Skip to comments.Eating Up the Hunger Games
Posted on 05/17/2012 4:30:20 AM PDT by Kaslin
A recent comic strip summed up life in these United States in 2012. Several rotund Americans are waiting in line at the movie theater. All are holding massive tubs of popcorn, jumbo candy bars and vats of soda. Theyre queuing to watch The Hunger Games.
The movie is the hit of the year. In case you havent read it, the popular book takes place in a future United States thats been rocked by civil war. A new Capitol is based in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by 12 Districts.
Author Suzanne Collins seems to be warning that the modern U.S. is similar to Rome. Many of the characters in the books Capitol have Latin names: Caesar, Claudius, Octavia, etc. And the people of the Capitol are certainly obsessed with their bread and circuses, with the Hunger Games themselves serving as the ultimate distraction.
As in the U.S. today, life in the Capitol is comfortable, with modern innovations and plenty of food available upon demand. Thats not the case in the other Districts, where most struggle to get enough to eat. The books hero, Katniss, hails from the poorest region, modern-day Appalachia. She supplements her familys table by hunting almost every day.
In that way, at least, the Hunger Games seems to have taken readers back to the future.
At the dawn of humanity, the quest for food was each persons biggest concern. Hunter-gathers lived hand-to-mouth, never more than a few days away from starvation. Eventually humans domesticated animals and crops. That made life somewhat easier, as food could be stored and animals could supply nutritious milk and meat.
Still, right into the 20th Century, humans struggled to get enough to eat. At the dawn of World War II, officials said at least 40 percent of potential military recruits were undernourished, the Fayetteville Observer recalled earlier this year. No longer. Today, just over a third of U.S. adults are obese. By 2030, 42 percent will be, the Associated Press reported recently.
In The Hunger Games, the countrys rulers have an excess of abundance.
They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an achievement since so many people die early. You see an elderly person, you want to congratulate them on their longevity, ask the secret of survival, Katniss observes. A plump person is envied because they arent scraping by like the majority of us.
The Capitol uses food as a weapon. The United States isnt at that point. But our government has had a hand in our obesity epidemic. For years, the USDAs food pyramid encouraged people to load up on grains.
Starting in 1992, the federal government recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. But these were secondary to the recommendation of six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta. It didnt differentiate between refined and whole grains, CNN reported last year.
That was poor advice. It promoted eating so many grain servings, it was promoting obesity, Prof. Marion Nestle of New York University said. A new government plate icon now encourages Americans to get half their calories from fruits and veggies, but in todays society that will be easier said than done.
Washington still provides generous subsidies to encourage farmers to grow grains. For example, the liberal Environmental Working Group says the federal government provided some $3.5 billion to corn growers in 2010, the most recent year for which information is available.
That tends to make corn cheap, so it ends up in everything from soda (as high fructose corn syrup) to cattle (as feed). As a consequence, its less expensive to grab a half pound bag of chips and a two litre bottle of soda or a fast food value meal than it is to snack on fresh fruits and vegetables (which usually arent federally subsidized).
In the book, Katniss has a final warning for Americans. Destroying things is much easier than making them, she observes while preparing to get rid of her opponents stored food and weapons.
Doing so gave her a leg up in the Hunger Games, since she knew how to get her own food. Most of us dont, just as most of us dont know how to manufacture the computers, cars and appliances that make modern life so comfortable.
Theres no reason to expect our future to look like The Hunger Games. The story of human development is a story of remarkable improvements, with life getting steadily longer, safer and happier. If the U.S. renews its traditional commitment to first principles, especially free market economics to encourage innovation and risk-taking, our future should be even brighter than our present.
Future events seem to have a way of forecasting their shadow. More often than not, what ever the human mind is able to conceive will happen.
This article isn’t going to be very popular with the “calorie in/calorie out” crowd.
I used to be an optimist - now I believe in the Obarackalypse.
What the hell does “queuing up” mean. Talk American dang it.
Far be it from me to cast doubt on dieticians and “scientists” who study these things and make profound judgements but I am 66 years old and all my life, I’ve pretty much eaten anything I wanted, any time I wanted it and I’m not over weight, my 91 year old mother is the same.
The deal is neither me nor my mother want a lot to eat at any given time. If I’m really hungry I can put away a humongous breakfast but that doesn’t happen that often. I believe metabolism and genetics play a large role in whether you are fat or not. I’m fortunate, my mom’s fortunate.
You can pay all the attention you want to food groups but when you eat large volumes of most things, you will tend to obesity, generally speaking.
Even so I am optimistic in nature I cant quite agree with you as to what our future will hold as human behavior is not easily changed. All I can say is that things can not continue the way they are for much longer before something breaks or blows up. Regardless who will be the next president, even if he happens to be a genius in disguise, there is no way he can undo all the wrongs which have been committed and have accumulated over the years, all he can do is to put on the breaks a little and cushion the impact as I do believe a train wreck is in the making.
People are creatures of habit and most will not change unless they are forced to do so. It is the same as telling some one to eat right and exercise but what will most of them do, wait until they have a heart attack or diabetes or some other debilitating disease, in the mean time run around looking like they are eight month pregnant.
It will take something to shake up people, I am not quite sure what it will be, but I have a hunch what it might be and see something on the horizon what will shake up humans to their very core, will it work? Time will tell......all I know for sure is that things can not continue the way they are for much longer, as when you pay attention to the news you can tell, that one by one the wheels are coming off the train.
Was meant to be for Kaslin
Pity the author didn’t link to or include the cartoon.
Sounds more hip and European than "standing in line", I guess.
I am blessed to be married to a man who has been fishing since he could bait a hook and has so many hunter friends who give us game every year, I had to get another freezer.
We live across the road from a lake, and my husband grew up in this house. He also knows where there are “fishing holes” down dirt roads that are full of native trout.And he has only told 2 people where they are and they are sworn to silence.Fresh water fishing is just as serious around here as ocean commercial fishing spots.
My husband can filet fish so well, that when he puts them on a styrofoam plate covered with plastic wrap, people think they are from the supermarket. Same thing with venison.
Once we have enough fish in the freezer, he then gives the rest of his fish, cleaned and “prettied up”, to his elderly friends who can’t fish as much as they used to.
It’s a simple thing, to be able to fish, but what a difference it can make. There’s no food stamps for his elderly buddies-they wouldn’t even think about it. So to be able to give like that is so wonderful; it’s the best.
Oh thank you..great subject matter..
I’ve read all three books, and I was struck by the party goers in the Capitol drinking the clear liquid to purge the food they’ve eaten to make room for more food. I’m sure it was intended to disgust the reader. How different is that from women who abort fetuses in order to make room for more sex?
It was a reference to the alleged ancient Roman elite practice of the same purpose: purge to enable gorging even more.
I know what it means. I just thing it sounds ridiculous when people throw in British words like Queue, Flat etc. Also, when people who are speaking English switch to a Mexican accent when pronouncing the names of cities south of the border.
That’s less annoying than when hispanic newscasters switch to a Spanish accent when pronouncing place names north of the border. “This is Ho-Zay San-chess, reporting from Lows An-Hellies-”
How else would you spell it?
An apple or orange a day is the best advice.
I don’t mind the British words or spellings etc. I’m in Afghanistan right now working beside Brits, Canadians, you name it. It is just when an American deliberately uses the word “Loo” in lieu of bathroom, that I think it sounds silly.
Yes, that is more annoying.
It isn’t a question of spelling. In American English we “line up” or “get in line” we don’t “queue”.
If you’re in London, you can queue for the loo in the flat.
but in America, you line up for the bathroom in the apartment.
And just FYI, you don't have to have an abortion to continue having sex. Sex and pregnancy, even in the last trimester are not contraindicated.
I’ll bet you’re over 50. Just a guess. As we’ve become more technically inclined, queuing and queues have entered the American lexicon. It’s been geek-speak since the 80’s.
The author’s name, Rich Tucker, is a bit ironic considering the subject matter.