I read The Hunger Games. So this is how America has chosen to process the power grab by the country’s richest 2%, I think, as I finish the novel. I buy it after I read that the author was inspired by seeing only reality shows and war coverage on her television.
That strikes me as honorable inspiration for a best-seller.
In case you somehow missed it (there’s over a million copies in print), in this novel a young woman named Katniss lives in a post-American state called Panem, in a poor coal-mining district. Each year each of the 12 districts has to send two of their children, a boy and a girl, to fight to the death in a broadcast reality show. She volunteers to replace her sister when her sister is chosen.
It’s a well-written and fun read, and there’s two more novels, a trilogy.
Reading it I think of how this last year was the year of the so-called Health Care Reform debate, which was people telling the truth vs. people lying about it. This was also the year that I wasasked, every few months, to contribute to fundraisers for the healthcare of others, with cancer, usually. I participate. Because what else is there to do? Unlike my government, I believe a citizen deserves to live whether or not they can afford their care.
I am still not really sure how I ended up living in a country I’d never agree to move to.
We have snow days, which gives me two days of cancelled class. I stay in and read and write. I read Mary Robison’s Why Did I Ever and want to quote every line of it. I consider putting it up on Twitter but that seems like a defacement, something she’d loathe (I studied with her). Also, for a class I’m teaching, I’ve been reading Orlando, Never Let Me Go. I’ll blog some responses to these in the coming weeks. Everything feels like it’s about the amnesiac rich, wealthy people who have no idea as to the human cost of their existence.
And then over that weekend, the Reagan centenary arrives.
I remember Reagan as a senescent right wing apparition, evil with a grin. The smiley face button covered in blood on the cover of Moore’s The Watchmen. When I saw that cover I thought, Oh, Reagan. He was the grinning killer sending death squads into Latin America, funding the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, ignoring AIDS while it became a full-fledged pandemic, lowering the poverty level and then declaring poverty diminished. “Trickle-Down Economics” is a rich person spilling something while he eats, and everyone else fighting over it on the floor underneath him. Good riddance. The day he was born is blackened forever. If he’d never been president, we might not have a novel like The Hunger Games. We might not have healthcare fundraisers for people who can’t afford to survive cancer. He is dead and we are all still trying to survive his presidency.