Monday, November 08, 2010

The Hunger Games, FTW

This weekend, after blitzing through the trilogy as fast as I could convince anyone to lend me the books, I finished Mockingjay. They're action-packed fun reads. For me, that makes them enjoyable lit-candy. But if I was a thirteen year-old girl today, these books would resonate in a powerful way.

You see, the protagonist of the series, Katniss, is under scrutiny almost all the time. In several sections of the books, she's being filmed and broadcast across her country, and she knows all too well that any wrong move will doom her death. For kids growing up in the Facebook-reality TV-instant messenger world we live in, they must really identify with this girl.

We're warned every day that what we post on our social networking sites can derail our abilities to find & keep a job. Google Buzz is being sued for privacy invasion. A college kid used Twitter to share videos of his roommate having sex--and the roommate posted his suicide note on Facebook before jumping off the George Washington bridge.

If you were a teenager hearing all of this, you'd be a little scared. For those of us who grew up in the 70s & 80s, TV is about entertainment. The Internet is a great way to find information and catch up with friends. But to us, they're still virtual. Their power is removed from us, kept an arm's length away by the security of the screen.

Today's kids see the Internet and the real world as extensions of each other. To them, the screen is perfectly permeable.

While I read The Hunger Games trilogy, I thought about how unfair it was that Katniss's actions in a ridiculous TV game show should be held against her, her family and her nation. When my daughter reads it, it will make perfect sense.

Isn't that terrifying?

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