Over the years I have learned to largely tune out the world around me whenever I can. I have rarely in my adult life watched the evening news, nor read a newspaper. I would listen to NPR. But come 2008, it was all doom and gloom about the same two or three topics; the banking crisis, Iraq, death tolls in Afghanistan and Iraq, more banking crisis. The news never was about the world, just constant twenty-four hour news cycle analysis and babble about the same negative doom and gloom topics. So I turned the radio off. I still watch the "Daily Show" as I consider it a palpable way to listen to current events.
This allows me to do what I need to do. Sure, if there were an immediate local need I would help out. But how much can we intake and energy can we expend while trying to just get by ourselves? In the summer I have more time to listen to my own rhythms, to convince myself to exercise by doing hot yoga, hiking, or even going to the gym. The rest of my summer is built around that health principle. Tutor the few hours I am given, eat a healthy salad for lunch…that type of thing. Take a once a year trip somewhere outside of L.A. if I can.
The deeper I go into my math studies, and perhaps just the older I get, the more I am deeply interested in getting control of any sort of dept. I have never kidded myself that I will ever be wealthy or own property. To get rid of my and my husband’s student loans would feel wealthy to me on its own; to not own anyone anything.
Recently I borrowed from a friend and read the Hunger Games. A few themes poked into my head. One, that I should go back and read 1984. The other themes being Big Brother, Electronic Eye, the film 5th Element, “Survivor”…. it seems to me that Panem could be the U.S. and the outlying districts the third world countries around us. The people of the capitol in the story, those in the U.S. who thoughtlessly afford opulence with easily found and eaten foods, gluttony of enough resources, time, and energy spent caring about looks, fashion, waxing, body hair, coloured hair, nails, etc. How unless you are involved in international work, or venture to read books like Leymah Gbowee’s Mighty be Our Powers and others like it, that the level of poverty and war in other places doesn’t register on our often very self centered radars.
After seeing the movie last night, I also thought of what we studied in advanced film criticism, how through simulacrum, our children are being trained with video games to shoot and kill and not blink an eye or give violence a second thought, which then translates into military jobs of power where service people send drones into other countries and kill other humans with the flick of a switch, push of a button.
I didn’t think of the book The Hunger Games as being a well written one, but it certainly allows food for thought. Not having read the next two in the (obligatory?) trilogy, did the author consider the Twilight series when she left the “love” triangle in the balance?
The books that resonated with me as a youth are C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Madeleine L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and Ayn Rand’s Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged. I read the first Harry Potter, and while readable, it certainly didn’t leave with me many lasting impressions. Nor did Lord of the Ring part I.
A friend of mine told me she is going to let her eight year old read Hunger Games next after her. I would question letting an eight year old read the book. A ten year old perhaps. What did you think of the Hunger Games? What analysis is being made?