Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

My wife and daughter have devoured Suzanne Collins’s trilogy of dystopian novels, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and they let me accompany them to this weekend’s blockbuster movie of the first in the series.

In the depicted dystopia, a dozen outlying districts have been conquered by the capital. Once a year, for the diversion of sport and, moreover, to assert their life-and-death control over the districts, folks in the capital choose one male and one female teenager from each district — as “tribute” — to go to the capital to fight to the death. The last of the 24 left alive is the “winner.”

The story’s protagonist is Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old girl whose prowess with bow and arrow helps (illegally) feed her family. When her 12-year old sister gets selected to meet a certain death in the games, Katniss “volunteers” to take her place.

Expressing an independent spirit, Peeta, her district’s male contestant, tells Katniss: “I just keep wishing I could find a way to show them they don’t own me. If I’m going to die, I want to still be me.”

In The Hunger Games, the capital thrives, while folks out in the districts struggle to find enough to eat. In our own country, today, seven of the 25 wealthiest counties are in the Washington, D.C. area. While much of the nation suffers a depressed housing market and high unemployment, that’s not the case in our nation’s capital region.

I liked the movie so much, I’m now reading the book.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Brian Wright says:

    Paul, sounds kind of depressing, but I guess that’s what dystopian means. Definitely not a Randian premise, where the ‘men of the mind’ go on strike and the Wesley Mouches left behind can’t survive without them. I’m not sure which model makes most sense in reality, so I’ll probably use a different template in any dystopian novels I may come to pen. Hopefully, reality will see the resurgence (or ‘surgence’) of what we have come to know as the Freedom Philosophy (… or something close to it.

    [btw, a nit, you basically have a repeating paragraph in the piece above. Perhaps the software lets you make changes to the html copy.]

  2. Great piece.


    As usual.

    I’m an immigrant. (And as such, recognizing that such as I get to anoint ourselves Hyphenated-Americans and with the tile of our own choosing, elected to be an AMERICAN-American) I’m a Westerner in my heart and, since I first arrived from abroad, have always been so, geographically, too.

    Decades ago, when dealing with immigration folk in offices in Seattle, Los Angeles and Denver, I detected a totally different mindset between the folks I encountered in those offices and actual Americans. During those early days I also quickly discovered that if I needed anything that only the feral gummint could do for me, the best way to get it done was to jump a jet and whiz to DC and hand-walk it through whatever department, service, bureau or secretariat, myself. Got lots done that way and in those days had a better knowledge of the physical layout and workings of many DC and environs and Oklahoma City feral gummint offices than most of the folks that “worked” in them. Almost none of whom was as if an ordinary American.

    But even more staggering to this American in his heart since his infancy than was the attitude of federal bureaucrats to those upon whom they preyed — and the very first thing I noticed as I traveled about nearby Virginia and Maryland, was that the quality of the infrastructure within a fifty to a hundred mile radius of DC was as if that of a Principality within that had taken its tribute from and was lording it over its colonial empire. To which and to whose population the federalies (to and with whom, for several years, domestically and in the Very Far Abroad, I subsequently contracted — and worked) demonstrated only contempt.

    Just like now!

    The feral gummint, lets face it, is the definitive looting thieving money laundering RICO rackets.

    And it shows.

    Brian Richard Allen
    Lost Angels CA 90028
    And The Very far Abroad

  3. Richard Shepard says:

    There is a fiery debate going on at our house over whether my teenage daughter should be allowed to see a movie in which children kill children. According to my spouse it might as well be a snuff film regardless of any other redeeming features.
    I have been watching the reviews and reactions of those who have seen the movie, but this issue gets rarely mentioned and never treated in depth. Perhaps that is because those with this concern have self-selected out of the viewing pool.

  4. Drik says:

    This is the new teen approach to Orwell’s 1984, and while it depicts things violently, it is no more violent than the Harry Potter series or the Twilight saga. Dead peers are just as dead, but bad guys in Hunger are harder to discern.

    Coached properly, as the inevitable culmination of central government authority and control, this maybe the first teen exploitation flick in a while with a potentially worthwhile message.

  5. Paul Jacob says:

    Richard — My 12-year old has read all the books and I had no trouble with her seeing it. Though, there is a good bit of violence, which might cause me pause for a younger child. But on balance, the violence is not gratuitous, and is integral to the plot, which is VERY uplifting in showing the triumph of the compassionate human spirit. In that way, to me, the violence in “The Hunger Games” is a bit like the nudity in “Schindler’s List.”

  6. Paul Jacob says:

    Brian — Depressing and yet UPLIFTING. Which is what I love about such novels from Orwell’s 1984 to Rand’s Anthem.

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