Fear is our strongest … our most primordial emotion. It manifests itself in the unknown. Uncertainty generates thoughts of worst case scenarios.
Over the years marketers, politicians and the like have attempted to harness it to their benefit, seldom successfully though. But when they have – the results have been unmistakably effective.
The Occupy Movement started in New York on Saturday, September 17, 2011 as a reaction to Wall Street abuse and the reluctance of the government to do anything about it. Within weeks it had grown into a worldwide movement. In no time people were occupying almost everything. But even though thousands of people were demonstrating in the streets, they received virtually no mainstream media coverage. To most Americans it’s almost like Occupy hardly existed.
Even though their message resonated with virtually everyone, or as they called it the 99% … the 99% percent didn’t really view Occupy as their representatives. What were they really occupying – and these were injustices that had already happened, and they didn’t happen to everyone.
There is the disconnect. There is frustration, and in even in some cases anger. But is that enough to motivate … to get people to act. Plus there was no central communication point. Nothing to really hang on to.
There was no fear. At least not yet.
That may have changed last Friday due to efforts of Suzanne Collins, Jennifer Lawrence and Gary Ross. On Friday the blockbuster movie Hunger Games opened and proceeded to gross a staggering 155 million dollars over the weekend in the United States alone, setting numerous box-office records. But what does this have to do with Occupy?
Everything I believe.
The Hunger Games is a movie, directed by Gary Ross, based on the bestselling book of the same name, the first of a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. It is written in the voice of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis (home of the 1%), holds absolute power over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one child can survive.
Do I really believe this could happen?
Did I think Trayvon Martin, a black teenager in Florida sporting nothing but a hoddie, a pack of Skittles and an ice tea – would be shot point blank by a neighborhood watchman? And even though he confessed to the killing, has not been arrested after twenty-nine days.
Did I think after years of endless rhetoric, our declining education system has initiated no substantial reform except more and more standardized testing … testing that only what we don’t teach?
Did I think we would renew this country’s war on women’s rights to the point that the Wisconsin Legislature in their wisdom has initiated a bill that would penalize a single woman for having a baby? And that’s just one of many absurd Draconian measures that are under legislative consideration nationwide.
Did I think, with no media attention at all, our Congress time and time again continues to strip our civil rights in the name Homeland Security and the war on terror. George Orwell is probably rolling over in his grave?
And most of all, did I think I think our Supreme Court (which isn’t going anywhere soon) would make judgements that effectively hands our government, and in turn our country, over to special interests and big money. Soon we’ll be nothing but serfs in the fiefdoms of the all mighty 1%.
And all this has happened in the last two years. At this rate I can’t even imagine what could happen in the next thirty years, or even twenty. How far away are we really from a Hunger Games scenario.
And it’s interesting that nobody is actually saying anything negative about the Hunger Games. The well articulated message, the extraordinary acting (especially from Lawrence) and excellent production make this film riveting, intense and thought-provoking. Even with the startling unspeakable content, everyone seems to be on board. Both the left and the right identify with it. The movie has been a topic of conversation on both MSNBC and Fox and virtually every other news network in between. Liberals identify with repression of the 99% while conservatives identify with abuse of big government.
Occupy represents neither party. In their minds, both are equally to blame for the problems we face. Seldom is there an opportunity that can help movement more than the one at the feet of Occupy right now. Now is the time grab this opportunity. Occupy can use the Hunger Games to invoke fear, the fear of the apocalypse … to move their agenda.
And the Hunger Games is just the first movie. There are three more sequels to come. That’s four years of “in your face” reminder of what could happen if the 99% doesn’t stand up for their rights.
Why not hang on to Jennifer, Suzanne and Gary’s coattails. It can’t hurt.
I can found on Twitter at @clayforsberg
Also read: “The People Have the Power”