The Hunger Games’ High-gloss Bureaucracy of Welfare

Panem, the fictional nation in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy and setting of the massively popular movie series, has a problem. The Capitol (called only the Capitol, it has no proper name) balances on the bent backs of its labor force. It is a precarious position, that balancing act, because if even a handful of laborers rise up the whole organization looses balance and tumbles. Last year when I was writing about the Christian response to The Hunger Games, a blog series that became Bird on Fire, I wrote this, “The Capitol is a bureaucracy of welfare, controlling the poor with starvation so the privileged can sedate themselves with surplus.”

That realization was driven home last week.

Lionsgate, the company behind The Hunger Games movies, has done a very clever thing by running an “in-world” ad campaign President Snow himself would approve – filled with references to old Soviet-style propaganda

Compare and contrast Panem propaganda with these classic Soviet-era posters. Then watch the clip at the end. What do you think? A throwback to a former era? Or far too close to home for comfort?

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