Americans love sports

They love sports, to a degree that I find frightening. Full disclosure: if you can’t tell, I’m an American. Another full disclosure: I have not read The Hunger Games, but I have read samples and reviews, so I know the gist of the story. It’s being made into a movie now. The plot of the story is: in a far future post-vague-apocalypse North America where for some reason everyone remembers Romans and Latin names and concepts but has forgotten everything else, the evil government, which rules from the Capitol, forces its subject districts–the whole rest of the country–to send its children to the Capitol to fight each other to the death. This is being done because some decades before the events of the story there was a rebellion, and this is both supposed to punish the populace of the districts and entertain the decadent people of the Capitol.

What is telling is how fans of the books seem to concentrate on the Games as if they mattered. By that I mean: they write things like: “I work out because I know I would’ve been the first to die in the Hunger Games.”

Let me repeat: the participants of these games are supposed to kill each other until only one remains. What this fan is basically saying is you should stay in shape in order to be the best little murderer in town.

I’m going to go on a brief tangent: the writer of these novels, one Suzanne Collins, says she was in part inspired to write these by news reports of the Iraq War. Obviously being in the military is problematic, because you do have to stay in shape, and one of the reasons for that is so you will be able to fight, and sometimes kill, in battle. But it’s a bit of a stretch to compare military service to being forced to participate in a death match against your own countrymen for any reason. What Ms. Collins seems to be saying here is that she thinks we send soldiers out to kill people for the lulz and to entertain us decadents at home. All I can say is, speak for yourself, miss.

Okay, leaving that aside, the fact that the main response to the Hunger Games has been to root for the main character to win the games is worrying. Is that all we are, people who will cheer for any atrocity as long as it’s dressed up in sports metaphors? Include me out.