Celebrity Hype and I: The Hunger Games

I love Suzanne Collins.  Her writing is honest and strong.  She writes lyrically, yet efficiently.  She isn’t afraid to tackle tough topics, and she does so admirably.  To say that she is my favorite author is an understatement.

Yet, I’d like to note that I loved Ms. Collins long before The Hunger Games hit book shelves.  You see, she’s multitalented.  She’s authored a picture book and a Middle Grade series–which was devoured in our household.  She’s also quiet and poised.  Not to mention, I’ve heard from a writer friend who went to school with Ms. Collins that she’s sweet and kind and smart and funny.

She is one of the very few celebrities I give credence to.  You see, in the midst of the social media trap that writers find themselves in–blogging, tweeting, FBing, etc, etc, etc–Ms. Collins found a place in the heart of readers nationwide because of her storytelling abilities.  Not because she pandered to the masses.  Not because she wore slinky outfits in her author photo and not because she behaved badly on national television.

I’m just going to throw this out there: I don’t like celebrities–as a general rule.  If I had to be honest, I’d say my disdain for many of them is as close to prejudice as I get.  Funny that I want to be an author.  That I want my books on book shelves and nightstands and libraries across the globe.  Quite hypocritical actually.

But let me elaborate.  What I don’t like is the God/Goddess pedestals we put celebrities on whether they deserve it or not.  I don’t like that famous actors can act naughty and rude and pretentious and spoiled and still be looked upon as role models.  I don’t like that rock stars can rock rehab centers often enough to have their names permanently etched on a waiting list for the next “oopsy” and our kids LOVE them and want to be like them.

I think “celebrity” sends many, many wrong messages to our children about what success is and what being great really means.  I think reality shows that glamorize teen pregnancies and bitchy housewives set the tone for low and misguided expectations for America’s youth.  Heck, for its adults, as well.

I hate that compassionate nurses and great teachers get paid celebrity pocket change, while some celebrities with extra-large wallets who are greatly admired by youngsters don’t have a compassionate or generous bone in their bodies.  It just seems so…wrong.

On the other hand, I love that some celebrities are quiet, poised, sweet, kind, passionate, compassionate, smart and funny.  I love that some celebrities make my children really think about the society in which they live.  I love that these celebrities aren’t afraid to make a positive impact.  I just wish there were more of them.

But then again, maybe there are, and I just don’t know about them.  After all, squeaky wheels get the oil and the kind of celebrities I admire aren’t squeaking.  They are busy working.

The Hunger Games movie opens tomorrow morning.  At 12:01, I will be sitting in a theater with a gaggle of teens waiting breathlessly to see the film adaptation of my all-time favorite book–one that takes a clear stance on the “reality” of today’s entertainment and the impact it has on our society.

Kudos, Suzanne Collins.  I wouldn’t interrupt my sleep for anyone but you and your Hunger Games.

How about you, dear readers, what are your thoughts on celebrity-ism in today’s world?  How do you think reality shows have skewed our realities?  Who is your favorite celeb and why?  What type of celebrity role model do you cringe at?

Curious minds are really, really curious!

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4 responses to “Celebrity Hype and I: The Hunger Games

  1. LOVE this post! I once heard of a basketball player referred to as a hero by a radio NPR reporter. I got so mad I actually wrote a letter to the editor. What makes a basketball player a hero? They were talking about his playing. He hadn’t done anything heroic or self-sacrificing. In fact, that story may have led, in part, to the theme of self-sacrifice in my book! 9/11 also led to that theme and I can tell you where I look for heroes. Not on a game court or on the big screen. Heroes are the people who sacrifice their time, their money and yes, even their safety to help others. I do have celebrity heroes. There are a few out there. I’ve always enjoyed Harrison Ford’s movies, but I love HIM because he spends his spare time flying helicopters around looking for lost hikers in California and he does it QUIETLY. No hype. No jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa shouting look at me. He just does it.

    • Victoria,

      Thanks for sharing your views. I’m glad I’m not the only one who believes our hero worship is a bit misguided. Harrison Ford is a great actor and a wonderful man, by all accounts.

      I love your last line: No jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa shouting look at me. He just does it.

      Yes, that’s what great people do. They live by their values regardless of what their day job is.

      Hugs~

  2. Fabulous post, Cat! We’re not celebraty watchers in our house either. People with morals are who we’ve tried to get our kids to admire – and they’re darn good kids so I think we’ve managed.

    I adore the HG as well, but I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll see the movie. I’m going to wait and see how others feel for a bit. I’ve been so disappointed over some movies of my favourite books – if I’m going to disappointed I’d rather not see it at all. I really, really hope it’s great though!

    • Jemi, I don’t doubt for a second that your children are good kids. Namely because the most important role-model in their lives is such a wonderful person. Likewise for all those kids you teach. They are truly blessed.

      As to HG. I was not disappointed. A few tweaks to show the audience things that don’t translate well from back story and inner thoughts, a few characters missing because of the time crunch and depth building ability, and a few changes, but none that significantly impact the value of the movie.

      Lionsgate did a fabulous job of staying true to the core of the novel. I’m not a huge fan of the cinamatography style as a whole (that more jumpy, rapid panning that has become popular), but once I got used to it, it was fine. Also, I can see that it lends to the anxiety and disorientation that Katniss and Peetah must feel in their roles. In that respect, it worked.

      I think the casting was well-done. My only complaint is that I didn’t see enough Cinna or Gale–my two faves after Katniss. But, that is also true in the novel. We just have more pages to connect with them when reading is all. Effie and Ceasar captured the essence of the Capitol and Snow made my stomach quiver. He was PERFECT.

      I’m not sure if the movie should be PG13, and thankfully we didn’t see any younguns in the theater. By the novel’s very nature, the story is brutal. Though they did handle the violence well. Nothing gratutious. Fifteen is about the youngest age to see this, in my opinion.

      I would see it again, if that helps. And for two of the kids last night who hadn’t read the book first, they were both begging to borrow copies. A third had only read the first novel in the trilogy and said he was going to download the other two on his kindle right away. He doesn’t read. Suzanne Collins has definitely touched some lives with her writing and I’m glad they made it into a movie to hook even more.

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