06 September 2010

Day 163: Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  ISBN: 9780439023511.

Collins' take on the role of media in this book is absolutely fabulous.  In fact, I think someone could write a very well written college-level paper about the Media as Character and manage to astound their professor if they were ambitious enough.  With three books' worth of material you could easily write about 15 pages and include an analysis of the personalities of different news and "news" shows.

I'm actually very happy that there as no internet in the Districts or the Capitol.  It would have made the dumb complacency of the Capitol highly unbelievable.  With a tightly controlled televised media, it's easy to pipe whatever thoughts you want into households and make people swallow it.  Since there was no communication between districts, you had to accept the information as true, or know that it was fabricated and altered, but not how.  No one was able to fact check, so it was nearly impossible for anyone to start a rebellion because no one really knew how bad it was except for their own little District.  Not that I think the internet would have helped form a revolution, but it would have potentially created a more informed citizenry.  Our civilization is complacent in different ways.  We seem to enjoy being uninformed and somewhat stupid, but I think that's a different topic.

I was actually surprised that the rebellion decided to use Katniss in pretty much the same way the Capitol used her during the Hunger Games.  In fact, I was surprised that Kantiss allowed this.  I suppose I shouldn't have been; by this point it probably felt natural to have cameras follow her around.  I'm not saying I didn't expect the Rebellion to use her for publicity, but sending her into combat situations with cameras seems like a very risky move to a group of people concerned with losing a sustainable population of humans.

Sure, we throw camera men, etc. in to combat situations, but we have billions of people where the world Katniss lives in probably only had thousands.  We're also not used to the idea of watching live combat situations for entertainment (unless you count boxing, a handful of other sports, and cop shows).  It seems to me that the Rebellion would want to distance itself from the Capitol as much as possible, but then when you're trying to reach an audience I suppose you work with what's best.  Kind of makes you think about the TV shows we watch and have foisted on us, not to mention the kind of news they try to feed us.

An excellent spoiler-free review can be found over at books i done read.  I have previous posts about Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  Click the shiny links.

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