stuff torn up napkins in my ears to dampen the sound in order to be able to stand it. I'll wait until it comes out on video and watch when I can bawl and heave in my own living room, and where I can turn down the sound and/or leave the room when it's too much for me. It will save embarrassment, and napkins.

Notwithstanding my aversion to movie theaters, I'm writing about The Hunger Games because in talking to my girls about the movie, it occurred to me that the story is such an apt analogy to our own society, it's scary.

For those who haven't been bitten by the bug yet, the trilogy is set in a dystopian society, where the continent, Panem, is divided into twelve Districts and the seat of government, called the Capitol. Each District specializes in one form of production--agriculture, mining, manufacturing, technology, etc., and the prestige and living conditions are stratified according to their area of expertise. The Capitol consists of the elite, who make nothing, consume a whole lot, and contribute only their tyrannical rule to the society. There used to be thirteen Districts, but one was rubbed out after a rebellion, and of course the threat of similar annihilation keeps the others following obediently the psychopathic ways of the Capitol.

On the premise that there isn't enough food to go around (though the Capitol lives in opulence), the Capitol pits citizen against citizen, requiring that the twelve Districts compete annually for additional rations by sending two children aged 12-18 to compete in the Hunger Games, a sadistically contrived gladiatorial fight to the death, in which only one of the twenty-four child participants emerges alive. Meantime, the carnage is telecast as a "reality show'" even allowing audience participation in the form of gifts of food, weapons, or supplies to the combatants. The rank and file go along with this barbaric spectacle to varying degrees, some reluctantly as supposed victims and others as partisan cheering sections for the butchery.

The young heroine of the story, Katniss Everdeen, volunteers as one of the contestants from her District as a substitute for her younger, tiny and sickly sister, Prim, who was chosen by lottery. Without giving away too much of the plot, I'll say that the crux of the story lies in Katniss' evolution from protective sister to angry warrior to determined disobedient, and in the process, she causes a crack in the monolithic rule of Panem by the elite and terroristic Capitol.

Thinking again on the story surprised me, as it hadn't occurred to me when I first read the books that Panem isn't some futuristic dystopia--it's already here. We have our own Capitol elites, who live in a plenty that most inherited through accident of birth, though they claim that they "earned" their place. We have the Districts--the contrived differences in geography, wealth, education, social class, race, religion and politics--that are used to keep us all fighting each other instead of the real enemy.

Most disturbingly, we also sacrifice our children every day. We sacrifice them for psychic comfort when we ignore children living in poverty in the same cities where some buy Tiffany dog collars--heck, some of us even blame the poor for being that way, and begrudge them every scrap that we throw to them to keep them dependent victims unable to stage all-out revolution. We sacrifice our children for convenience when we buy heavily processed, genetically modified, chemical-laden garbage from the freezer aisle or fast food restaurants so we don't have to make them a real meal or listen to their whining about eating their veggies. Some of us sacrifice our children for material gain when we stuff them in a daycare or with a nanny twelve hours a day so we can afford a nicer house, a newer car, or a tropical vacation. Some of us do it to keep our "place" in society when we cooperate with this runaway train of a corrupt corporate oligarchy running our world so that we won't lose our self absorbed lifestyle, our social security, or our 401(k).

Many of us sacrifice our children by telling ourselves that it's all someone else's problem to fix--that we're too small and weak to do anything of value--but even though there is no one "else" fixing it, we just let it go on. And of course we collectively sacrifice our children, our young people in the military, when we turn a blind eye to our nation's continual empire-building, pillage-then-burn occupation of the world so that the corporations can increase their profits as they suck out resources from under someone else's home or exploit someone else's labor for pennies a day, all so we can drive around in our SUVs and get two $5 T shirts made by a twelve year old in Malaysia at starvation wages, instead of a $10 one made here by a single mom at only poverty wages (insert the Wal-Mart smiley logo here). Bleak.

But maybe not as bleak as it sounds. Because while The Hunger Games' plot showed me that our world really is one sick puppy, just like Panem, it also showed that the beginning of the end comes when one girl gets her 'mama grizzly' on and stands up to the machine. Other people see it, and while some hide their eyes and some curse the girl, afraid that it will mean the end to their butchery-fed gravy train, others are inspired to join in.

We do live in a Hunger Games dystopia, where manufactured lack, fake rivalries, and terrorist governments try to beat the humanity out of each of us and make us hate and butcher each other, physically, mentally and economically, while the elite skims the cream off the top and laughs at the spectacle of we pathetic animals killing one another. And for the Capitol, it's worked pretty well for quite a long time. But just like in the story, all it takes to start the avalanche of change is for one girl, in the right place at the right time, to stop following the rules of the Games.

May each of us be that girl.


  1. Your analogy is good, but there can also be a larger analogy at a higher fractal level. The capital can be America/Western world and the districts can be the rest of the world. The common bum in the streets of L.A. is still in the wealthiest top 15% in the world because he actually gets to see USD laid in his hand daily. The utter stinking poverty of the rest of the nations in general is appalling, and it could be said they the U.S./West pits other nations against each other to keep them busy and while pillaging their resources and not producing much of anything themselves. In the last 60 years America had been the "candy gatherer", and the rest of the world has been the "host". What's our main addiction? Entertaining ourselves, just like the elites in the capital.

    Go to any southeast Asian labor nation for a couple of weeks as a common laborer, and if you actually live through it, (most Americans would not), you would come back to America begging for any burger-flipping job at 60 hours a week. America=the capital

    Just another take on it...

    1. You are correct, and if you look back at many of my prior posts, I've consistently identified America, the entity, as one of the world's great spoiled brats. Mostly this this attributable to the attitudes of the elite, not the regular folks, who just don't 'get' what's happening in their names--they are sleeping through it, aided by the media. However, as you say, there are fractal levels, and just as the West, headed by America and Britain, is sucking the life out of the rest of the world, the Western elite is doing the same to us. The crux of the matter is this: We all must stop following the rules of their game--stop fighting each other while they laugh about how stupid we are--and start working on the real enemy. Their weapons: fear and apathy. Our weapons: love and knowledge. Power on.

  2. You hit on the other analogy, by the way, in one of your last paragraphs when you talk about Malaysia....

  3. If everyone in the world was paid according to actual effort of work, energy expended, etc. you would have nearly a reverse in the wealth pay out. Not entirely, because welfare would go away and there are some very hard working people at the TOP (but their jobs are exploitive).

    You might have to define work by "actual constructive units". The first step would be removing the ability to acquire wealth simply due to interest accrual, and this would cause an immediate shift in how the TOP is able to "make money". But this will not happen because the TOP created the current game that we all are playing.

    Interest accrual used at a massive institutional level actual causes all wealth to eventually spiral to the "haves" and away from the "have nots".

    If people constantly had to actually produce constructively according to the amount of resources they were using up, Americans would not be able to work enough hours to accomplish this and still maintain their current SOL levels.

    Yet, America was set up as the "massive consumer machine" after WWII intentionally, since the TOP (who are internationalists) could not get their own wealth machine moving unless there was an active purchasing force. It was easier to focus the primary "purchasing and consumerism infrastructure" in one area, and America was the most logical choice. Essentially, we have been unknowing accomplices in helping the TOP build their perfect machine for many decades now. Just realize that worldwide purchasing structures ALL depend on American buyers 10x to 20x more than any other consumer area. America is by far the "buyer of products". This is why World Cup consumerism is still DWARFED by Super Bowl consumerism on a world wide basis. There is no comparison, and this is because the interest level of the U.S. is much higher for the Super Bowl (we still don't care for soccer).

    So, one might say "Americans are doing their set job as the consumers of products and therefore our existence is legit...". But then we relegate our citizens to the "helpers" or "administrators" for moving "energy and power" to the very TOP. And I believe our position as these "helpers" might be very temporary just now, as the final "gathering of candy" is going to come at our massive expense because once a monster is done consuming everything in the world it then must start consuming parts of itself to stay alive a bit longer.

    cont'd next post

  4. What would be the ethical way to live? It would end up being something like the Amish lifestyle, where almost everything needed for your daily life, you would produce yourself. You would have little to no "loans", and the many electronic gadgets could not be justified because they could not be made and maintained longterm without the massive infrastructure and slave labor force to run it. Great things could still be accomplished, but they would have to be carefully done as to not require a massive slave force, and unfortunately, that would net a much lower SOL for U.S. citizens. This is why the Amish elders likely have been either intentionally or accidentally geniuses. In the event of a complete American economic collapse, it's possible the Amish might not even know it. (and guess what, most Amish claim to be "happy"!)

    America has never legitimately been a nation of pure liberty principles, so even this notion of "returning to liberty" is a gigantic lie. We have always achieved the next rung of domination at the expense of other people in the world. I call this the "theory of slack".

    1st Slack era: massive "unclaimed" geographic area to exploit. But of course this was done at the expense of Native Americans who were genocided away intentionally.

    2nd Slack era: massive "free labor", at the expense of African peoples.

    3rd Slack era: massive "bank credit" extended to every person in America, central bank of U.S. (a new kind of personal slavery for everyone, and done at the expense of other nations funding it in one form or another). But since we got to rent cool toys it didn't seem like slavery for us.

    4th Slack: complete takeover of all world resources using military intimidation and the threats of getting "blacklisted" as a nation. This has been the only way for our current American "empire" to keep floating. Also, "The Empire Eats Itself", just as the first things to die on a body are the non-essentials, you can bet the TOP will not suffer since they made the game rules and they are nothing but leaches on the monster's body anyway. After a collapse the leaches will crawl to the next planned game, and that game will not include the dead monster, only the decomposed pieces of it as building blocks.

    Why is your wealth disappearing in America? It's simply the final part of the equation/formula playing out. The formula is the LAW of the game you all are playing and accepted to play willingly or not, and the formula requires payment. It doesn't care how. Truth doesn't care what lies are told, it just keeps on being the truth, it's not even offended by lies, it just laughs at them and continues playing out its equation.

    Americans have been renting cool toys now for many decades. It's now time to turn in the toys, the repo man is coming in many forms; what do you think the Patriot Act and all that following was for?... it was to make the new rules to take back your unearned stuff and create an enforcing unit to do just that. The repo man is following the rules of the game. You can't just leave the game with your wealth intact; you didn't earn those toys legitimately. You might say "the TOP did not earn them legit either", yes, but the TOP made the game and you did not. The TOP is NOT going to lose a game that they have rigged from the start. YOU are going to lose, because you TOOK THE DICE AND PLAYED.

    Sorry, all of the supposed "enemies" that have been proposed as your cause of downfall are fake enemies for you to vent your anger at. You will never know who the real TOP is because they are not stupid enough to reveal themselves. They will always direct your attention to other scapegoats.

    RANT DONE, sorry for the rant.

  5. Your 'rant' is excellent. You are correct on many points, except it's not just America. We may be the apparent head of the beast, but Britain, France, Australia, Germany, and most of the rest of the Western world are running the same scam, for the same reasons-to keep those in power (the real power, not the pet dogs who run the government) in power. But here's the thing--we can change this ANY TIME WE WANT. We just stop playing by the rules of the Games. They don't have enough FEMA camps, bullets, or cops to keep the status quo if the world wakes up and says no.

  6. I like your enthusiasm, but how do you get critical mass to "stop playing the game" when the participants are so easily steered to ineffectiveness or acquiescence?

    1. We each have control of a tiny corner of the world and we make our corner the way we want the world to be and then we invite others to look at it. As I said, some will hide and some will tell you you're nuts, but every action has consequences--like ripples in the pond, so throw every rock you've got in the water and watch the shoreline. And I think the fat cats are helping the awakening along quite a lot, as they are pulling a lot of really cheeky stuff that's waking up a lot of people to just how out of control they are.

  7. The nature of America/Western World (actually the entire world) economics is fundamentally self-destructive in the long run because it runs on DEBT. Without DEBT (massive debt, more every year required), the current financial systems collapses.

    Here's an example of how this system has been floated so long without collapse:

    The American consumer buys a house and immediately pulls the future into the present in the amount of $200,000, and sets up a "profit scheme" for the bank to claim interest and such for the next 30 years. This kind of thing should not be legal because it's a debt magic trick of bringing the unknown future immediately into the present so that the consumer can have his stuff NOW, and so that the bank can pretend to be doing a constructive market deal that produces "profit", but all it really does is feed the debt monster more food so that it can operate longer. It's a TRICK.

    The above operation has been massively institutionalized so that you have millions of running "house debts" (and the like) that pretend to be "constructive" on the books, but they are actually "destructive" when the final bells tolls. Done as a running deal over many decades it appears to keep working as long as the ponzi money keeps increasing. But it's massively more destructive every year that a purge of the system is held at bay.

    Why? Because the money brought from the future does not exist and never will, but gets to be put down as "real" immediately. The home buyer will be "working to pay the debt down" but his work will never be able to pay for what was loaned to him, not really, only a very small portion. The home buyer is counting on this same debt system to "increase his wages ever year" so that he can pay for the house, and the "future income" is also coming in from the same debt mechanism (that's the only way his employer could pay him).

    So, a MASSIVE ponzi scheme has been institutionalized as LEGAL, and it requires MORE DEBT BEING CREATED EVERY YEAR in order to KEEP RUNNING THE SYSTEM. But at some point, IT REACHES MAX POTENTIAL and MUST start operating quickly in reverse. This is the point reached in 2008/2009 when the govs of the world had to move in and BAIL out the banks. What they really did was "replace the tribute money" that was not coming in anymore to feed the monster. The tribute money previously came from those who "signed on the line that was dotted", but not near enough of those folks materialized in 2008/2009 to keep the monster fed.

    In essence the bail out money was the government acting as EMERGENCY DEMAND OF LAST RESORT. This was required to keep the formula/equation from playing out its final calculation, "massive liquidation of resources/people" (basically the boomerang coming back to hit us all).

    So right now we are in economic stasis as the govs decide when to let the boomerang actually hit (already hitting in Greece and Ireland, etc.). Until then, you will see MASSIVE NATIONALIZATION and DESTRUCTION OF WEALTH on the books. When the flood gates are finally opened, it will be a TRUE HORROR SHOW of LIQUIDATION of every unit you can imagine. This is because it has been 60 years since a major purge, and this purge will be the largest EVER!

    All sorts of excuses will arise as to "why the world is crumbling", but the true reason will be: FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED ECONOMIC SYSTEM THAT OPERATES ON DEBT TO CONTINUE.

    The alternative to this debt system is a very conservative system that does not allow the "quick progress" of the last 150 years (eliminate fractional reserve banking and compound interest), but many might say the supposed "progress" has been a big lie, since when the fiddler finally gets paid, it's truly horrific, and only a few thousand at the TOP wind up with the entire pie, the rest may end up back in the 1800's.

    1. You are completely right about the 'debt monster.' I've done quite a few past posts about just that. And, it is coming to an end--no question about that--the only question is how. I really don't think that we're going back to the 1800s. There will certainly be some hairy moments, but I think that the end of this financial black hole will be the beginning of great things in the world--when people begin to work for their own well being, happiness, and gratification again, instead of for the Capitol. :-)