As with most things in life the following is inspired by a conversation at a bar. My friend had just finished The Hunger Games and we were avidly discussing it over margaritas. The topic of the Capitol and their reliance on luxury, with complete disregard for the humans who worked to supply the items, was particularly upsetting to my compatriot.
“WE ARE THE CAPITOL,” she wailed. And she’s right.
I enjoyed reading The Hunger Games. I thought it was a great reflection, and exaggeration, of how we consume without thought. Our need for things dictates how people miles and oceans away live their lives. In the series the Capital is the embodiment of consumption. The citizens there rely of the pitiable districts for their food, clothing, energy, etc. The Capitol is so detached that they feel no remorse for the horrendous working and living conditions the people who make their goods must survive in.
I feel like promoting The Hunger Games through mass market merchandise would be like Fast Food Nation doing book signings at McDonald’s locations across the country. Like No Impact Man being promoted on disposable cups. The method of publicity is directly in opposition to the message the work is trying to get across.
Whenever I see a Mockingjay pin for sale from a mass distributor all I see are the nameless faces that went behind its creation. Who made this pin? Who sewed this shirt?
The worst part, for me, are the fans who are snatching up every item with the Hunger Games logo emblazoned on it. Searching for Hunger Games on tumblr I see post after post with stuff people have bought.
“I JUST GOT MY MOCKINGJAY PIN IN THE MAIL.”
“Look who’s rocking this tribute shirt.”
“I had to get a set of Mockingjay jewelry. Necklace, earrings and the pin.”
“I HAVE ALL THE NAIL POLISH COLORS!”
Seriously, sometimes it feels like they haven’t even read the books. I’m not against people spending money as they choose, and to give credit to the film they do have a campaign to bring food to needy places. What bothers me is that the fans are buying, buying, buying. Becoming the embodiment of the Capitol without even taken a minute to question it.
The Mockingjay was a sign of rebellion, but now, to me, it’s a symbol of consumption.