You’re walking down a Capitol street, your bright pink mink coat wrapped around your dyed-blue shoulders and your heel-less shoes stomping up the way. You come across this shop with a dress covered with ruffles – I’m serious, even the ruffles have ruffles – and you decide you have to have it. You reach into your pocketbook and you pull out…
Something that I’m always interested to know when it comes to futuristic societies in books, TV and film is what has happened to the money. Since Panem is located in North America, it’s widely accepted among the fandom that it is comprised of parts of the United States, Canada and Mexico. It would not make much sense for just the American dollar, Canadian dollar, or the Mexican peso to be used as the currency of the nation.
We know that the “currency” of District 12 is primarily in the form of trade – though in the movie Katniss does ask the lady who sells her the mockingjay pin “How much?”, implying some use of money – but it seems unlikely that it is that way across all the districts and even more unlikely for the Capitol. Not to mention that in District 12, the trade economy seems more or less de facto rather than Capitol-sanctioned, considering the Hob goes up in flames in Catching Fire.
So back to the scenario above. Do you hand over a card similar to our credit and debit cards? Has paper money at least in concept withstood the catastrophes that occurred prior to the formation of Panem, so you’re offering a bill worth 15 pans (15PN for short)? Is there a machine that scans your eyes or your fingerprint or a chip imbedded in your neck that links to a bank account?
We don’t know how the money thing actually works in Panem, but we know how the wealth does: the rich are über rich and the poor are devastatingly poor. Whatever the rich have, they have a lot of it, and whatever the poor have they barely have any of it.
Yo dawg that dress cost 2000 nemmies that’s outrageous
Oh look! Another post in which we analyze canon as if it’s real! Would you expect any less from us?
It’s been a long time since Panem was America! Centuries upon centuries, though nobody knows the exact date (and everyone has their own theory!) The exact number really doesn’t matter, but it does bring up a good question…
Exactly how long does it take to erase history?
Admittedly, the question was brought up thanks to another YA dystopian I’m reading– Legend by Marie Lu, which takes place in the much more recent future of 2130 AD. In those books, people tell stories and occasionally find relics from the old United States, despite the government’s best efforts to pretend it never existed. In The Hunger Games trilogy, things are a little more lucid. Katniss was taught in school that District 12 was once known as Appalachia. Plutarch knows that the country was once a democracy and what that entails, but he’s also a revolutionary and a scholar who has likely had access to information that others didn’t.
For the most part, The United States of America has been stripped from the record books. No character mentioned its existence by name. How did it disappear?
Think of oral history. Stories are passed down from generation to generation, sometimes in secret when the circumstances force it. We all know family history and fables by heart that we could share with others. It’s basically the oldest form of gossip and DAMN, the world is good at it! You’re telling us that an entire country rose up from the ashes of the dissolved governments of more than one nation over the course of many years and no one discussed it in detail?! Much like Katniss’ hunting skills, somebody passed the stories to their grandchildren under penalty of death, knowing that they’d be better off for having the knowledge. Was it so long ago that as the generations went on, nobody cared about the old world? Or is the information so dangerous and secret that only a few people, like Plutarch, are lucky enough to be privy to such knowledge?
Then there’s this: We have A LOT of freakin’ stuff! There are people that pretty much hoard patriotic symbols and signs of North American nations that would be relics in future worlds. Sure, the majority could have been destroyed by that whole totalitarian regime thing. Other things probably deteriorated with age, but not EVERYTHING. Somebody dropped a silver dollar in a field somewhere and eventually, somebody else is going to find it. If we’ve still got art that the Ancient Mayans made in 250 AD, Panem damn well has some masterpieces of American culture floating around somewhere!
It’s safe to assume that all of American history isn’t dead and gone. Our heroine is a teenage girl from the least privileged part of society, so her knowledge is both limited and subjective. Even when we learns about democracy, she’s not that impressed and doesn’t care much, given her circumstances at the time. It’s also very possible that information on what existed before Panem is kept to the wealthy with the exception of the most basic details. Of course, it’s likely twisted to make Panem look like a shining beacon of hope.
Either way, we know we’re in there somewhere! Right? RIGHT?!
Say The Ladies From Cities That Are Underwater in Panem,
The Girl With The Pearl
So long, Superbowl! We admit to subjecting ourselves to food-bingeing, booze-swilling, dude-broing whenever you come around, even though we really don’t care who wins.
Right now, we could write up that post about how the massively watched semi-violent sporting events could kind be a precursor to the sick obsession with violent realities in The Hunger Games but we’re not going to. We love both our denial and occasionally acting like Hemsy and his imaginary frat brothers. DEAL.
Instead, we’re going to talk about sports! … Yeah, yeah, quit ya groaning!
The one thing that’s missing in the world of Panem is play. We suppose in a world where everyone is starving and live death matches are classified as “games”, playing isn’t on the forefront of a child’s mind. We realize this isn’t Harry Potter and there ain’t no room for Quidditch in the dystopian future. But even in the most torn up, impoverished countries, simple play still exists: soccer with any number of kickable items, hand-clapping games, tag… it’s out there.
Chances are we didn’t see a lot of playing around because the story is told from Katniss’ perspective. She grew up far too quickly and she’s not someone to notice or revel in children playing. The closest she gets to a game is Crazy Cat, which is really just a metaphor for her inner anguish. The girl rolls everything in a thin layer of emo.
So if Panem has given up on the game, we’re bring the game to them! That’s right…
CHARACTER FANTASY FOOTBALL OF ATROCIOUS ATROCITY!
Let’s start by saying the Presidents Snow and Coin are not players. Coaches, perhaps, maybe just owners up in their box seats. And because “Team Capitol” doesn’t have a lot of members with names, we’re basically sticking to “Team 13″, where Haymitch Abernathy is the world’s drunkest offensive coordinator.
Quarterback – Katniss Everdeen. It may seems obvious, but we considered putting Peeta or Gale here too. Katniss wins because the QB is a leader, the one who everyone has to follow if the team is going to work. Reluctant or not, likable or not, everyone follows Katniss. In return, SHE MAKES PLAYS.
Running Back – Peeta Mellark. Fans have love/hate relationships with Running Backs. Sometimes, under the right circumstances, they’re brilliant and win big. Other times, they don’t have the chance to do much and they’re seriously taken for granted. Peeta is hunted, beguiled, betrayed, and hijacked, yet he still chugs along, making the best plays he can.
Wide Receiver – Gale Hawthorne. Wide receivers work with the Quarterback quite a bit. They’re usually the go-to guys the QBs look for when the game gets tense. When everything is on the line and Katniss needs someone else she can trust to share her burden, she goes to Gale. He helps her complete her goals when the pressure is on.
Tight End – Finnick Odair. Because have you seen the descriptions of his sweet, sweet muscles?! Just kidding! Tight End is an important role, but also a versatile one, back and forth between the jobs of a receiver and an offensive lineman. He protects his QB, but also makes plays of his own. It’s the Finnick we know and love.
Cornerback – Johanna Mason. Becuase she needs a defensive position! Cornerbacks are typically small and agile with a bite. They keep the other team’s receivers from making the big play, which was pretty much Johanna’s job through all of Catching Fire.
Linebacker – Boggs. More specifically, the Inside Linebacker, who traditionally calls the shots for the defense and takes on various defensive “jobs” on the field. They’re usually the ones taking down the other team’s players, to boot. Boggs is calling is shots, managing the politics, being a father and a friend, all while daringly kicking a revolution into gear.
We know there’s more positions to fill, but frankly, our knowledge of football isn’t all that extensive.
This Takes TEAM KATNISS To A Whole New Level,
The Girl With The Pearl
Reality TV, it’s not something I imbibe on a regular basis, but the people of Panem, better yet the citizens of The Capitol are addicted to it. The Capitol falls though, we all know this, and their favorite entertainment of the entire year is disbanded forever and ever, and boo hiss say the lot of them. However, as a society that is in fact totally jones-ing for a reality TV hit to the arm, I’m pretty damn sure that in a hypothetical world post Mockingjay they fixed their urges with less, um, shall we say murderous fare?
Let’s think about this for a tick, ‘kay? In a post-Coriolanus-Snow world, as well as a post-Alma-Coin world, I think that with the infrastructure already semi in place, the money, and other resources, Panem wouldn’t, or actually The Capitol wouldn’t sit idly by with nothing on their televisions to watch. We know their favorite kind of programing is reality TV, so I say don’t knock what’s already been proven brings in the masses. But, what kind of reality TV would flicker across the airwaves of Panem? To me at least, I think they’d go for much tamer fare, also because anything too extreme would be against the law– oh yeah, I totally think Panem has censors still very much so in place.
So, what say you to Panem’s Next Top Model? That’s right, Panem’s, not The Capitol’s, but the whole of the country’s new favorite, but equally easily forgotten walking talking mannequin! Each district will be represented of course, perhaps even more than once in a cycle, but the count would be a baker’s dozen of 13: There would also be judges from the Capitol, of course, because what District resident would know a thing about fashion, I mean really? The challenges would include teaching sessions like probably non of the girls (yep, girls–they’re still excluding boys even in this fictional version of Top Model), have ever encountered, run-way, style challenges, things like taking the girls to the worst part of town, and telling them to ask random people for pieces of clothing off their backs, just to make the perfect challenge outfit, can’t kill children anymore– may as well put people in danger of possibly being spit on by an angry random on the street. Also, of course photo shoots, perhaps something as extreme as trekking down the coal mine shafts of the slowly being restored District 12, or fun shoots out in the palm trees of District 4, getting splashed at by Finnick look-alikes whom never fully come into focus in the photos. Who the hell knows, but it will be fabulous, that’s for sure, and for some reason I think Caesar Flickerman will be one of the judges. There’s no way that man is dead, just no way.
Reality TV was the opiate of the people, I honestly doubt they’d be able to go cold-turkey after 75 years of that tar being pumped into their veins, let it be girls traipsing about making faces at the camera, than kids letting out war cries and hacking each other to pieces.
Besides, we all know that teenage and 20 something girls are vicious enough as it it.
Them There Eyes
We weren’t quite sure what to write about today, but thankfully (sort of) inspiration struck from an unlikely place!
While at a local fair, a friend coaxed my fiance into trying chicharrones– aka fried pork skin. Apparently this stuff is of the hard, sharp variety and minutes later, a piece got stuck so far into his gum that a large portion of the evening was spent trying to rip it out.
After the Castaway scenario in which Tom Hanks slices out his own tooth with an ice skate, my mind went back to The Hunger Games, naturally! If dried out animal skin causes this much of a ruckus in the modern day, how the sweet hell did people survive in the districts?!
Let’s start by saying that if I lived in any of the districts, I would likely be dead (appendicitis at the age of 14) or at least a bit crooked (moderate scoliosis treated by a year in a back brace starting at age 12). Then there are the relatively little things we deal with: cold, flu, indigestion, and other I’m-going-to-weep-if-I-don’t-feel-better-soon conditions that hit us all every once in a while.
Mrs. Everdeen is good, but not that good. She knows medicine. She’s a talented holistic healer, but she’s not a surgeon. And she’s responsible for the health of a lot of people, meaning if they experience any serious internal damage… well… that’s that. The above used “weepy” conditions can probably be curbed, but only if the right resources are readily available and even then, you’re never guaranteed the comfort level we’ve come to expect.
There’s evidence that the merchant class had better medicine available, but they can’t call and get a hovercraft ride to The Capitol when they need to be rushed to a hospital. It’s safe to say that even the richest district citizens of Panem are hardy, stronger people that we are, but sheer willpower isn’t going to do anything for your ready-to- burst appendix.
Of course there are plenty of places in the modern world where this really is the case, so perhaps Panem isn’t as foreign a concept as it seems. In another country, maybe a really tough piece of pork can be a serious issue.
“This is why I don’t eat pork,” says the person who totally missed the point,
The Girl With The Pearl
The news came at midday and we all fell into a stunned silence. All we could do is stare for a moment before the fansites turned to each other and cried “The map of Panem is here! LIGHT THE BEACONS!“
Then we studied it, all shiny and new and… only partially completed.
If you’re American, admit it: The first thing you did was pinpoint the general location of your hometown to make sure you’re still alive. Fuck the true location of the Capitol! Will your dystopia-doomed descendants make it?!
For everyone at Victor’s Village, the answer is NO. Our descendants will be swimming with the fishes, both literally and figuratively, unless we all book it inland. I’ll be good because the Great Lakes have seemingly dissolved, making a little extra room for us land dwellers assuming we don’t mind things a little marshy (or you know… whoever made the map didn’t add them. Whatevs!)
The next thing you did is try to figure out what district you’re in… or closest to, if you’re swimming like us. Then you also calculated how far you’d be from Mellark Bakery. The answer? TOO DAMN FAR.
Right now, we’ve got The Capitol, Districts 2, 11, and 12. It’s been great to see a map with Suzanne Collins’ fingerprints on it, a lovely haven of logic, but unless you live in one of the labelled areas, you’re still guessing along with us! So here’s some most-gut-instinct-but-we’ll-pretend-they’re-educated guess!
- District 1 is on the west coast, probably the northern portion of California where that whole GOLD RUSH went down.
- District 4 is mainly in Mexico and Mags WAS speaking Spanish, meaning Savanna from HG Fireside Chat can do a happy dance!
- District 7 is the northwestern most portion because have you seen the trees up there?! They’re really old and epic and could only be taken down by badasses.
- Districts 9 and 10 are that patch above just to the right of the Capitol. We’re guessing that solely because when we think “Cows and grain”, these places come to mind.
- District 13 is that big ol’ chunk above District 12. There’s a lot of cool underground going-ons over there already, so the exiles there have already got a leg up. Plus, Imma rebel (on the Internet, which won’t exist in Panem).
Or we could be totally wrong seeing that we’re basing most of this off a whole lot of nothing! Also, the rest of the Districts are fair game.
What do you think? Where do the rest of the districts lie? Are your descendants going to sleep Safe and Sound at night or will they need to take part in a mass exodus first?
Okay, Maybe We Should Start Playing Hunger Games Adventures Again…
The Girl With The Pearl
Today, I was watching the show Pan Am with my friend, and I finally did what was probably inevitable: I called it “Panem”. If I were ashamed of my fandom, that would’ve been embarrassing. Thankfully I’m not.
Scenario: You’re up early shopping for groceries for breakfast, and you find yourself in the bread section, with dozens of different types of bread, from 100% whole wheat sliced bread to baguettes to bagels. What do you think of? If you’re anything like me, it’s some version of “Oh, Peeta,” followed by “Shh, get a bag of the whole wheat for some toast,” and finally, “TOAST! Like Katniss and Peeta!*” And then you realize that everything reminds you of your favorite fandom.
When you’re at this stage, I feel like that’s when you’ve reached fangirl/fanboy status. And that comes with a few DOs and DON’Ts.
DO wave your fanboy/fangirl flags proudly. If something interests you, it shouldn’t stop you from letting others in on it.
DON’T apologize for liking The Hunger Games. With anything popular, you’ll have your Negative Nancies who’ll try to make you feel bad for being a fan. It’s their loss if they’re not as passionate or if they outright trash it. Just try to keep them from making you feel bad.
DO wear your HG pride. As a long time music fan, I own a ton of band shirts, and you best believe that I have a Hunger Games shirt and that I love to wear it. Lionsgate gave out Mockingjay pins at Comic-Con, and if you’re lucky you could find similar ones at bookstores. And of course there are places like TheMeadow that make Hunger Games inspired jewelry. Or make your own HG wearables with the help of Down With The Capitol’s craft section.
DON’T go overboard. We’ve seen hints of it with certain actors on Twitter and certain types of fans. Know your boundaries with them. It’s only going to get worse once the movies come out, but as a fandom, I think we can all do our part to minimize the crazy.
DO start discussion with other fans. Friendly, respectful discussion. You don’t always have to agree (in fact, it’s often more compelling and interesting with some disagreement), but keep it polite.
DON’T claim you’re a bigger, more worthy, or truer fan than anyone else. You may have liked The Hunger Games earlier, but that doesn’t make you better than someone just getting into it. You may run 10 Hunger Games blogs on Tumblr, but you’re no better than those quietly liking and reblogging.
Am I missing any? Leave some more DOs and DON’Ts in the comments!
Seriously, take Photoshop away from me
*I’m not exactly sure how accepted Toast as a pairing name for Katniss/Peeta is, but it’s my favorite.
Labor Day: The end of summer. The start of the school year and the football season. OH, and a holiday meant to celebrate the hard-working American (most of whom are too being getting screwed by the job market!)
America celebrates Labor Day today. Other countries have similar traditions scattered throughout the calendar year. However, we’re focusing on the American one because it’s what we know.
Here’s what we know about: No one really celebrates it. Unless you count cookouts, in which case most of us have a celebration every other week. Hell, most people WORK on Labor Day.
Given that Panem is the remnants of America, we can’t help but wonder if the fine tradition of creating holidays with a deep underlying meaning that very few people actually pay attention to was passed on. We think soooo!
Thus, we have created a list of holidays on the books in Panem that aren’t really celebrated.
District 13 Remembrance Day - Obviously, this holiday was created so the Panem Government seemed remorseful. They HAD TO destroy District 13 because they were filthy unrelenting rebels, not because they wanted to. So every anniversary, the Capitol spends the entire day broadcasting stories and footage from the “demolished” district and reminding every other district to WATCH THEIR BACKS.
Fallen Tributes Day - Taking place the day after The Hunger Games ends annually, citizens are supposed to stop and remember the tributes sacrificed on their behalf. Everyone’s supposed to help out the families whose children have just died, but it doesn’t really happen since nobody has supplies to spare OR they’re too busy celebrating the victor, which is what The Capitol demands.
(President) Snow Day - All hail the great and powerful leader! Except not really. On this day, the 3rd Monday of August, each district’s product is streamlined expressly to President Snow and his family. Of course, nobody is throwing a cookout here, because Snow took all their food.
Living, Reliable Parents Day - It’s a sad trend, really. This just can’t be celebrated by 90 percent of the citizens of Panem because NOBODY HAS THEM.
The 12 Days of Muttations - With so many different Capitol-developed Mutts threatening the safety of the districts, how can you keep track of them all? For 12 days, the Capitol handlers will move from district to district and release the various types of muttations “in a controlled environment for educational purposes.” Still, it’s better to board up your windows, block the fireplace, and hide inside all day!
Of course, these holidays will change a bit after the downfall of President Snow. However, the citizens of Panem will do anything and everything but celebrate these holidays until then!
Time to Get Yourself Sick via Hot Dogs and Soda!
The Girl With The Pearl
You know you’re kind of obsessed when you relate every event in it to The Hunger Games. Or when you constantly blog about it. Whatever.
Anyhow, one recent event is having that effect on us quite often.
It’s been a week since Hurricane Irene came through our hometown and all we can think about is the destruction of America / Panem. You remember what Mayor Undersee said. It started off with natural disasters– storms and floods and twisters– and then the whole country went to hell!
We got out of Hurricane Irene relatively unscathed, but it seems like every surrounding state got pretty beat up. That phenomenon inspires an odd mixture of confusion and gratitude. We can’t help but wonder if the people in Panem felt this way as the land surrounding their homes was destroyed by natural disasters. Or when District 13 was believed to be blown to bits and all the other districts left in tact at the end of the Dark Days, even though all the districts had rebelled. Like “WTF are you telling me just happened? How did that not affect me?!”
Then comes the effects we DID feel. Long after the rain had stopped in our area, some stupid tree decided to let the wind knock it over. It was the tree’s CHOICE, we tell you! It WANTED to make us panic because it wanted us to miss The Hunger Games teaser on the MTV Video Music Awards that night! Conspiracy, we tell you!
We were lucky compared to other neighborhoods in the city. The power only went out for about 10 hours. Less than half a day. And in that time period, we LOST. OUR. MINDS. Blessed are smartphones, because they can be charged in the car and keep up connected to the world(wide web)!
Again, we thought of Panem, particularly District 12. Could you imagine living in a society where living without power is the NORM? A place where there is no such thing as entertainment from electronic devices; where the only light you can get at night will likely come in the form of fire! Need to refrigerate something? Well, tough cookies! Let us tell you– we’d die a slow and painful death in that environment. SLOW AND PAINFUL. And then we’ve got to stop and realize that this is happening all over the world right now, so maybe its not completely implausible that it could happen in the US in the future.
So yeah, maybe we sometimes think that living in Panem would be a twisted kind of cool. It’s all revolution and grit, becoming one with nature and kicking serious ass along the way. There’s also some value in realizing we could never do it.
And since most of us can’t handle being without power for half a day, why not give a little to the people who are still suffering the harsh effects of Hurricane Irene via The Red Cross? Or another good cause that will help others! Just keep the good karma flowing!
My State Is Underwater in Panem Anyways…
The Girl With The Pearl
In our first week of blogging, we tried to figure out where the hell Panem is in relation to current day North America. Since then another burning question has entered our minds regarding our favorite dystopian society:
WHEN does all this Panem madness take place?!
There’s a lot of speculation about how far Panem is from our current society, but there’s not a whole lot of facts to help guesstimate the time period during which Katniss’ story takes place.
Here’s what we know:
1) District 13′s vast underground network is described as “the work of centuries”.
2) The Dark Days occurred 74 years before the start of the first book, therefore the society of Panem was created long before that time.
3) Most of North America has either flooded or eroded away. This would take a significant amount of time, maybe hundreds of years.
Other than the fact that there’s at least a couple hundred years in between now and then, there’s really no evidence that points to a specific time period. We could easily say “The story takes place in the year 2479!” but there’s nothing behind it, other than the fact that we think 2479 is a fun number.
In most areas, I think its save to say the world on the whole is still advancing, so maybe 2479 is even too early. Society would basically have to stop advancing and collapse on itself. Governments throughout North America flail and die as the nations basically become third world countries. That’s going to take a lot of time. More than 468 years. Could we be IN THE YEAR 3000?
Here’s why we figure the story takes place at least that far into the future:
All major communications with the rest of the world (Internet, telephone, messenger pigeons) must cease to exist. Also, North Americans COMPLETELY FORGET that there are other people in the world to begin with.
All history and folklore is wiped from the cultural mindset. We’ve still got legends from the Greeks and Romans and Egyptians, so we seriously doubt the government of Panem wiped out storytelling in a measly three or four hundred years! Plutarch knows that there was once a more advanced culture, but he speaks about it as if it’s a fairy tale. And Katniss basically thinks he’s on crack when he brings it up.
Though the people of Panem still speak English, there’s a mention of “Old English” words that are no longer in use, specifically the word “hijack”. It’s mostly used under unfortunate circumstances, but we use the word “hijack” pretty often in present-day America. The loss of the word would have to go hand-in-hand with the loss of history. The depressing part is that it doesn’t take all that long to lose words, so that probably happened long before Panem rose up.
Fact: We are mindless idiots with limited vocabularies compared to educated people living 100 years ago!
Panem: No history, no language, and no freedom.. but we’ve got super-advanced hovercrafts!
Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!
The Girl With The Pearl