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Special Interest Groups Pushing To Get Hunger Games Banned

Whenever something gets popular, people who had nothing to do with it attempt to cash in on its popularity to suit their own ends. The Hunger Games is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest movies of all time, so of course special interest groups have decided to use author Suzanne Collins’ franchise as a way to make a high-profile stand. One of the ways they’re doing that is by trying to get the book banned.

It’s amazing to think that there are still people out there who think book banning of any kind is an acceptable practice. It sounds like a leftover relic from some long, bygone era. Shouldn’t we be more evolved than this? Hasn’t everyone read Fahrenheit 451? Apparently not.

Complaints leading to the banning are of a wide variety, and what’s being targeted as the problem with Suzanne Collins’ books will probably vary depending on which special interest group you’re talking to.

Concerned parents organizations are sure to whine that the books contain mature material they don’t want to have to talk to their kids about. I’ve never understood why parental laziness is a good justification for censorship, but it’s the kind of argument people seem to buy.

Race relations groups are complaining about the way races of different characters were changed for the movies. Characters described as white in the book were dark skinned in the movie, and some which were white in the movie were dark skinned in the book. You’d think that those skin-color changes happened across the board would negate their argument. Apparently different groups are lobbying in favor of different skin colors, separately. That seems to say a lot more about them than it does about the material they’re complaining about.

Right now The Hunger Games is on the banned book list at the Skokie Public Library in Illinois and the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom says it was among the most “challenged” books of the year.

Is The Hunger Games an appropriate book for children? Of course not. It’s about teens battling each other to the death. It’s violent. It’s not intended for kids. Hunger Games is young adult literature which suggests teens to people in their early twenties as the book’s intended audience.

Rather than banning it, the answer here is for parents to take responsibility for what their kids are reading. It’s up to you to decide whether or not your children can put The Hunger Games in their heads, not your local government. Then once you decide, do other parents the courtesy of letting them make their own decisions too, by leaving the books on the shelves.

Comments

  • Brian White

    A generation ago 16 and 17 year olds were enlisting in World War 2. The Civil War is known to have been fought by armies including children as young as twelve. The biggest mistake of our generation is the belief that we need to extend our children’s innocence to eighteen, twenty one and beyond. This is without historical precedent. Children have always assumed the responsibilities of adults in their early teens until practically yesterday. Our longer life spans and reductions in child mortality are not justifications for this kid glove treatment of our children. 

    These books are not gratuitous in their violence and they are practically chaste in their sexuality. The censors are typically ignorant as censors always are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Hendrix/100000184051379 Jeff Hendrix

    same old bullshit people banning books they didn’t reead like the harry potter books,plus skokie is where the ill.nazi party started so go figure
     

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Bowman/563818237 Dave Bowman

      I hate Illinois nazis

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5036021 Laura Huber

    My 12 year old and I read these books in contest (as in to see who could finish them 1st I won)  I never let her see movies that “peers” see without seeing it first and if there is a book out we both have to read it first.  
    BTW my 9 year old is slowly reading it along with the Harry Potter books.  
    I look for opportunities and ways to talk to my kids about oppression, sex and all manner of “touchy” topics and find books great places to begin many of those conversations. I pity the kids and the parents that want to ban any book as reading expands the mind and discussion on these topics allows a parent to be the one forming that child into an adult, because all these topics are unavoidable.  I prefer to have some influence over what kind of adult my child will become, avoidance would and does remove that influence.

    • http://www.facebook.com/DarthClide Jonathan Cross

      Great to see someone like you out in the world :) I understand that kids want to read the “popular” book (peer pressure is overwhelming) as well as I understand that this book was meant for YA, which means it is for anyone under 20. What I don’t enjoy are 2 things. 1. People older than 20 are worshiping this book like it is something appropriate to their level of reading and 2. Kids are being allowed to read a book with lots of touchy subjects, without the parent(s) even talking to them about it… The parent(s) need to be there to help form the child to be a wise/mature adult when they grow up. It shouldn’t be left to the whims of a child’s mind whether “being a drunkard means you should listen to their advice or not”. (taken from the book)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5036021 Laura Huber

    although I am not sure I agree with the comments about extending the time range for a child’s “innocence”  I agree completely that these books don’t describe the violence in a manner that would be to graphic for 12 year olds nor is it gratuitous, in that I agree with you completely.  

    With regards to the war comments, I find it tragic that if wars have to be fought (which I know can be unavoidable) that anyone under 20 is involved.  Access to images and information is no the same as fighting in a war.  There is a difference between sheltering a child from reality and there by giving them no ability to deal with it when hey are of age, and fighting in a war. 
    Of course I also thinking the driving age and the drinking age should be the same and be moved to 18 or 19.  If you can kill a person with a car then you are old enough to kill brain cell’s with a drink

    • Brian White

      Laura, I am personally Libertarian, non-interventionist and therefore anti-war. The point I tried to make was less about treating children as potential soldiers and more as treating them as adults in training. I could rant about how an eight grade education used to allow a young adult run a farm now if barely prepares them to read sci-fi/fantasy. This telescoping of our children’s childhoods is a societal mistake IMO. If we never have another war, our children still need to know that they are privileged to live in a time when they would not be drafted to defend their homes or into some King or government’s army. We must never forget history or be destined to repeat it; corny but true.

  • Rhins2001

    couldn’t agree more with this

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMUVA5P4MJGYP3A23M6SFCXLVI emzmom

    If you go to the Skokie library website and click you will notice they do loan the book. They are just listing  that the book has been challenged by some libraries and public schools. They also show all the other greats that are on the challenge list, i.e. Kurt V;  Slaughterhouse five, Maya Angelou; I know why the cage bird sings.. etc.. 
    I have read the book and its sequel. Amazing  but tough story. Too much for my 9 yr old to handle but different children have different tolerances.

  • Hoppedup

    That may be one of the
    vaguest articles I’ve ever read. It names no actual groups opposed to
    the book, quotes no one, and worst of all implies that the Skokie, IL
    library has banned the book. But that’s not true at all. In fact the
    library has the book and is also giving
    copies away in a Hunger Games contest. This “banned books” paranoia is
    cooked up by the ALA to give foundering libraries a continued purpose
    despite their march toward irrelevancy.

  • cloud7

    So a book is too blame because certain parents are too lazy to monitor what their child reads?? Sounds exactly the same group Of parents who blame video games the moment their child does something wrong. Take responsibility for what your children do during their free time. If you are too lazy to monitor your kids then you have no right to blame the books or video games or movies for anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jake-Schaafs/648140321 Jake Schaafs

    wow can any one say hitler? thats what book banning makes me think of

    • http://twitter.com/zmurrayuiw Zachary Murray

      And you sir just lost any discussion on the internet, at least according to my understanding of Godwin’s law. (of course to be fair so did every one else that made the obvious Hitler connection)

  • http://www.facebook.com/LucyM121 Lucy Merriman

    Can I just say, though, while I totally agree with you, a word of defense for parents in general? When I was a kid, my parents, who were loving, mature adults, were not “helicopter parents.” They didn’t monitor at all what I was reading, and honestly, it would be a really hard thing to do. A kid can only watch tv or play video games in one place– in the parent’s sight, usually in the living room. But a bookish kid like myself could sneak a book anywhere. I could spend entire summer days at the library with no monitors! And, of course, I absolutely loved it. 

    Parents trust librarians to make sure that their children aren’t being traumatized or upset by content inappropriate for them, and some parents feel that librarians are abusing their trust. I started reading YA books by age 8 and adult books by 11 (the first “adult” book I ever read was Minority Report by Philip K. Dick. Blew my mind. That’s another story.) I can definitely see why a parent would be upset if they trusted a librarian’s judgement, and he let an 8 year old read Hunger Games.

    While I don’t actually think that’d be a big deal, I think libraries should try to respect parents’ concerns more. 

  • iampam

    Parents should read the books first, then decide whether to let their kids read… They could also get together with their kids and discuss the different themes…  Ah, but most “parents” have become lazy, as this article

    has suggested.  Most parents don’t normally read SF either, so they probably wouldn’t understand what the story is really about, anyway…
     

  • Baby Fart McGeeziaks

    I get the subject matter argument, but you don’t ban a book based on that. As others have said parents need to take more responsibility but perhaps publishers should too. Rather than trying to get rich off of the next Harry Potter by marketing a book to kids they should take the time to consider who is the appropriate audience.

  • just a professor

    If you go to the Skokie library web site you will learn that the Hunger Games IS NOT BANNED; it simply appears on a list of frequently banned books.  My fear is that irresponsible writing will create the kind of dystopia The Hunger Games decries.    If we could only ban misinformation. . . 

  • http://twitter.com/DarrylJMurphy Darryl J Murphy, PhD

    The very attempt to ban The Hunger Games demonstrates a failure to understand what the book is about!

    http://darryljmurphy.blogspot.ca/2012/07/not-review-hunger-games-by-suzanne.html