Takedown: The Obama Games

SusanOp Ed28 Comments

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Be ready. This week’s takedown is allllmost unbelievable in its stupidity. Almost. It is so absurd that nobody can honestly be taking it seriously. Right? Right? Tell me that nobody can be taking this seriously.

President Snow

Get it?

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.

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Susan

I am old and wise.Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.
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SusanTakedown: The Obama Games

28 Comments on “Takedown: The Obama Games”

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  1. Avatar of Sarah
    Sarah

    It always saddens me when there aren’t any negative comments on articles like this, as though all have been deleted by the author. I’ll be surprised to return to see that mine is still here.

    Even if it isn’t, I’ll leave a countering article anyway. It helps put in perspective and better articulate how Snow captures Obama’s “carefully crafted and preserved facade of compassion” — a facade that is used to compel his country to remain helpless and dependent in expectance of distorted provision. Katniss’s problem isn’t inequality; throughout the story she comes to detest the Capitol people and their opulence, rather preferring to fend for herself than rely on Snow’s government for “help.” Her real problem is that Snow recognizes her self-capability and wants to destroy her for it, much like liberal government has little need for those who don’t want or need it to thrive.

    “Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” Illustrates the Horrors of Big Government” by John Tamny

     

    “Excessive government IS ownership, of the fruits of our labor, and our personal freedoms. Katniss and Peeta are ultimately fighting to get their lives back from the greedy hands of the politicians in the Capitol. Back in the real world, something similar is at work. Though agreement is not uniform, and our government not nearly as oppressive as the one in The Hunger Games, many Americans simply want to be left alone, to get their lives back. The Hunger Games seems to channel this natural, and very American, urge to be free.”

     

    1. Avatar of Susan
      Susan

      I appreciate your comment (except for the part about negative comments being deleted, if you’d like to see something else of mine that got heated, you can look here:  http://persephonemagazine.com/2012/01/10/takedown-bald-barbie/).  Truthfully, most of the readers of this site have similar political leanings as I do, but I also don’t think that the President-Snow-Obama idea is particularly controversial.

      ““Excessive government IS ownership, of the fruits of our labor, and our personal freedoms.”

      This hugely simplifies things.  There are different kinds of government – as we all know – and making a blanket statement about government as oppression is taking the easy way out.  “Many Americans simply want to be left alone” – so President Obama is the one legislating my uterus?  Fighting to make sure gay people can’t get married because what happens in the bedroom is the government’s business?  He passed a bill for health care reform, one which has helped to literally save the lives of many people who were in terrible situations.  And that makes him oppressive?

      1. Avatar of Sarah
        Sarah

        My point is only that President Snow does things for the population that make it seem as though he providing for them — glorifying the games to the point that Districts 1 and 2 take pride in competing, showering winning districts with food and gifts, and offering them hope of a better future where rebellion won’t destroy their nation, the exact reason the games are invented.

        I will reiterate that I see all three of the aforementioned —  universal health care, the “pro-choice” platform, and legalizing gay marriage — as “distorted provision.” The populous may think these things are good, when in the long run they could potentially backfire (financially, physically, and emotionally) and leave us in a helpless state of dependence on a manipulative and power-hungry government like Snow’s.

        After all, Katniss’s mother didn’t depend on or need President Snow for health care. She worked hard learning how to heal others on her own and made a living doing it through trade with neighbors in District 12 — government-free. In my comparison of Panem to the U.S. and what could potentially happen with universal health care specifically, Katniss’s mother would be forced into healing with possibly even less reimbursement incentive than what she receives in the books.

        P.S. I appreciate the debate and am happy that my comment was accepted and not deleted :]

        1. Avatar of Juniper
          Juniper

          I will reiterate that I see all three of the aforementioned —  universal health care, the “pro-choice” platform, and legalizing gay marriage — as “distorted provision.” The populous may think these things are good, when in the long run they could potentially backfire (financially, physically, and emotionally) and leave us in a helpless state of dependence on a manipulative and power-hungry government like Snow’s.

          Europe has its problems – there’s no denying it – but there are many countries in the EU who partake in these points and we have yet to start sending two children from each country to fight to the death.

          ETA: Katniss’s mother desperately needed healthcare assistance. As is referenced several times in the books by the fact she laments she can often only ease a person’s suffering as they die. She has little to no capacity to offer care of a significant standard.

          1. Avatar of QoB
            QoB

            Whereas in the books the Capitol physicians can heal a wide range of potentially catastrophic injuries. Also, what you said :)

            Also also, if Barack Obama were a European politician he’d mayyybe be classified as ‘centrist’.

        2. Avatar of [E] Selena MacIntosh*
          [E] Selena MacIntosh*

          We don’t delete comments.

          The only people who believe Snow is compassionate are the people who don’t have to put their children in a lottery. He doesn’t promise anyone in the districts a better future. The games are to remind the people in the districts that they don’t matter, they are disposable, and that they have no hope of ever changing their fortunes. The people of the districts don’t fancy Snow as compassionate.

          You know the Affordable Health Care Act isn’t universal health care, right? And that access to antibiotics and actual doctors is superior to getting herbs from a neighbor?

        3. Avatar of Susan
          Susan

          President Snow does things that make it seem like he is providing for them (it’s a stretch, but I’ll give it to you).  President Obama seems like he is providing for the people by offering health care.  The difference, though, is that government health care to those who can’t afford it saves lives and saves money.  Not just theoretically.  I don’t want to argue what I think will happen, or what you think will happen.  Planet Money did a podcast on a great study, and I wrote about it here:

          http://persephonemagazine.com/2012/07/10/takedown-the-five-best-sentences-ever/

          It’s easy to say “this seems good so it must be bad,” but the science shows us that it actually *does* provide for the people.

    2. Avatar of [E] Selena MacIntosh*
      [E] Selena MacIntosh*

      Wait.

      Katniss’s problem isn’t inequality;

      How did you get there? The people living in the districts have to send their children to kill each other once a year, because the districts are powerless. The districts are powerless because the people in the capital have all the wealth, and sole access to the resources to make more wealth. The sole purpose of the districts is to funnel resources to the wealthy in the capital, including the children the capital use as entertainment. Katniss is pretty much a poster child for why inequality is terrible.

      Snow’s issue with Katniss isn’t her plucky self-determination, it’s because she inspires (or, rather, the idealized version of Katniss Panem embraces, more than Katniss Actual)  the 99% of Panem’s citizens who are slaves to the wealthy to fight back.

      Panem actually has a lot in common with the ideas of Objectivism put forth by Libertarian Girl Wonder, Ayn Rand. Rand believed that employees receiving pay for their work made them parasites, draining the wealth from the business owners who deserved it. Rand would have been crazy about Panem.

      1. Avatar of Sarah
        Sarah

        To first say that the Capitol has all the wealth and power and then to say that the districts are those that funnel  resources is a major contradiction.

        Those with the resources are those who have the power.

        It is when the districts finally start to realize this that they revolt. They could have revolted at any time, but they are manipulated by the idea of hope. Snow even says that hope is a stronger tool to control than fear — much like the idea of “change.” (Hence the appropriate illustration at the top of this page.)

        Yes, they are slaves to the wealthy, but what is more, they are slaves to those in power who pretend to provide. (Both Snow and Obama are wealthy after all, are they not?) And yes, Katniss inspires the districts to fight back, but not because she points out inequality with those in the Capitol. In fact, she states that living in the Capitol with wealth makes no difference — “If you had any delusions about having power, I’d let them go now. Apparently, a Capitol pedigree is no protection here.  Maybe it’s even a liability. Katniss Everdeen, p. 50″

        She inspires the districts to fight back because they’ve allowed the government to control too much, especially when they have the resources to fend for themselves (i.e. the discovery of District 13′s existence). A smaller government (despite how it  may feel in one’s vagina) and fending for one’s self are ideas of the right, after all. If anything, Katniss is anti-government altogether, much like the stance of this article:

        “Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” Illustrates the Horrors of Big Government” by John Tamny

         

         

         

        1. Avatar of Susan
          Susan

          If smaller government is always good, anarchy would be the best.  But it isn’t.  There are things that the government can do, and should do, and actually, have a responsibility to do.

          I can see how Katniss is anti-government, but specifically, she is anti-tyranny.

  2. Avatar of Leezaleigh
    Leezaleigh

    If Pres Obama was actually Pres Snow, you would be put to death for posting such nonsense on your FB wall… in fact you probably wouldn’t be allowed/able to have a FB wall

  3. Avatar of Dormouse
    Dormouse

    I just had to laugh about this. The complete ignorance…it’s insulting to both the President and The Hunger Games.

  4. Avatar of Opifex
    Opifex

    1) Bailing out GM.

    How exactly was this one a bad thing? I know, not the point, but my head is hurting. GM payed back it’s loans almost two years ago and has since changed it’s business strategy and is making money again. Ok, yes if the government sold all it’s remaining stock in GM right now it would stand to loose 10 billion, but GM’s profitability is on the rise. Also, I know this is a tricky concept, but if the American auto industry tanked the fall out would be felt through pretty much every other industry in America, because they all rely on each other.

    Of course these seem to be the same people that think that UAW pension and health insurance demands caused GM to go bankrupt but also think that government subsidized health care is Satan’s own handiwork. Workers should just get sick and die I guess?

  5. Avatar of freckle [M]
    freckle [M]

    Ah. Ha. I didn’t know that we lived in an Once Upon A time like universe in which fictional characters don’t know they are fictional but are still bad and happen to be in high places.

    Because I totally think Dutch politician Geert Wilders is Voldemort, if we’re going to be like this.

    1. Avatar of wannabemusicologist
      wannabemusicologist

      I think that’s a totally legit thing to think. In terms of politics he basically is Voldemort; in terms of appearance, he has hair, even if it is bleached into a florescent blond.

  6. Avatar of Juniper
    Juniper

    Be ready. This week’s takedown is allllmost unbelievable in its stupidity. Almost. It is so absurd that nobody can honestly be taking it seriously. Right? Right? Tell me that nobody can be taking this seriously.

    I have no trouble believing this takedown, at least, no trouble believing that there are people who would take this seriously. The Hunger Games is set in a futuristic USA, not a random fictional country. Much of it doesn’t seem far fetched. I would just figure Snow for a republican, not a democrat.

    1. Avatar of Susan
      Susan

      That’s what I think is so, so absurd.  That people are saying “this is what Obama will bring!”  As though first step = health care for all, next step = brutal murders of teenagers for sport in order to keep the population down.

      REALLY?

      1. Avatar of Olivia Waite
        Olivia Waite

        This whole conspiracy was exposed when passages of the Affordable Care Act were found to contain provisions for delivering prescriptions medicines via musical silver parachutes.

    2. Avatar of Susan
      Susan

      And I think that part of the pull of it is that it doesn’t seem far-fetched, that it could happen.  Which is why we read dystopian novels, right?  But that they think that a) it’s imminent, and b) it will happen if we become more liberal boggles my mind.

      1. Avatar of Juniper
        Juniper

        It’s certainly part of the pull, it’s something just far enough removed that we can see it as fantastical but close enough that it’s genuinely thrilling. But yes, liberal is the way to go if the fantastical element is to stay that way. Not the other way round.

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