Sunday, March 13, 2016

Panem: Bread and Circuses

The country Panem was created to mock the future of America, but it’s such a close representation to our society today we may not have much longer until we are Panem. 

The Capitol of the country Panem is a very forceful, manipulative power that strings its people along on a thread. The people of Panem, especially in the Capitol itself, are blinded to all of the problems the country as a whole faces. However, not all citizens are as oblivious to the current issues as the citizens of the Capitol are. All they have to worry about and regret are petty things like wearing feathers to a party. Although people in the Capitol do not know the truth behind the news reports they are broadcasted, they unknowingly support the ongoing fight against the government. Since they already have everything they desire, and more, they are constantly updating their wardrobes and accessories. When Katniss was in the Capitol for the victory tour she noticed how big of a hit her mockingjay pin had become, it “spawned a new fashion sensation, because several people come up to show me their accessories. My bird has been  replicated on belt buckles, embroidered into solid lapels, even tatted in intimate places. Everyone wants to wear the winners token” (78). Everyone wants to wear the winners token. Even Effie decided to put her hair up in such a way to resemble a mockingjay. 

These people were all promoting the rebellion without even knowing that they were helping the fight against the government and were constantly advertising for the “uprising” that was supposedly suppressed. Although Katniss was surprised by the mockingjay fad, she was not opposed to it, in fact, she even promoted it by showing off her newly picked wedding dress that transformed into a mockingjay when she spun. These subtle messages empowered the people in the districts and reminded them that their government is not as strong as it thinks it is.

The subliminal messaging of the mockingjay sent from the districts and spread throughout the Capitol inspired people to stand together. It was almost a clear statement from the Capitol that they were promoting the one thing that so easily defied it. They were showing off Katniss, a tribute who defied them-- as a mockingjay, a creation that defied them. Their message was mixed and gave people hope instead of clogging their minds. 

This relates to our society after the Kent State University shootings. This tragic act made by the government against the protesters was publicized and turned into a fashion statement by Urban Outfitters. Their apparel targeting the incident at Kent State caused people to naively and mindlessly advertise and promote it. It didn't take long for the items related to the incident to be discontinued since they caused controversy, and drew negative attention to the government. 

Another way the Capitol keeps the people of Panem naive is by focusing media on celebrities instead of political issues. 

President Snow makes it very clear to Katniss that she is to be portrayed as Panem's 
sweetheart, and is to win its love. Snow goes the extra mile to make sure that the people of his country are focused on Katniss and Peeta’s wedding involving their star-crossed love story. He does this as an attempt for a distraction from the countries problems, weak points and increasing uprisings. Snow is fully aware that these problems are real, and imminent but is masking them with what he wants the people to believe. When he visited Katniss at her house before the  victory tour, he reminded her that she’ll “have to do even better if the uprisings are to be averted, this tour will be your only chance to turn things around” (29). There are so much more to the superficial problems he told Katniss about, yet he made her believe that the countries fate lied in her hands.

This relates to our current society involved in the presidential election. One of the republican candidates, Donald Trump, is publicized for his vulgarity and bluntness but not for his political ideals and proposed policies (or lack thereof). The presidential election is being publicized as a reality/ comedy show instead of a serious political event. The man who could very well be out next president is known for his hateful, comical statements. With a large sum of the attention toward the campaign placed on Donald Trump, a vast majoring of people are only learning about one candidate… but even with all the media people still do not know his political ideals. This compares Americans to citizens of Panem. Both are mindlessly following a strong leader without knowing what is happening behind the scenes, and not caring to find out. People in the Capitol are portrayed as if they almost worship Snow and everything he says, even the Hunger Games which involves killing children. 

Television and social media make it extremely easy for people to stay updated on celebrity reality shows and the newest YouTube video of their internet crush. These things distract us from our own lives and news all over the world. However, celebrity gossip is spreading beyond its original boundaries and now plays a large part in our government reports  and outlines. On multiple news channels, the GOP debate was highlighted by Trump’s cocky comment used to defend himself against Marco Rubio’s reference to his small hands. This is the information people are receiving about our current presidential election…this is the information people are backing up their vote with. 

Our country needs to straighten out its ideals soon or prepare for the hunger games to “keep the peace” of our future country, “Panem”.

Kirsten K. Prompt 4. 

Collins, Suzanne, and Elizabeth B. Parisi. Catching Fire. , 2009. Print.

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