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    If you have not read The Hunger Games, do yourself a favor and give it a go (note: I’ve yet to see the movie so I can’t comment on how well it tracks the book).  You may not like the fantasy genre, you may think YA (“Young Adult”, ages 13 + up, for those who don’t know the parlance of the book business) fiction is too unsophisticated for your tastes.  Or maybe you don’t like to read.  Whatever.  Read it anyway, because whether you like it or not you’ll find yourself wondering how the hell did these fictional people end up in that level of misery. And that, my dears, is one of the points of the story.
    Collins gives some hints of the back story throughout all three books of the trilogy, but she does not necessarily draw a bright line.  She shows us the end result, hints at the conflicts that gave rise to Panem, but in the end leaves it to the reader to infer the connection between real life and the fiction.
    As well she should have in the tradition of dystopian fiction in both written and visual media. The dramatic tension is in the unveiling of the fictional world and the struggles of the characters to overcome the burdens of dystopian life. The final resolution of the trilogy in Mockingjay is the thing we live for as readers; like the destruction of Parliament in V for Vendetta, we find satisfaction when we see the characters we care about tear the dystopia down. But it’s the realization that a society can more easily fall down a rat hole than it can preserve democratic and social justice principles that drives writers to imagine dystopia, and both fascinates and horrifies readers (or listeners/viewers in non-text media).
    We are very much on the road to Panem right now. Leaving aside for the moment the most obvious contemporary parallel to the Games – reality TV and its occasional flirtation with snuff genre (ever watched Deadliest Catch?) – many aspects of our social fabric as showing signs of devolving in something we never intended. This the first of an occasional series wherein I hope to try to detect the telltale signs showing where our path is taking us and talk about why we should be afraid if we cannot find the way or the will to change course.

    In the town of Seam, in District 12 of the country of Panem, formerly the United States of America at some point at least 75 years before, Katniss Everdeen’s’ mother is an herbal healer, providing care for any and all who come to her no matter who it is or the nature of the problem. It is quite clear that she is not part of any medical system most of us would recognize; indeed there is no indication that District 12 has any form of medical care for most people other than Katniss’ mother.  Metaphorically, this is a way to graphically trace the descent of a culture from a technological high point to primitivism. The perniciousness of the divide in Panem is illustrated by contrasting life in the Districts to life in the Capitol, the segment of society that dominates all others.  In the Capitol medicine is so advanced and available that nearly any horrific injury in the Games can be mended if it is expedient, and people can choose to dramatically alter their appearance on a whim.  Herbal Medicine vs. Plastic Surgery; is any more illustration of the divide between the haves and have nots really necessary?
    The divide in medical care between the haves and have nots already exists in this country, and it is more that the proclivity of the rich to keep plastic surgeons in chips. Already, it is fueling the emergence of underground medicine.  Don’t believe me? Check this recent story about the arrest of an unlicensed dentist in Florida, whose patients were driven to him as the only affordable solution for a medical need. And this is not an isolated case; stories of unlicensed clinics dispensing medicine and even performing surgery are on the increase, especially among disadvantaged communities. PBS did a report in 2004 on another unlicensed dentist - and talked more broadly about the phenomenon of unlicensed medicine. The full extent of the underground medical system is not known. If the message of articles on this subject is to be believed, the trends and pressures leading to the emergence of underground medicine are even stronger today then they were when journalists first broke these stories.
    The issue of affordable, available medical care is one of the issues of our time, and how it plays out speaks volumes about motives, power and the direction our society is choosing. Take the American Medical Association on the subject of the Affordable Care Act.  One would think, naively, that the medical profession would be delighted to bring more patients into the system; if you genuinely care about people, that’s an easy call; and even if you don’t the added volume is good for business.  Yet their support for the ACA has been lukewarm at best; their list of dissatisfactions is far longer than the short list of ACA provisions they claim to support. You can see their positioning here: http://www.ama-assn.org/...
    Properly analyzed, the AMA position is entirely about money and devoid of any discernable concern for the patient. Here’s part of the list:

1. Medical Liability reform. Embedded in this is the naked assertion that “low cost timely health care” is only possible by severely limiting malpractice liability. This is an old chestnut.  But at least you would expect the AMA to give lip service to the underlying patient care problem: how to fix the damage when someone has been injured or killed by medical malpractice.  Who cares?

2. Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board.  God forbid anyone try reform Medicare while preserving coverage and quality.  Probably it is the word "independent" that scares them here since it implies removal of the issues from the political sphere. Obviously that would impact physician income. The AMA has no interest in the welfare of Medicare patients if it is going to impact income.

3. Medical Education.  Sure, there are issues there; but the main concern seems to be to preserve graduate medical education subsidies from Medicare. They don’t want government interference unless there is a check involved.

4. They don’t like the Cost/Quality index scheduled for implementation in 2015. There is no articulate explanation for their position. Presumably, since the cost of and quality of medical care is only relevant as it impacts the income of the physician population, how dare anyone attempt to measure it.

5. Antidiscrimination provisions are unacceptable because they might “allow expansion of the scope of practice for nonphysician allied health practitioners.” Translation: our policies have created an underclass and we’ll be damned if we’ll allow them legal access to alternative care. Its bad for business.

6. Restrictions on hospital ownership.  We don’t believe in conflicts of interest. Stay away from our profits.

7.  For this one, fasten your seatbelt.  They take an astonishing position relative to Health Savings Accounts and the upcoming exchanges: “The ACA is silent on whether health savings accounts (HSA) will be deemed acceptable coverage under the individual insurance mandate. The AMA continues to advocate to the Administration that implementing regulations, including those governing health exchanges and minimum acceptable coverage, ensure that high deductible plans coupled with health savings accounts (HSAs) can be offered as acceptable options in the exchanges.”
    Really? A savings account as an acceptable coverage option?  Their concern for the well being of the well-to-do is touching if unnecessary. The real agenda here, though, is to sell this pig-in-a-poke to the middle class who don’t have tens of thousands of dollars sitting in savings accounts awaiting a cancer diagnosis or a heart attack.  Sure, the premium for the minimal high deductible plan is dirt cheap: that’s because it doesn’t pay for much (which, by the way, is the insurance industry’s preferred business model).  
    Frankly, if you are middle class (I mean with an income at or near the median) and that is your only choice, then you may be better off without insurance at all. Uninsured people of modest means can get charitable help in most communities, often in the form of deep cash discounts; having any insurance usually destroys your personal bargaining power - you pay what your insurance plan says you have to pay and that is that. So, really, the AMA’s interest here is to position people so that they cannot bargain over the cost of care. AMA’s conspicuous silence on the realities tells it all.

    The list goes on, but you get the flavor.  At every juncture, the income of medical practitioners trumps all concern for patients.  One thing is certain: the AMA does not indulge itself in the notion that good medical care ought to be a basic incident of life in a healthy society; its vision of the future seems sadly wedded to lives of privilege.  At least the AMA has the decency not to pretend that patient care is their primary concern. We are, in the final analysis, on our own.
    If the AMA has its way, the transformation of medicine from an art practiced by caring individuals motived by a desire to do good to another parochial business whose primary motive is to extract the maximum amount of resources out of its customers will be one of the milestones on the road to Panem. The wealthy and privileged will never suffer because the availability and quality of care depends only the depth of their bank account or credit lines. For the rest of us? Maybe they will create a system where you can get the best care by volunteering to risk death on TV in the Hunger Games. It’s a far shorter step to that place now then ever before in history.

Originally posted to Sagebrush Grouse on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 02:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, DKOMA, Street Prophets , ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Politics In Fiction, German American Friendship Group, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Underground medicine (15+ / 0-)

    Trans people have been practicing underground medicine for decades. One of the highest-profile spokepersons in our community is Lynn Conway, an Emeritus professor at U Mich, Ann Arbor. Conway transitioned hormonally by forging prescriptions for injectible estrogen. Today, many trans people get their hormones from offshore Internet pharmacies.

    Now, every US citizen who buys drugs from cheaper offshore pharmacies is to some degree practicing underground medicine.

    This trend will only increase unless we get universal health care in the US -- which will take a successful popular revolution establishing equality of wealth. Panem is a far more likely future for the US.

    US medicine has been corrupted by the same forces that have corrupted US politics. It will not heal itself. US doctors are now storefront sales staff for the pharma and medical technology industries.

    The future -- even the present -- of medicine, like that of science, lies in the EU and (eventually) in China. The US has become a backwater.

  •  Nailed it regarding the AMA. (13+ / 0-)

    It's doctors looking out for doctors.

    What association looks out for patients?

    BREAKING: Republicans Accuse President Obama of Trying to Get Re-elected. ~LOLGOP

    by smileycreek on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 04:25:07 PM PDT

  •  Please understand, AMA doesn't speak for all of us (25+ / 0-)

    ...and they sure as hell don't speak for me, as a rural family doctor treating a predominately working class and poor population.

    Even within the medical profession, the AMA is widely recognized to be a venial, parochial, largely Midwestern organization that is dominated by conservatives, by older physicians, and by procedural sub-specialists.

    •  What Organization Speaks for the Patient (15+ / 0-)

      I wish more doctors would speak out against the AMA, or just speak UP for patients. This is the biggest problem in this country: we let the crazies do all the talking, and smart, hard-working people just go about doing their jobs. We have to speak out, we have to agitate for positive change in this country.

    •  Of course that is true (9+ / 0-)

      and it is the rest of you that give me hope.

    •  Agree with Hugh (above) and Ralphdog (5+ / 0-)

      The AMA has become increasingly less representative of physicians over the decades in both numbers and action. The ANA is not significantly better.

      One of the big problems in health care for me is that the changes which came about over time from the insurance industry have made our jobs more about time and energy consuming effort for authorization, denials, delayed payments, reauthorizations and less about good patient care. Like all of American society, our lives have become overwhelmed by the demands of our jobs and our own health is threatened by the stress. The caring part of the vocations we love is diminished so much it is hard for those of us who have been practicing over 20 years to recognize what passes today for a patient encounter.

      While alternative organizations have developed for both professions over the years, the diminished personal time robs them of the numbers we need to voice concerns and bring about change. I also see a lot of division and ignorance among health care professionals about politics. Some physicians have become more politically savvy and active, while others are so out of touch or in avoidance they don't realize or care when a presidential election is 2 months away.

      Nurses are just as separated, with a higher percent from my perspective buying in to too much of the GOP lies and distortions. Many are cynical about government or politics, and too overwhelmed with their own lives to get informed let alone involved. Nursing has deep intraprofessional conflicts over advocating FOR nursing, organizing, unionizing and other ways to advance the status and power of our vocation. Very simply, the conflict between the mindset of sacrificing nuns, who were the nursing base and teachers for millennia, and modern professional women who want to be treated (and paid) as such.

      Factor in the issues with medical research being funded by the corps who want to make money from a patent and the general problems of publish or perish, and we have a growing subset of professionals who are conflicted over whether we are truly helping patients with current treatments, or setting them up for worse problems over time.

      The Patient Advocate Foundation, which you probably have never heard of; is heavily focused on helping individuals, and also has a Congressional legislative effort that includes educating and networking the broad spectrum of professionals and groups dedicated to patient advocacy.

      Health care is one of the central problems of the 1% control of our country, economy and government. When that power is cut off, we can start doing enough to change it into the viable system it could be.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:02:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Underground medicine (10+ / 0-)

    is a reality in other parts of the world, it's only a matter of time before it becomes that way here as well, unless we do something to stop it.

    Licencing fees kept many doctors and dentists out of mainstream Hong Kong, so they practiced in Walled City instead.

    It gives a lovely light.

    by CayceP on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 04:43:43 PM PDT

  •  Are you actually trying to blame doctors? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, means are the ends, tacet, SuWho, kurt

    Seriously?  Do you think physicians are responsible for the cost of health care?  Not even close.  Look to the insurance companies.  THAT'S what needs to be reformed.

    As far as the AMA... they're losing members like flies, they do NOT represent the best interest of their doctors (in fact, quite the opposite), and to give their positions any sort of credence as to belonging to most physicians--you're dead wrong.

    We get raped by the AMA in many ways, just as the patients are raped by the health care system.  Know who's profiting most?  Hint: It is not the doctors.

    •  I am very glad to hear AMA membership (3+ / 0-)

      is declining. I hope the doctors who leave the organization will network with each other and form another organization that better meets their own needs and their patients' needs.

      But of course it's AMA that has the backing of industrial money, and you won't... until you become big enough to be worth buying.

      One possible way to resist that might be to focus more, to the extent possible, on international medical societies. Simply because these are larger they will be more expensive for industry to buy. Also, they less likely to get caught in questionable American medical provincialisms (such as over-prescription of methylphenidate without cross-societal evidence for the diagnosis).

      •  Here's an alternative (3+ / 0-)

        Like I said, doctors in general want what's best for their patients.  No one went into medicine to become rich, or if he/she did, then that person is going to be extremely disappointed in their future earnings.

        Personally, I have had 12 years of education to become fully trained and board certified in my specialty.  I think I actually deserve to make a good living.  I've put in the time and effort, and my field is not overly represented, but even so, I'm not going to be able to retire in 5 years.

        Where does all this "rich doctor" nonsense come from?  

        http://docs4patientcare.org/...

        •  Sadly, the Heritage Foundation is speaking (6+ / 0-)

          at the annual meeting for 2012.  Many of the members of D4PC are rather rightward leaning.  To me that's irrelevant... I want to see everyone have access to quality health care from physicians.  Period.

          •  Try PNHP. (0+ / 0-)

            Physicians for a National Health Plan. There you may find the politics more in keeping with your own.

            Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

            Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

            by Kitsap River on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 05:24:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Personally, I think everyone deserves (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CayceP

          to make a good living. Do you think you deserve to make more than others?

          Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

          Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

          by Kitsap River on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 05:21:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are a number of reasons (0+ / 0-)

            why doctors should make more money than the typical American.

            Making five to ten times as much is not justified.

            In much of Europe, doctors make about twice the average income per person, which is about right in my opinion.

        •  basic math (0+ / 0-)
          Where does all this "rich doctor" nonsense come from?
          bill*#patients/hour*2200

          $70*3*2200=$462,000 year gross

          -$60,000 office space
          -$35,000 staffer 1
          -$35,000 staffer 2
          -$20,000 staffer health insurance
          -$15,000 malpractice (GP) cover (except CA, NY, NJ)
          -$10,000 accounting and licensing
          -$7,000 supplies and utilities

          ~$280,000 pretax net

          Figuring out how much the doctor is raking in is a favorite patient activity.

    •  Not at all (8+ / 0-)

      The criticism, such as it is, is specifically directed at the AMA, which purports to represent the medical community. The point of the piece, if i need to explain, is to observe this posturing and wonder out loud if this is bad thing, suggesting a deep erosion of values that we claim as a society to hold. Take from that what you will.

      However, since this is not the first comment to suggest that the AMA does not represent all it claims, I have to ask a question: where have you people been? The state of the debate is well known -- people overwhelmingly oppose ACA and overwhelmingly approve of its components. The disparity in money spent on advocacy by opponents vs supporters is also well known. The state of the debate reflects a one sided conversation. If the medical community supports good health care for all, what is the excuse for silence?

      I don't wish to simplify the complexities of a contemporary Doctor's life; nor do I think that there are solutions to the growing medical crisis that will not cause painful adjustment. But if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, then we are truly insane if we fail to comprehend to poverty of life we are chosing.

    •  The AMA doesn't "rape" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River

      anyone. Please consider a different term to describe unfairness or inequality.

      It gives a lovely light.

      by CayceP on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:29:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The AMA opposed Medicare... (7+ / 0-)

    http://www.ama-assn.org/...

    They want to be able to make all the money they possibly can off the ill and the dying.  BUT they don't want anybody enforcing standards or penalties for malpractice, other than them.

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 06:05:43 PM PDT

  •  loved all three books (2+ / 0-)

    movie #1 left out a lot of important details

    the intentional parallels were startling

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 06:54:10 PM PDT

  •  One last thing re: funding of residencies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, Killer of Sacred Cows

    The funding for GME (training doctors) is completely dependent upon medicare funding it.  I think the AMA would like to be able to divorce the two, but so far, they're conjoined and have been for decades.  This is why there aren't enough of X doctors trained, in general.

    •  Ha! Doubleplus misinformed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Kitsap River, ladybug53

      Let's set the record straight: Medicare makes payments to teaching hospitals (not all hospitals where there are training doctors) for a portion of the (not the entire) added costs of associated with running a training program.

      But traing doctors are a tremendous cost savings to hospitals.  It is the training doctors who support hospitals and American healthcare.

      Residency training is when doctors coming out of medical school learn the nuts and bolts to their chosen area of specialization.  For a period of 3 - 8 yrs, the trainees functions fully as doctors: admitting patients making diagnoses, ordering tests, giving medications, performing surgeries, setting borken bones, etc.  But they do so for a fraction of the cost that doctors out of training make.

      During my internship (complete with actual 36 hr shifts in the ICU), I was paid $22k/yr, and during my residency I never made more than $30k/yr.  The full-time staff physicians in the hospitals I worked at were paid 6 figure salaries.  There were 40-50 of us trainees, and less than 20 staff physicians.  Go ahead and do the math: without the trainees around, the hospital would have to had at least double the size of its staff and triple it's labor costs.

      It is the training doctors who make the hospitals work, and do so for pennies on the dollar.  It is the training doctors who make Medicare work: there is currently no other way that so much necessary medical work can get done so cheaply.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:10:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The AMA is engaged in keeping the number of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    doctors down and the profits for providers of equipment and drugs up.

  •  That seems to indeed be the case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    and I frankly find it pathetic.

  •  I really liked the books and the movie was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    mostly faithful to the first book.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 12:37:50 AM PDT

  •  There's A HG Wiki Out There, You Know... (0+ / 0-)

    I found this pretty amazing on a number of different levels.

  •  It's a great book (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdinStPaul

    I haven't seen the movie.  There are lots of themes at work - mainly, a society that is totally divided by wealth.  Health care outcomes are clearly totally different.  One society is using home spun remedies while the other is highly advanced.  Fits America of today all too well.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 03:59:04 AM PDT

  •  We already are Panem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sagebrush Grouse, kurt

    Look at our relations to the third world were our standard of living exists based on child labor and pOverty elsewhere.  The difference between starvation of District 12 and the obscene luxuriousness of the Capitol is precisely what going from Bangledesh or Haiti to the US with its cluelessness is like

    I read these as an allegory for the status and attitudes of the US

    Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

    by Mindful Nature on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:23:23 AM PDT

  •  Thank You - N/T (0+ / 0-)

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:51:54 AM PDT

  •  The Social Transformation of American Medicine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sagebrush Grouse, Kitsap River

    Is an excellent source on the history of the AMA and its longstanding campaign to establish a monopoly over the provision of health care in the US. The author is Paul Starr--it's an academic book but highly readable.

    Two of the most fascinating chapters have to do with the lobbying efforts on the part of the AMA to pass the medical practice acts we have in each state today and to oppose early efforts to establish a national health care system and promote private insurance instead.

    Under the guise of patient safety and eliminating "quacks," in the late 19th century the AMA mounted a campaign to pass laws in each state that define any and all forms of health care practice, applied to any and all human diseases, ailments, or conditions, real or imaginary (yes, that language is in many MPAs) as the practice of medicine requiring providers to be licensed as MDs or DOs in order to practice legally.

    The real intent, and it was a very successful one, was to eliminate competition from a wide range of practitioners whose modalities at the time were considered mainstream--naturopaths, homeopaths, midwives, chiropractors, podiatrists, bonesetters, etc. The medical practice acts that the AMA successfully lobbied for made each of these practices the unlicensed practice of medicine, which is a felony in most states.

    The only practitioners who survived were those who, like chiropractors and podiatrists, successfully lobbied for their own practice acts to legally define their modalities as distinct from the practice of medicine and exempt from the medical practice act. There were other factors that contributed to the demise of homeopathy and naturopathy, but for midwives sexism, racism, and xenophobia created a perfect storm that the profession never recovered from until it became a branch of nursing, which from the beginning has been under the thumb of medicine.

    And while AMA membership may be down, state medical societies--whose political agendas are coordinated with the AMA--constitute a powerful lobby that, for the most part, has successfully fought back efforts on the part of "mid-level" and alternative providers to establish independent and/or legal practice.

    •  Washington state's an interesting case. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder, ladybug53

      Here, both physician's assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (ARNPs) are legally able to practice and to prescribe as general practitioners. The PAs cannot open their own practice, and must work in a hospital, medical group, or medical practice.

      Example: I expect to have a colonoscopy performed sometime in the near future, and am meeting with a PA who is part of the clinic's roster of practitioners in a couple of weeks for a full workup; I have a lot of medical conditions that they need me to tell them about and to discuss with them. I was told that the PA can perform everything except the procedure.

      The ARNPs, who must be able by law to consult with a physician, are allowed to open their own practices. In a town near me, a group of three ARNPs decided to open a practice together. They wanted to work for themselves rather than working for a physician, so they hired a physician to work for them instead.

      Naturopaths are allowed by law to practice here as GPs as well.

      Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

      Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

      by Kitsap River on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 05:58:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  WA is a progressive state for health care (0+ / 0-)

        What we're talking about here is competition in the health care marketplace. It's one thing when alternative practitioners are underground and illegal, but another altogether when they're able to compete in the health care market as licensed, regulated, and legal providers.

  •  Excellent Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    My kids (11 year old twin girls) introduced me to the HG and I've been thinking about the GOP as the Hunger Games party.  (And about writing a diary about it).  But yours is excellent and I'm looking forward to the rest in the series.

    For example:

    "Divide and Conquer" -- pitting the Districts against one another, just like the GOP pits white v. black; private workers v. public; religious against secular; "real Americans" v. "coastal elites."

    Class Warfare (Top down): the luxuries of the Capital v. the oppression of the Districts

    Social Darwinism -- survival of the fittest in the Games

    False Hope -- The GOP says everyone can be rich; President Snow's explains to Seneca why they let one person live at the end of the games (preserve hope to prevent rebellion).

    The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

    by Upper West on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 06:19:17 PM PDT

    •  Thank you so much (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Upper West

      Your list looks a lot like mine.

      I sincerely hope you can find some time to write about your thoughts springing from HG - you know you are in the presence of good writing when it inspires you to do something with the ideas it contains.

      •  My kids (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sagebrush Grouse

        were "early adopters" of the Hunger Games.  Their fervor (2-3 years ago when they first read it) clued me in that this would be a Harry Potter-type phenomenon (though not as big because of the inherent disturbing nature of the premise).  What's interesting to me is that parents are much more disturbed than the kids.  I read the book and saw the film, but would not want to see it again.  My kids, on the other hand, were ready to see it again the following day!  (And have done so a few times.)

        The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

        by Upper West on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:19:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For Adults, Hunger Games (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Upper West

          leaves us with the erie sensation that the dystopian modality is closer than we might have thought (I think this comes from more than just the Reality TV hook). With the benefit of hindsight, we know we (or some of us, at one time or another) have been to Panem before (a subject of a future piece in this series). Children are not burdened with this knowledge, though I for one hope that this story sticks with them and informs them later in life about the fragility of true freedom.

          •  Maybe so (0+ / 0-)

            although I'm not sure what my "Panem" would be.  But I think fear of losing a child is perhaps the greatest fear of a parent, analogous to a child's fear of losing a parent. Kids killing kids falls into the first category, but not the second, so maybe that's why kids are not as disturbed as adults.  Certainly, there are great films I saw before I had kids, like Lorenzo's Oil or Black Robe, which had suffering or killing of kids, that I would have a problem seeing now.

            The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

            by Upper West on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:50:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I noticed the alternative medicine motif in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sagebrush Grouse

    The Hunger Games (1) the first time I read it, and I've read it four times.

    I'm in recovery from a surgical procedure and part of my recovery requires me to lie still for as long as 30 minutes at a time. I make the time pass faster by reading. That's how I read The Hunger Games four times.

    (1) The first volume, entitled The Hunger Games, is also the name of the trilogy as a whole.

    "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-55404-900-8

    by Kimball Cross on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:35:26 AM PDT

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