Hunger Games Fans: Stop Drinking the Media Wars Kool-Aid

Ah, the media! Every now and then, there’s a kernel of real depth and knowledge in there, but not nearly as often as you think. (Unfortunately, I realized this mid-way through a Journalism degree, so on top of no longer wanting to work for the media, I’m in massive debt!) Mostly, it’s about getting people to pay attention to what you’re saying and make them think it’s important, even though it’s usually not. This is especially true of entertainment media.

Not the same. Both inspiring the world to take action and think for themselves. Where's the downside, again?

Not the same. Both inspiring the world to take action and think for themselves. Where’s the downside, again?

So let us repeat a sentiment we’ve stated before. One more time with feeling!

There is no real fandom war between The Hunger Games and Divergent. Or between The Hunger Games and any other franchise, for that matter. Quit drinking the media wars Kool-aid. Seriously.

Them There Eyes already covered that EW pulled a seriously dick move by trying to deflate The Hunger Games series to up Divergent. Surely, other media sites have done it as well. Entertainment Weekly, especially, has stock in the success of the Divergent series. Note that they have stock in the success of THG as well, but it’s already a proven success so they don’t have to coddle it anymore, just cover it. Hence the clueless “Katniss is from District 9 and Victors are reaped in every Quarter Quell” review Catching Fire got. Successful fandom-centric franchises are huge readership draws. And Lionsgate? They don’t care which one you like better because they are both owned by Lionsgate. Though it should be noted that a lot of THG fan outrage is hypocrisy, given that most people seem perfectly okay with people deflating Divergent in favor of The Hunger Games. It shouldn’t be either way.

Of course, The Hunger Games/Divergent media wars have the desired effect. Everyone has preferences. We rush into the conversation to pick a side. Fans run out to say “I think Series A is better and anyone who thinks Series B is better is an idiot!” and vice versa.

Even we sip the Kool-aid a bit without realizing it. Them There Eyes was quick to call the movie mediocre based solely off critical reviews. When someone commented on one media post about how Mockingjay was awful and Allegiant was great, I was quick to respond with the inverse opinion. And I REALLY LIKE BOTH FRANCHISES. Not in love with the last Divergent book, but I still like both on the whole. Plus, we believe everyone should read and decide for themselves.

A beautiful little reminder.

A beautiful little reminder. Same for their adaptations.

People like what they like. Some like The Hunger Games. Some like Divergent. Many, many people like both. And that’s fine! Don’t let the media make you think otherwise! Critics are not gods. While they make valid observations about film now and again, they’re often self-important jackwads. A movie isn’t good or bad or special or fun because a conglomerate of cynics tells you so. Seriously, that takes all the fun out of moviegoing. If you’ve ever had to stop asking a friend to go to the movies because they shot down everything you suggest based on critics, you know. So don’t let them push you around, m’kay?

This is not a war and nobody needs to pick sides. When the next potential franchise comes out, the media will do the same damn thing because people will STILL get hyped up over it. IGNORE THEEEEEMMMM. Have your preferences, have your personal tastes, but cutting down someone else’s fandom just to up yours, whether you’re Owen Gleiberman or just some random person on Tumblr, just makes you look like a petty ass.

Again: The Kool-Aid. STOP DRINKING IT.

WE JUST LIKE LIKING THINGS!
The Girl With The Pearl

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5 comments

  1. I agree. I loved all the of the Hunger games trilogy and loved the movies too. I really liked reading the first to books of Divergent but wasn’t a fan of the last. I was not at the Thursday midnight showing of Divergent this week, but I was up late on a Thursday night IMAX for catching fire. I enjoyed divergent and found it very entertaining as well as my friend who is a Huge HG fan as well. There is not a competition here. These are movies not a national or world crisis. Glad we have them to watch. But I am one fan waiting for Mockingjay in the fall.

  2. I follow a lot of media outlets on Twitter, probably too many for my sanity. And for at least the past two weeks, I’d say each one has posted something vomit-worthy about Divergent/Hunger Games. They tend to follow 1 or 2 different narratives (sometimes both)

    1) “Is Divergent just a Hunger Games ripoff – and if Divergent isn’t a huge Hunger Games-type success does this finally signal the end of the YA trend in Hollywood?” (Always a question mark at the end because they want to give you the impression that they are unbiased on the matter). These pieces seem to salivate at the prospect of YA failing and going away forever, which is ridiculous, because while the marketing creation of YA literature is fairly new, people writing these kinds of stories is not. Even if Divergent had completely flopped (which it did not, by any means), I don’t believe for a minute that Hollywood would shy away from another YA book phenomenon with large readership and a great story. The built in market is just too tempting.

    2) “Divergent is the successor to the Hunger Games. Move over Hunger Games – it’s all about Divergent now and here’s 10 reasons why it’s so much better!!!” This one makes me vomit x 10 because it’s targeting something I love in order to get more traffic on their site. And because it completely follows the patterns that the media takes with young actresses. “Here’s the new next amazing young actress, move over current popular young actress – your year is over and you’re garbage now. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!” So inevitably, it has to be with young heroines, the world only has room for one at a time. Which is the most INFURIATING thing and I think we are disproving that with our dollars.

    Way back when I read The Hunger Games (book 1) for the first time, the thing that I was not expecting from reading the synopsis was the criticism of our media culture. The way it weaves storylines to manipulate people and drive powerful interests. The theme grows throughout the series, but even in book one it captured me because it’s something I find so troubling in our society.

    So thank you, entertainment media, for being so disgusting and reminding me once again why The Hunger Games is very relevant.

  3. The thing that always gets me is how herd-like the media is– they all spin the same pseudo controversy du jour into their stories. If they can’t find some stupid fandom controversy they’ll try for some social or political spin that they’ve manufactured and drummed up in the weeks before the film’s release — like the revived child abuse scandal that HAD to be mentioned in every Blue Jasmine discussion, or the gay controversy that was the lead sentence in at least two-thirds of the stories about the Ender’s Game movie. Next half the Noah reviews will mention the manufactured controversy over whether Christians will boycott the film. Pitiful!

    Kait, I sure hope you find a niche that will make your degree worthwhile — maybe writing the best media critiques in the business….You are already doing it, after all!

  4. It is so scary to think that the path of Jennifer Lawrence is the same path as Katniss in the media world. Good news is that Jen and the rest of the cast are acutely aware of how the media cycle works and they know they will traded in for something better eventually.

    However what strikes me most about his “pretend” conflict is the fact that it is focused only on two strong women that are role model for teens and asks us to choose. This would never happen with male superheroes because their fan base is way too strong (talking decade).

    I went to go see divergent in theaters so that it WOULD succeed and the media can stop trying to divide fandoms.

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