I am not a fan of mass spectator sport. The best that can be said for TV sport is that it’s like trying to diet by watching someone else eat a salad. If I wanted to be a little more pointed I would say that mass spectator sport is in essence a lot of losers staring at a few winners. Like mass consumption, mass spectatorship is predicated on a trick- that you can buy something you don’t have.
And while we are on the subject, there is nothing more profoundly dishonest than the plea to keep politics out of mass spectator sport. Since before the days of Rome, sport has been used for to further the agenda of whoever is staging the games.
‘The Hunger Games’ satirises this to great effect with the story of a young girl from a loser background that reveals hidden depths in the public spotlight. For Catniss Everdeen, success or failure in America’s dystopic future hinges on whether she can overcome brutal, ruthless enemies and win over the crowd to defeat the dark forces that brought her to the public arena as a ritual sacrifice.
The Hunger Games in turn refers to Carrie -the 1970 novel about the ugly duckling girl who reveals hidden, devastating, destructive power over the brutal high school crowd that torments her.
Girl on Fire
Well, it seems our dystopia hurtles nearer by the day, and if the Neo-Cons get their way, we will all be living in a global high school where the nerds sit at the back of the class in terror and the Anglo Saxon jocks rule the campus and the playing field. We have been offered front row seats at the spectacle of a middle-aged retreat into adolescent fantasy where ‘WE’ win game after game in an endless summer of rugged Anglo Saxon sport.
All of which brings me to the Winter Olympic Games.
Because if Russia is a kid in high school then she is Carrie, And if Russia is a place in our dystopic future then she is District 12
Another girl on fire
Carrie has a ‘weird’ Christian mother, which means she does not participate in the social life of small town America. And since her difference marks out as the loser, the different one, she serves as a perfect vehicle for the ‘popular’ kinds to sharpen their corporate social claws on.
This never-ending hate campaign is orchestrated by a malignant WASP chick that uses persecution as a means of validating her own control of the group. Of course given half a chance, Carrie turns out to be really quite beautiful, which revelation drives the WASP contingent to an ever-greater frenzy of hatred. So too, with Catniss of the Hunger Games, whose beauty wins the heart of even the jaded bloodthirsty crowds and drives her arch enemy, the President, to vow her death.
Julia Lipnitskaia Girl on ice….
The climax of both stories brings us to a symbolic ‘coming out’. In Carrie it is the high school ball, her chance for social acceptability. Of course the WASP’s do not want this to happen and so they decide to ruin it for her. The plan is to pour pigs blood all over her-‘pigs blood for a pig’.. In the Hunger Games the final, dramatic, public contest is also rigged against our heroine, only this time she is fated to actually die at the hands of her classmates.
See the parallels?
Well let me make it clear for you
Liberal WASP society hates Russia, the international weirdos with the Christian mother, who just do not seem to get with the liberal programme, who just do not seem to ‘get’ who it is running things around here. And they intend to make sure that Catniss/Carrie/Russia does not get a chance to enjoy a day in the sun. ‘Oh no Sireee Bob, definitely not!’
So here they come dressed in rainbow flags, talking about gay rights and open drains and Chechnya , and so on, in an endless dreary parade of complaints and scarcely concealed insults all of which are supposed to take the shine off Russia’s day:
‘Why do you wear those funny clothes Carrie? Do you have to go down on your knees and pray all night Carrie? – Oh that’s such a shame! Oh, we’re so glad we’re not you!’
‘Oh, Catniss you’re sure to die! Oh, but we’ll be sure to give you a wonderful burial!’
Falling over themselves to be the ones to tip the pigs blood on Carries prom dress. Falling over each other to be the one to put the blade through Catniss’s head.
The original girl on fire
Зоя Анатольевна Космодемьянская; Zoya
But they should perhaps tread a little more carefully. In the end the WASPS pushed Carrie over the edge and…well I won’t spoil the story for you if you haven’t read it. And if you have, well you know what happens…
And in the Hunger Games, the malignant manipulative president finds that he had rather more on his hands than he bargained for.
Inside Mother Russia, as inside a Babushka doll, you may find a Catniss/Carrie/Zoya,
Slave driver, the table is turn; )
Catch a fire, so you can get burn, now.
Slave driver, the table is turn;
Catch a fire: gonna get burn.
Bob Marley, Catch A Fire