I chose that picture not because it is floating around Facebook (yet), but to illustrate what is being spread around: a completely absurd connection between The Hunger Games and President Obama.
A sampling of status updates:
“A total REVELATION of the USA led ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT… getting the nations ready to accept the demonic shifting… into a global dictatorship under Obama. HUNGER GAMES: movie revealing the new world order.”
“Need to go watch ‘Hunger Games’ … hearing it’s a great premonition of things to come if Obama nets a second term …”
“Hunger Games is a very entertaining film, I highly recommend it. I particularly like Donald Sutherland in his few scenes as President Obama… er uh Snow. He captures the aloofness, the carefully crafted and preserved facade of compassion, the ruthlessness, and most of all the complete antipathy for ordinary people.”
Now, in order to believe this crapdate, several things have to come together. First, you have to have a very, very poor ability to think critically. In The Hunger Games, there is a government, and that government is bad. In America, there is a government, and there are people that think that that government is bad. OHMYGOD RE-ELECT OBAMA AND YOU HAVE THE HUNGER GAMES IN REAL LIFE.
If you really, really want to, you can ignore all details and see it as evil government versus good citizens, and if you really, really want to, you can then make a tenuous connection between our government, which is led by Obama, and President Snow, based on the fact that you hate both of them. But if that is the case, there is no point in saying that “Snow = Obama” unless you also want to say “Cruella Deville = Obama” and “The Wicked Witch Of The West = Obama” and “Gargamel = Obama.” And while we are at it, “Obama = that jerk that cut me off in traffic” and “that jerk that cut me off in traffic = President Snow” and “Obama = President Snow.”
I get it. You think that Obama sucks. But because you think somebody sucks does not mean that every portrayal of a sucky person is an allegory for that person.
Next, you have to have a very, very poor understanding of politics. There are cries of “OBAMA! SOCIALISM!” because his policies tend toward having those in higher income brackets pay more taxes so as to pay for some of the social nets for those in lower income brackets.
This is not socialism. Socialism is characterized by state ownership of assets and a planned economy. But Obama wants to have universal health coverage! THAT MEANS HE IS A SOCIALIST! No, it doesn’t. It means that he wants to have every person in America covered by insurance. Which, by the way, was an idea originally put out there by conservatives. But out of the mouth of Obama, it means socialism. Right? No. Wrong.
You would think, wouldn’t you, that socialists would loooove Obama and all of his socialistic socialized socialism. But they don’t. He didn’t nationalize the banks when he had a chance. His health care bill was a compromise and left out the government option. He continues to not run a country with state ownership of assets and a planned economy.
Says Billy Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA: “It makes no rational sense. It clearly means that people don’t understand what socialism is.”
By the way: public education reflects socialist values. As does the military. And also, all you “big government is bad” people: if you really love small government, get it out of my vagina.
And third, in order to accept this absurdity, you must have a really, really poor understanding of the books/movie. The most basic overview of the series is this: a dystopian world in which there are huge discrepancies between the easy-living Capitol residents and the oppressed peasantry. The people spouting off this bullshit are not incorrect when they say that this is a showdown between big government and the ordinary people, but that is where the analogy comes to a screeching halt.
Because it isn’t just big government versus the people. Even at its most basic, it is a study in inequality, and how that inequality destroys society. It isn’t one big socialist jerk seizing property and then forcing everybody to share and share alike — it is a small group of people (like maybe 1%) with an incredible amount of wealth living it up while a huge group of people (which leaves about 99%) have no chance of moving into the elite group, suffer massive inequalities, struggle just to get by, and are considered less-than-human by the completely out-of-touch-with-reality Capitol residents.
Because I am not sure exactly what makes Barack Obama so terrible according to those that hate him, other than wanting to “spread the wealth around” (which is the opposite of what happens in Panem), I looked for a website that would tell me. Let’s look and compare, shall we? From ConservativeWatchNews.org Obama’s six worst policies were:
1) Bailing out GM. Would Snow bail out anybody? For anything? He wouldn’t have to, because he owns everything.
2) “The energy farce.” He’s putting money into green technology. Snow doesn’t give a crap about the environment. Not one crap. He doesn’t give a crap about anything except what happens in the Capitol.
3) The Stimulus Bill. Wherein he spread the wealth around. How could this possibly be more different than what is happening in The Hunger Games?
4) “Socialized Health Care.” Have you read the books? Do you know what Katniss’s mom does for a living? Is she getting any resources from the government? There are people who say that with universal health care, the actual care will be rationed out. Unlike in America today, where you can only get it if you are wealthy. Oh wait, that’s what is happening in the book, only amplified. In Katniss’s world, the government has nothing to do with health care. The poor take care of each other with herbs. That they’ve gathered illegally from the forest. President Snow would never, not in one billion years, suggest universal health coverage.
5) Trying terrorists in American courts. According to the website, terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants. Snow doesn’t need any courts, because he controls everything. It would be absurd to suggest that he would give somebody due process.
6) Canceling the Missile Defense System. YES, SOMEBODY WHO IS NOT WILLING TO SPEND EXTRA MONEY ON WARS IS JUST LIKE WHAT A TYRANT WOULD DO.
My mind, it is boggled.
Anybody who has a shred of understanding of comparison and contrast, and a shred of understanding of Obama’s politics (which I took from a conservative website, so… that should be everybody), and a shred of understanding of how the books work knows that this dystopian society is not a picture of Big Government vs. Joe The Plumber. This dystopian society is a picture of gross inequalities, a catering of the government to a very small percentage of incredibly wealthy people, and the callous treatment of those who happened to be born in difficult circumstances.
My mouth is slackjawed at the absurdity of this crapdate. If you want to make a connection between Obama and Snow, sure, do it — but at least acknowledge that your connection goes only as far as “I don’t like either one” and leave it at that. Because that’s as far as logic will take you.
1The picture above was taken from http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/obama-style-posted-for-president-snow-of-the-hunger-games.html, which credits pixhunter.tumblr.com. The site has some really awesome designs, but I can’t find the one posted above at the actual site. I am imagining why it was taken down, and I can guess that either it was really popular and so the artist wants to do some copyrighting, or it was being taken in a way that the artist didn’t intend. I hope option #2.