Catching Fire to the Reign

19 May

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.

Defending the barricades, Les Miserables film

Defending the barricades, Les Miserables film

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.

6 Responses to “Catching Fire to the Reign”

  1. Woody Guthrie May 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

  2. Earth First! Journal Sonoran Office May 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    Don’t forget Bold Native….

  3. Earth First! Journal Sonoran Office May 20, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    So what you do is, come the premiere, take up your rifles and pull up all the pavers at your local CINEMARX 18, barricade the doors and sing some jaunty revolutionary songs…at least till the popcorn and sour patch kids run out, then take the Burlington Coat Factory and GAP kids and from there, Manhattan and then we take Berlin! But seriously, I’m gonna watch this shit in 3-D for added revolutionary ignition!

  4. parade-rainer May 20, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    well, i wish i could agree, but im not that hopefully and see these items of pop culture as statements by society and capital that they feel control over these emotions and issues.

    it’s obvious that crisis and widespread instability has been creeping to the forefront of the popular psyche, as it does every now and then. revolutionary and environmental concepts and struggles have been the centerpiece for stories for as long as they have been written, appealing to the “child-like” desires for a simpler and less damaged world. if we’re even to take the time to acknowledge these recent tid-bits of pop culture as anything out of the norm, i think they should be recognized as pushes by capitalism to secure terrain around it’s failings. anytime our desires manifest in popular culture, it’s capital and society claiming them as colonized space. we should be scared and saddened by each appeal of pop culture to us, as it showcases their assumed dominance of the issue. i mean, geez, it’s pretty easy to draw a line from that one star trek movie where they save the whales to hybrid cars for instance. as long as pop culture is outlining the ‘issues’ everyone will resort to pop culture for the solutions.

    regardless, there is very little precedence for anything to come from pop culture appealing to radical issues. if we’re hoping for the widespread parking lots on fire style insurrections you’re speaking to, we have more hope in sports riots. which is gross.

    ps. bold native? really?!? that’s no where near the realm of pop culture, is deeply offensive on many levels, and is just plain trash. cmon now.


  1. The Hunger Games™, Franchise-Branding, and Rebellion | News from the Front - June 24, 2013

    […] hope that Catching Fire’s release this November will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back (glad to see I’m not the only one) and bursts the dam holding back all of our simmering anger and frustration—that people will […]

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