Hi, guys! Sorry for the late update, but work was hectic yesterday and, considering last week was so busy too, I really needed some me-time to lie on the sofa looking in the vague direction of the TV.
To spur me on, though, I’d like to announce a collection of tiny milestones! I can now celebrate my fifth post, tenth like and twentieth Twitter following. So, thanks a lot to everybody who has offered support in these early stages. I really appreciate it.
As for progress? Ha, progress! I feel like I went to bed last Wednesday night and woke up this morning to find a load of ugly shaded out squares all over my pretty grid.
Nonetheless, other things were accomplished. Aside from seeing friends and going to a gig, I also finished watching the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time and finished the first volume of The Hunger Games.
Overall thoughts on The Hunger Games? It was a decent book for teenagers, and it certainly had enough suspense to keep me reading. However, certain things did disappoint me a little and I can’t help but feel compelled to bring up one of my (strictly non-spoiler) thoughts here.
Here’s my issue. Considering its subject matter, The Hunger Games almost completely evaded mentioning gore at all. People did get injured, at least, and badly at times, but I still felt removed from the action. Even the deaths of the tributes seemed to receive only brief and cursory mentions. When people express disappointment that its rating has been reduced to a 12A I am personally surprised it bordered on a 15 for anything other than its overall theme.
At the risk of sounding old, my question is this: doesn’t the media coddle young people a little too much nowadays? The Hunger Games is a teen or young adult book, isn’t it? When I was that age, less than ten years ago, I read Point Horror books, and adult novels about grisly murders, hostages and stalkers. I don’t remember an awful lot about them now, and they didn’t traumatise me at the time.
It was the same when I was a kid. I watched some pretty grim stuff, all of which was aimed at families and aired on TV with few qualms from broadcasters: the film, Watership Down, for starters.
The Animals of Farthing Wood was also a popular show, about a group of woodland creatures displaced from their habitat by developers and trying to find a new home together. Many characters were killed off over its run of three series, and in a variety of different ways. Pheasants were shot and eaten by farmers. Toads almost died of dehydration. Hedgehogs were run over. Rabbits were strangled with snares. The baby field mice were snatched by a shrike and impaled on thorns. Nonetheless, I know many people who watched and enjoyed it as children at the time.
Then there were all the Disneys and Don Bluth movies, none of which were known to pull punches. An example I’d like to draw here is The Lion King, hailed as a Disney classic and favoured by many of my generation. That movie dealt with powerful emotions like guilt and grief and facing up to a terrible mistake. Indeed, it managed such a dramatic death scene it eclipsed even Bambi’s efforts.
Yet what is ironic to me is that, in this day and age, I highly doubt something as critically acclaimed – and as recent – as The Lion King would even be made. Producers would fear a backlash even though children of this generation, from my understanding, loved the film upon its rerelease in 3D.
Frankly, I find it worrying that so many movies and TV shows are happy to make villains for kids who aren’t scary, and protagonists without any real problems. Ultimately, entertainment is a child’s first shot at empathy. If characters have few real emotional challenges, where will this skill be practised or developed? Who and what will be the objects of their fear if not Darth Vader, Cruella De Vil or Ursula from The Little Mermaid? Death is also largely avoided, yet where would you rather your child learned about grief first: from The Lion King or from personal experience?
Family entertainment no longer tries to take on more mature themes. It’s all just slapstick, one-liners and celebrity cameos. Maybe if we credited our children with the ability to understand complex emotions, and trusted them not be permanently traumatised by a drop of blood onscreen, we might be doing the best for their development in the long-term.