or, Why I think the second Hunger Games film will be a spark that reduces the US Empire to ashes, and in general, why we need to manifest a subversive potential of pop-culture
by Panagioti, EF! Newswire
That’s right, I just referenced The Hunger Games and Adele in one cheesy fell swoop… No shame here. I got nothing to hide. I want to see us usher in an era where it’s commonplace for experiences of popular entertainment to end in a riot, ala Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 Rite of Spring debut. Yes, I want people to leave Adele’s concerts (when she resumes touring after the new album, allegedly later this year) setting cop cars ablaze—in the rain—either with joy over her beautiful voice, or disgust over her obscene commercial success. It doesn’t much matter. Those riots will be like warm-ups for the big one in the Fall…
[Tired of watching the same old anti-globalization indymedia riot porn re-runs? Check out this trailer…]
On November 22, when the second film in The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, is released, I think we should anticipate every shopping plaza surrounding the corporate theaters to be ransacked, with every police station demolished (or the “Peacekeepers” as Katniss Everdeen knows them), and every building controlled by the State (“The Capitol”) occupied and turned into revolutionary day care centers where young children can be cared for while the rest of us are ripping up concrete and planting fruit tree forests across interstate super highways.
That’s right. No more fucking around.
But for real, there is an obvious shift happening around you. And pop-culture is merely one component of that, but it is not one that should be underestimated. From Avatar, to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bruce Springsteen’s last album Wrecking Ball, the re-release of Les Miserables, the re-re-release of Lord of the Rings, the new young-reader craze Divergent, and True Blood… (Ok, maybe not True Blood. But who knows what Sookie could do next season with the failure of the Vampire Rights Amendment?!)
Those of us who dream big should view these books, albums, shows and films as opportunities to speak broadly to the masses of people beaten down by apathy and consumerism. The rational and intellectual critique tells us that this phenomenon of rebellion-themed pop culture is an outlet for dispossessed people to feel a vicarious rebelliousness through fictitious characters or celebrities.
But if we refuse to view it this way, and instead see them as symbols and tools for anxious insurgents to run wild with (as Anonymous did with V for Vendetta), then we can turn a small release valve into a gaping hole for a twisted human society to tear its way through industrial civilization and find something better outside of it (yeah, eat your heart out, Derrick Jensen!).
A real eco-rebellion is brewing like never before, and pop culture isn’t the only sign of it. Take a look at the rise of indy flics like The East, Wrenched, Who Bomber Judi Bari?, and even Beasts of the Southern Wild, all traveling the film fest circuit in the past two years. Outside of the media world, take the tar sands resistance as another measuring stick. The liberal NGO Credo has already recruited about 60,000 people this year to sign a commitment to direct action against the KXL pipeline, and other groups who have never previously endorsed civil disobedience, such as the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity, have called to their vast memberships to step it up as well. Most of these folks won’t make it to the EF! Rendezvous this Summer…
But they may well make it out to watch Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lawrence on the big screen, as their characters use a fictitious pop culture reality TV phenomenon (the “games” which the trilogy itself is named after) to ignite full-scale insurrection.
I have a feeling you won’t want to miss it.