Peeta will solve every problem with camouflage.
(this one made more sense in my head)
I saw The Hunger Games Friday afternoon, and it was good. Just good. But the part that got to me, of course, was when Rue was killed. When it happened, the first thing I thought was, She is Trayvon Martin. She was a child. She was hunted. She was hunted by aggressors much more powerful than she. She dies from a wound to the chest. In a society that allows the murder of its own children.
Then I read the racist reactions to Rue and her character’s death, which range frompeople either being angry that a black girl was playing someone “good” and “innocent” to people being not that sad over her death now that they understood she was black, which made it clear to me that other people were also making a connection between Rue and Trayvon, however subconsciously. Only instead of that reaction being “This is a child who was hunted and killed and that’s unacceptable,” it’s “Because this character is black, I care less about her death.”
What I’ve been stewing over for the last few weeks is exactly that, that there’s a sickening bottom line in this country, and it is simply that certain people’s lives are valued less than others. I don’t know how we continue on as a society knowing this. Because a society where mothers of black boys have to worry that when their children run out for candy, they might never come back–that society is broken. A society where the Muslim mother of five children could be beaten to death in her own bed where her killer left a note that reads “go back to your country, you terrorist” is a society that demands to be fixed. Every piece of legislation that criminalizes a person’s skin color–whether with regard to immigration or homeland security or law enforcement–needs to be challenged. Every cultural message that says one race is “less than” another needs to be checked. Is it a movie we’re watching about a dystopia that doesn’t give a shit about its disenfranchised or are we living it? The line for me has become increasingly blurred.
Here are a few links I’ve leaned on to try to make sense of it all:
How do you explain the killing of Trayvon Martin to your own son? Apology to My Brown Boy, by poet and mental health advocate Bassey Ikpi [Bassey’s World]
An insightful examination by a white man of how white privilege works: Whites Should be Suspicious about Trayvon Martin’s Death, by Christian minister Bob Bixby [Pensées]
On the different rules black men have to live by: Trayvon Martin, my son, and The Black Male Code, by AP national writer on race/ethnicity Jesse Washington [AP]
Tearing up the picture of the pope 2.0: An open letter on the killing of Trayvon Martin by Sinead O’Connor [Sinead O’Connor website]
When good is never good enough: No Apologies: On The Killing of Trayvon Martin And Being “Good,” by Danielle Belton, aka The Black Snob [The Black Snob]
Feel free to add more links related to this in the comments section below. And if you haven’t done so already, please join the other 2 million+ people who have signed this change.org petition to bring George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, to justice.
And I want to go see it again.
I figured that it wouldn’t line up quite that well with the novel, and I expected that. I’m glad that Suzanne Collins was in on the screenplay because THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE, the end product gets to be something that can hold its own.
It’s one of those movies that, if the novel were assigned as mandatory reading in school, and the student just skips the reading and watches the movie instead will have that student absolutely fail whatever test comes their way on the subject.
Out of the people I went with to see the movie, I was the only one who’d bothered with the book, and in the end I was the only one with lots of feels about what had changed. Spoilers coming up.
First off, Madge. Essential in the book, not essential in the movie. There, I said it. It is a 2 hour long movie, and that was an acceptable omission.
Next, Haymitch making a fool of himself during the reaping. Less acceptable omission.
It makes it too easy for him to get shit done in the movie, and the whole dynamic between Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch is changed. Well, not changed, more … . non existent. There are just layers of trust and understanding between Katniss and Haymitch that are just glossed over in the movie, and that just wasn’t the best way to tell that part of the story.
Cinna. See above paragraph, replace “Haymitch” with “Cinna.”
Katniss’ relationship with her mother. So much story, not enough movie. This is a shame because Paula Malcomson does really well with the damaged Mother/Daughter relationship, as seen in Caprica. Hopefully, they’ll flesh that out more in the coming movies, especially The Mockingjay.
The Muttations! I am on the fence about this one. On the one hand, the psychological toll it takes on Katniss to come face to face the recently dead tributes is such a powerful moment in the novel, but if that had been portrayed in the movie, I would have had nightmares.
Lastly, Peeta’s leg. Unacceptable omission, end of story.
The story of how Peeta falls for Katniss was changed, and I would have liked the full thing wedged in there. It’s jut so damn sweet, but we just couldn’t have it all.
For an interesting read here is a list of differences between the book and the movie.
Jennifer Lawrence: 4 Looks in 24 Hours
- Lawrence arrived at the Late Show with David Letterman in a shimmering black-and-bronze illusion dress and heels.
- She left in Raoul’s “diamond dress” and the same shoes.
- That same evening, Lawrence attended a screening of The Hunger Games in a green Calvin Klein Collection dress.
- The next morning, Lawrence appeared at Good Morning America in a white blouse, navy Holmes & Yang skirt, red belt and white sandals.
This whole thing of watching the woman playing Katniss become a media darling/object of sartorial fixation is perhaps a bit too meta for me.
ETA: Or perfectly meta, actually.
Bolded for point.
I feel really weird about it, and have also noticed how incredibly meta this situation has become.
Jennifer Lawrence has become something for us to consume as the character that she’s playing the The Hunger Games, and I feel like we’re beginning to gloss over the fact that she’s separate from Katniss as much as Katniss is separate from the title of the Mockingjay.
I recently saw that Glamour cover of her in the black slinky jumpsuit with the cleavage cut way down to … her hips and had a total NO moment. It’s like the people who were publicizing the movie did not understand the novel at all, else they would have seen how problematic it was that their leading woman was being sexualized to the nth degree.
“What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim.
“No, true story,” Peeta says. “And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings… even the birds stop to list.’”
“That’s true. They do. I mean, they did,” I say. I’m stunned and surprisingly moved, thinking of the baker telling this to Peeta. It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might no really be that I think it’s a waste of time. It might be cause it reminds me too much of my father.
“So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent,” Peeta says.
“Oh, please,” I say, laughing.
“No, it happened. And right when your song ended, I knew - just like your mother - I was a goner,” Peeta says. “Then for the next eleven years, I tried to work up the nerve to talk to you.
“Without success,” I add.
“Without success. So, in a way, my name being drawn in the reaping was a real piece of luck,” says Peeta.
For a moment, I’m almost foolishly happy and the confusion sweeps over me. Because we’re supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love, not actually being in love. But Peeta’s story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, although I don’t remember the song. And that red plaid dress… there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father’s death.
It would explain another thing, too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful hollow day. So, if those details are true… could it all be true?