The Mockingjay Effect

How the Hunger Games is transcending into the everyday…

Hello readers!

Last Saturday, my friend Kaeri and I embarked on our annual Christmas shopping adventure. It’s something we have been doing for almost 10 years (yeah, that doesn’t make me feel old…) and I look forward to it every holiday season – it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions!

Because we rarely see each other any more (I’m not really blaming CreComm, but I might be just a little bit), not only did we get some shopping in, but we also decided to hit up Cineplex Polo Park to see Mockingjay: Part 1, the latest instalment of The Hunger Games.

I read the books before the movies were made and while I didn’t love them, I have to acknowledge that Suzanne Collins has worked some brilliant concepts into her series. When I first read the books, I read them through the lens of my degree so I couldn’t help but analyze the political and revolutionary elements of the series. However, watching the most recent movie last weekend, I looked at those elements through a CreComm lens.

Here’s something that stood out to me:

The Propos
One of the most fascinating aspects of The Hunger Games series, seen most prominently in Mockingjay Part 1, is how everything in Panem is highly produced. The Hunger Games themselves are a reality TV show where the audience is encouraged to vote on their favourite competitors and encourage donors to send them care packages based on how well-liked they are. And Katniss as a symbol of the revolutionary movement = highly produced and marketed as something to sell. She’s a commodity to be controlled and sold. It bothers me so much. And as much as I know that Collins did this as a social commentary and as satire, I can’t stand it. And this has made me take a critical look at how advertising and and public relations can be used maliciously to contort messages and control public opinion and societal values. Crazy. So here’s a reminder to be aware of what messages you’re sending when you create campaigns. And to be aware of what your clients stand for.

Lastly, the Mockingjay Effect:
Mockingjay has been banned by one theatre company in Thailand because protesters have been using the three-finger salute from the books in peaceful protest against the military that organized a coup in early Spring of this year. This gives me chills. I love that pop culture has the power to trickle down into our every day lives and inspire change. I think it’s so cool that a symbol from a book has become a vital symbol in a real movement and is creating dialogue and awareness about a social justice issue. Usually, real events inspire and inform books, television, and film. We get our ideas from true stories because the craziest stuff happens in real life. However, this is a really cool example of give and take. It’s refreshing to see pop culture influence reality in a positive and fascinating way.

For more information about what’s going on in Thailand, check out these links:
Bangkok Post BBC News
BBC Blog: Fact and Fiction Collide 

I love it when literature makes you think! It always should! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas – this may be my last post until January, but who knows, I may surprise you with a little literary fun over the break.

Happy reading,


3 responses to “The Mockingjay Effect”

  1. I was in Thailand this past winter when all the protests started breaking out, and some of the people we were travelling with mentioned that a lot of the protesters are using the mocking jay salute in the Thai protests. I never witnessed any protesters doing that, but I agree with you. Super interesting to see pop culture making it’s way into our real lives. Let’s just hope the Hunger Games never come into the real word 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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