Pondering the Hunger Games

A new movie has come out this week called “Hunger Games”.  Many of you probably have heard about it; it involves scenes of teenagers killing other teenagers.  Though I am not necessarily aligned with the politics of the Huffington Post, we Jews are taught to accept the truth from whomever it comes.  Tim King had this to say about the book,

While the action kept me turning the page, I couldn’t get past the fact that these are children who are not only dying, but doing the killing. Even Katniss isn’t above the fray, as she kills four Tributes herself. In one particularly harrowing scene, one boy murders a twelve-year old girl by trapping her in a net and thrusting a spear into her stomach; Katniss retaliates by killing the boy with an arrow to his neck. While not every death is played out this graphically, for me the idea that these kids are killing each other eclipses any other theme that might have been present. It’s just too evocative of Derrion Albert, who at Katniss’s age was beaten to death by five other teenagers outside of his high school a couple years ago, or of the more than five hundred Chicago youth murdered, mostly by other children, since 2008.

….and then concludes:

By focusing on action at the expense of introspection, the book and film miss an opportunity to teach a real lesson about cyclical violence, the role we all play in perpetuating it, and our responsibility to make the right decisions. The Hunger Games could have taught us that we don’t have to engage in violence or kill; that even when the odds aren’t ever in our favor, we can just choose to not play the game.

Those of us who were horrified by this past week’s terrorist murders of innocent Jews in France should think about the level of graphic detail we convey to our children in describing those murders and the degree to which we expose them to graphic murder in the world of fictional novels and film.  I know that when Leiby Kletzky was brutally murdered by a fellow Jew last summer, we were careful not to enter into the gory details with our kids.

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