The new movie “Hunger Games” seems destined to be a big hit. Yes, “Games” is a challenging story–a dystopian future in which an oppressive government forces young people into gladiator-type battles-to-the-death–but it’s getting good buzz and good reviews. One critic described “Games” as “like ‘American Idol’ with a body count.”

So c’mon folks! Head down to the ‘plex, buy your ticket, plunk down another $10 for soda and popcorn, and watch good-looking actors and actresses exchange longing glances as they kill each other.

Yet everyone should know one thing: “Games” is not just another slasher/horror scream flick–but rather a furious critique of our political system, in which the central government grows rich from the toil of the masses, even as that same political elite finds entertainment in the contrived and manipulated death of its subjects.

“Games” is fantasy fiction, to be sure, but if it can be said that all fiction holds a mirror to the society from which it came, then the contemporary US government–as well as our popular culture, which also comes in for a drubbing–might wish to reflect on its status and standing in our society.

Why?

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