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Andrew O’Hehir’s “Whose Revolution Is It?” Is an Assault on Ambiguity

In response to Andrew O'Hehir’s 1088‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Salon.com 

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/21/the_hunger_games_catching_fire_whose_revolution_is_it/

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With “‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’: Whose revolution is it?” Andrew O’Hehir takes a YA-oriented, big-budget Hollywood film to task for not being clear enough in its political orientation. O’Hehir wants to know if leftists or tea partiers should love the film, and is unsatisfied that it seems to be popular among viewers from both sides of the political spectrum.

O’Hehir forgets that there is plenty of precedence for this sort of political ambiguity. George Orwell’s 1984, the gold standard among dystopian fiction, has long been championed by both anti-fascists and anti-communists alike. Rarely do you hear critics complaining that it is too popular in its appeal.

It is O’Hehir’s opinion that there is a “naiveté to the politics of” the film. He fails to take into account that perhaps that’s the whole point. Not everyone has a partisan agenda, and the Hunger Games series would not be any better for its villains being identifiably left-wing or right-wing. Leave those distinctions to the political pundits poisoning public discourse on biased cable news shows.

When O’Hehir gets past the political rant that dominates the earlier portion of his review, there is distinctly more level-headed criticism in the back half. It’s too bad that by then, Whose revolution is it? has already gone well off the rails. Unless you’re the sort of person who enjoys watching people angrily shout each other down on cable news, get your Catching Fire criticism elsewhere.    

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