Bread, Circuses & Reality TV

By: The Burning Platform

“What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?”Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games


The name of the nation – Panem, derives from the Latin phrase panem et circenses, which translates into ‘bread and circuses’. The idiom is meant to describe entertainment used to distract public attention from the corruption and vices of the governing class. By the government providing basic food and ample entertainment, the citizens voluntarily sacrifice liberties and rights for safety, security, and sustenance. The debauched occupants of the Capitol are the wealthiest and most decadent of all Panem, and the city’s affluence is fueled by the compulsory labor of the districts. The degenerates of the Capitol are known for their “creative” outfits, outrageous hair and ridiculous sense of fashion, even to the extent of dying the color of their own skin, or having whiskers implanted. Food and amusement are major drivers of the Hunger Games plot. The impoverished citizens, particularly in Districts 12 and 11 are on the verge of starvation, while the Capitol has food in abundance and throws lavish parties with extravagant and copious quantities of cuisine.

The superficial decadent upper class in the Capitol embraced overindulgence to such an extreme they purposely drank a concoction which would force them to throw up, so they could consume more. The analogy to the Roman vomitoriums during the depraved final days of their declining empire is distinct. Today in America, 47 million lower class Americans are reliant upon food stamps to be fed, while the majority are left to ingest processed poison packaged as food by mega-corporations and relentlessly marketed on television to a dumbed down populace. The ultra-rich dine on caviar and champagne in their penthouse suites, mansions in the Hamptons, or make reservations at restaurants not available to the 99.9%.

Appearances are extremely important in the post-apocalyptic pretentious world of the Hunger Games. Style and ostentatious fashion are everything to the affluent citizens of the plutocratic Capitol. It is natural to tattoo and dye their bodies’ in bright colors, as well as undergo plastic surgery to improve their looks. Some people of the Capitol have gems implanted in their skin, as well as talons. Capitol residents regularly wear wigs in a multitude of shocking colors. The degradation of our society can be seen in the worship of Hollywood created stars and pop singers freaks like Lady Gaga. The filthy rich deform their bodies with plastic surgery to change their natural appearance. By mutilating their bodies with surgery and tattoos, the media glorified fashionistas set the tone for a cultural decay. The lower classes can’t afford expensive plastic surgery, so they cover themselves in hideous tattoos in a pathetic attempt at individuality, when they are just conforming like lemmings to what they are told is trendy. The vain and narcissistic are too ignorant to realize their worship of celebrity and purchase of the latest fashions in clothes and jewelry are the sheep-like behavior of conformists.

The voyeuristic exploitation of children is taken to an extreme in The Hunger Games with their terror, suffering and slaughter televised for the enjoyment of a blood thirsty public. Murder as mass entertainment in a reality TV game show format illustrates a truly depraved culture. The American TV culture turns news, tragedy, childhood and war into morbid reality TV entertainment. The news, as reported by the corporate legacy media, is nothing more than propaganda generated by the establishment to support their continued control over the financial and governmental levers. It is designed to distract, misinform and obscure the truth.  What the news cameras show is not reality and facades are more consequential than the truth – a Wag the Dog world. Virtually half of prime time TV is a staged voyeuristic display of moronic triviality, requiring no thought and providing a form of passive sedation for low IQ imbeciles. The sexual exploitation of children in shows such as Toddlers & Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo is considered normal in a thoroughly abnormal society. Television is nothing but show business and we are amusing ourselves to death, as revealed by Neil Postman.

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.” – Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death

The Hunger Games are televised and discussed incessantly in Panem’s media, just as the pointless Iraq War and faux War on Terror are ceaselessly analyzed, evaluated and hyped by talking heads with bleached teeth, like the smarmy Caesar Flickerman in the Hunger Games movie. The Roman gladiatorial games and the televised “Shock & Awe” of obliterating the city of Baghdad with thousands of cruise missiles are both forms of barbaric entertainment, with the poor sacrificed on the altar of entertainment. The ruling class have successfully dehumanized our culture and turned real people into commodities to be manipulated, used and even killed for profit. Their value becomes determined by how much entertainment they provide, and as such they lose their identities as people. Reality television is a form of objectification. The world has become a stage for our Contollers, their stage managers on Madison Avenue and the mainstream media.

“Television is our culture’s principal mode of knowing about itself. Therefore — and this is the critical point — how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails.” ― Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death

We’ve spent the last five decades learning to love our oppression, adoring our technology, glorying in our distaste for reading books, and wilfully embracing our ignorance. Huxley’s vision of a population, passively sleep walking through lives of self- absorption, triviality, drug induced gratification, materialism and irrelevance has come to pass. Only in the last two decades has Orwell’s darker vision of oppression, fear, surveillance, hate and intimidation begun to be implemented by the ruling class. We’ve become a people controlled by pleasure and pain, utilized in varying degrees by those in power. Stay tuned for our modern day Hunger Games after this commercial for your very own Duck Dynasty Chia Pet.

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