Our version of Big Brother, unlike Orwell’s, is the product of the free choice of both its viewers and participants. It wasn’t created by corporate monsters or the military-industrial complex to keep us in our place. If, as The Hunger Games seems to imply, reality TV is an evil opiate for the masses, we’re eagerly doping ourselves. Panem’s problem is straightforward compared with our own: sadly, the failings of our free society are our own fault, and can only be addressed on that basis.
Nonetheless, the film sticks to the comforting message that misery stems from the actions of the authorities. Its protagonists are the innocent victims of a system that they’re powerless to influence. Its target audience, the young, are invited to pride themselves on the blameless nobility of their age-group, but not expected to interrogate the realities of their world, or question their own passion for The X Factor.
The Hunger Games fails to give teenagers food for thought | Film | guardian.co.uk. The author here is apparently unfamiliar with several hundred years of reflection on how ideology works. If we like the entertainments that are put before us, that doesn’t mean that no one in authority is doing anything “to keep us in our place.” Isn’t the whole point of panem et circenses to give us distractions that are pleasing enough that we’ll become unreflective about our economic circumstances? No reasonable explanation of social injustice can make a neat distinction between what’s “our own fault” and what’s imposed from above. It’s always both, innit?