By Kathleen Pickering http://www.kathleenpickering.com
Saw The Hunger Games this weekend.
Wished I had not.
You know when Joe Hartlaub last blogged about addiction, it set my mind going on how addicted we are as a culture. (For example, I’ll bet you know EXACTLY where your cell phone is.)
I’m thinking folks don’t quite realize how over-stimulated we are. And, how for the love of another dopamine rush, we may be sacrificing human dignity for entertainment.
Movies and videos with their cinematography are so amazing these days that graphic portrayals can be so very vivid and real.
They overload the retinas with sparkly, colorful, gorgeous or gruesome, oversized images. These images excite our receptors causing a chemical reaction in the brain of either excitement, pleasure or fear.
After a while, the baseline for tolerance rises and we need more stimulus just to maintain the status quo. What can we create to bring the next thrill level in our entertainment? We chatter about books, movies, video games and crave more, and more and more.
The subjects we choose for audio/visual absorption directly relate to the heightened physiological surges we experience.
Man, oh, man, while viewing The Hunger Games I realized I’d reached my limit. I just couldn’t stomach watching beautiful young men and women accepting the order to kill each other for entertainment’s sake.
I had a really hard time with the premise of kids forced to kill or be killed. Harry Potter is fantasy. Twilight is fantasy. Walking Dead is fantasy. Avatar is fantasy—with a message against war/greed/bigotry through animation. (I LOVE James Cameron’s work.)
Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games is a parody of humanity gone animal. Fully Ego driven. Get them before they get you. Control the masses by entertaining them with the deaths of others while viewers thank their lucky stars it wasn’t them—this year.
Sorry. My visual absorption hit overload.
I’m not into censoring or anything. But, as writers, screenwriters, etc., I think we have an obligation regarding the topics we choose to call entertainment. I just wish we would stop cannibalizing humanity for entertainment’s sake.
Folks say The Hunger Games is a lesson in ensuring we never allow too much government. I say, bull****. Kids aren’t seeing a political message as much as they are wondering if their world--now and in the future--is really safe.
Will The Hunger Games motivate them to be better human beings, or ignite their craving for more ‘shock’ stimulation, whether they know it or not? (Anybody remember Lord of the Flies? Didn’t see any huge social shift from that one, either.)
Suzanne Collins’s suggestion of our culture accepting sanctioned murder as ‘reality’ entertainment loosely disguised as political control triggered a profound sense of shame for me. I can not believe that after these thousands of years we still haven’t left the coliseum. All to stimulate our addiction. Our sense of thrill. The adrenaline or dopamine rush to escape . . . what?
I’ll be the first to say I’m a movie addict. I love the stimulation. I love the art and craft of creating words into visuals. I crave the opportunity to lose myself in make-believe worlds. But, after watching The Hunger Games—despite the fact that the acting was excellent, I think I need Stimulus-Anonymous. I’ve hit rock bottom with this one. My psyche and my soul can’t take anymore.
I’m going out to sit in the sun for awhile . . . soak in the fresh, tropical air. Meditate.
Because I know it’s only a matter of time before I get over the shock from The Hunger Games. The TV will announce the release of another heart-stopping movie. I will resist at first, but not much. I will put on my jeans and perfume, take my glasses and get to the movies early enough to catch all the upcoming trailers before my next thrill hits the silver screen. And, sadly enough, I won’t even need popcorn.
How about you?