Do you know what I’ve discovered? Some of my readers had a much unenlightened T-Day celebration in spite of my exhortation to “go forth, be grateful, and keep your mouth shut.” Not all, but some, tell me that they couldn’t resist talking about politics, religion, and bringing up past familial hurts between “pass the gravy” and “are there anymore mashed potatoes?” Apparently, bedlam ensued in some of their homes. Sigh—oh well, there’s always next year for an attempt at a redo! Maybe duct taping one’s mouth might help, but it would mean that no one would be able to eat any turkey.
Used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
WW and I had a delightful T-day, although it was laced with an underlying theme of stress as we tried to scrub the final proof of my personal life story of The Hunger Games of any errors—my book, Monsters’ Throwdown—which is due out within the next week or so. After hitting “approve final proof” on the publisher’s website (no turning back—last call people!), both our eyes caught a stray period (at the same time) that should have gone inside a parenthesis but slipped outside in response to an earlier edit. Auuugggh! Fortunately, it is not in the context of the story, but off in an obscure place about author data that few people care about except the author, but it will haunt me till the end of my days (this manuscript has been read 100 times in an attempt to scrub it clean of errors, and yet. . .). I’m exasperated and humbled, but I was slightly comforted today when I learned how often this happens: There exists “A Wicked King James Bible” on display in Washington, DC at the Folger Shakespeare Library because the compositors omitted one significant word from the seventh commandment in 1631 that got published across the land as: “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The way I see it—things could always be worse, and I could be headed for Hell like that publisher in 1631.
Speaking of The Hunger Games, WW and I slipped out to see the second installment while people were beating each other up during Black Friday—The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It was good—really good—although I can’t get comfortable with the premise that this is a story for kids about kids killing kids. That bothers me—a lot. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this is a dystopian post-apocalyptic tale about the 1% ruling the 99% that live in a destroyed America named Panem which consists of 12 districts that are controlled by the Capitol (1%). According to the late, great Roger Ebert, Panem is from the Latin “panem et circenses,” which “summarized the Roman formula, for creating a docile population: Give them bread and circuses.” The twelve districts lack decent jobs, decent places to live, decent safety regulations in their hard-scrapple jobs, and they are starving due to the regulations of the government. The Capitol has all the money, all the food, and all the comfort. They even have a juice that will help you purge your food in order to make room for more food. The Capitol sponsors a Darwinian type of game by choosing two children from each district to fight to the death every year—there can only be one winner. The prize is food for their district for a year and an upgraded lifestyle for the winner for the rest of their lives. (Talk about “trickle-down economics.”) All of this is done in a “survivor” game-show atmosphere. The TV audience is entertained and the people forget about their troubles or their need to rage against the machine (The Man). Hum, where have I heard the concept of that theme before?
Cartoonist: Rob Rogers || http://blogs.post-gazette.com/opinion/rob-rogers-cartoons
As WW and I were debating the ultimate message of the movie (man’s love grown cold toward their fellowman?), I glanced at the headlines in the news:
People Beat Each Other Up over Towels at Walmart: 2.8 Million Towels Sold on Thanksgiving
Black Friday 2013—the Modern Hunger Games
Black Friday Marred by Violence in Several States: Stabbings, Robberies, Mace Attacks
Black Friday Shopper Robbed of Big Screen TV by Assailant in Parking Lot that Shopper Stood in Line for Six Hours to Purchase—It Only Took Thief 30 Seconds to Wrestle TV from Shopper’s Hands and Escape
Walmart Holds Food Drive for Underpaid Employees—Refuses to Raise Minimum Wage
Republican Congress Ready to Pass $500 Billion Farm Bill that Benefits Businesses in their District but Poised To Cut $40 Billion in Food Stamps on Top of the $5 Billion Already Cut for People They Declare To Be “Takers.”
Pope Francis Attacks “Idolatry of Money”—Calls it Unfettered Capitalism—Urges Global Leaders to Fight Poverty and Growing Inequality
40% of Tea Baggers Consider Themselves To Be “Born-Again Christians”—60% of Republicans Consider Themselves To Be Christians and Their Party a Champion of Christian Virtues, but They Consider Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to be a Beacon of Truth for the Party and a Philosophy to be Touted
Republican Member of Congress Who Supported Drug Testing for Food Stamp Recipients Pleaded Guilty to the Purchase of Cocaine from an Undercover Agent in DuPont Circle—Doesn’t Get the Irony
Headline News from the Celestial Times: Jesus Wept!
Used by Permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
I am discovering that man’s love for his fellowman in America has grown so cold it is frozen tundra. For non-Bible readers, this is supposed to happen as a sign of the “end times” right before the destruction of the Earth by God. (Don’t ask!) What I find to be so ironic is that I don’t think Christians ever thought, nor do we ever think, that the “love grown cold” line has anything to do with us (just one of the deserved reasons for divine retribution against our dirty-little heathen countrymen). But from where I stand, I think it is a “pull the log out of your own eye before you attempt to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” kind of proclamation. In the past, it was the Christian churches that stood by with cold-hearted resolve and let some of the worst ravages of history take place: Southern Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians justified slavery as God’s command and fought to legalize it forever in the US; Lutherans and Catholics supported the systematic annihilation of 6 million Jews in Europe and turned a blind eye when their neighbors were taken away to the camps; the Dutch Reformed Church invented, established, and enforced Apartheid as a divine right in South Africa in a land that they stole from the people they oppressed, just to name a few “love grown cold” scenarios that took place within the borders of Christian nations.
Maybe the Youth Literature group that The Hunger Games were originally written for will see past the sheer entertainment value of the books and movies and the child-on-child violence, and grab hold of a stronger message: Love wins and hope triumphs. We could use a generation coming up after the Baby Boomers and the Boomers’ children who will turn against the cold-heartedness in our nation and “go to war” (in a manner of speaking) for the poor, the immigrant, the disenfranchised, and the underdog.
Steve Colbert|| http://www.colbertnation.com/
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”― Mahatma Gandhi
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”― Hélder Câmara, Dom Helder Camara: Essential Writings
“We got so much food in America we’re allergic to food. Allergic to food! Hungry people ain’t allergic to shit. You think anyone in Rwanda’s got a fucking lactose intolerance?!”― Chris Rock
“What makes the books and the films [The Hunger Games, brackets mine] compelling is the way they define anxieties and pop-culture obsessions in our everyday lives: anger over politicians, fascination with celebrities, a growing disgruntled underclass, addiction to reality shows and video games, the regularity of large-scale violent acts that monopolize TV coverage, and hateful outbreaks of bullying.” Susan Wloszczyna from Reviews—Roger Ebert.com (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Used by permission: Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant
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