Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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catching fire - that was interesting

This is a cut to avoid boring everyone with five year old movie thoughts.

I have never seen a character manage to get across "You Better Rebel Now (YES RIGHT NOW) As It's Not Only Your Best Chance, It May Literally Be Your Only Chance to Survive. Also, I've Lost My Fucking Mind" so incredibly clearly as Snow did. Like, if he was working for the rebels, he could not have done a better job.

Take the Hunger Games themselves: it was upsetting, a reminder of the Capitol's power, deeply malicious, but it only took two people, only happened once a year, and the district got blood food if one of theirs won. Plus: it was predictable. Also, they were super tired from heavy manual labor, only saw Capitol people once a year and so weren't required to observe their misery paying for eyelash extensions and such, so it simply wasn't worth it to rock the boat because things could get worse and no one wants that. Best part: life--while miserable--was predictable, even the horror. You got used to it.

You react to rebellion selectively, surgically, and predictably, upsetting the status quo as little as possible. If you have to escalate, you do it the same way; you make an obvious and at least plausibly guilty example of a select group, show mercy to some group of some kind, praise those who didn't join in--they are the good ones who follow the rules--and move on and return as fast as possible to status quo to emphasize how unimportant that this was, not even a blip.

You want everyone to think "I don't want that to happen to me so I won't do that" and settle the fuck down; you do not--for the love of God--want them to realize "This is definitely going to happen to me no matter what" or--even worse--"This could happen to me at any time there's literally no rhyme or reason". The only difference between two and three is that with two, you have a decent chance of resignation and fatalism setting in for some percentage and they'll keep on keeping on come wind, rain, or firebombs; they've always been powerless so it's not like it's a big change.

With the third, it's the worst of all worlds; they don't want to be punished (or die), they realize nothing they do or don't do actually has any bearing on their fate, fatalism sets in but resignation won't quite, because it's not definite. They have no idea what to do (and are pissed their predictable, mindless misery is now unpredictable misery, that is one hell of a downgrade) and are now willing to listen to basically any idea that's offered with enough confidence.

So when someone says "Hey, I have an idea how to make sure the Capitol doesn't come for you", you'll get three important subgroups that generally live their lives in mindless inertia and make up the bulk of any given group: "I literally don't see another option and boy I tried so let's do this" people, the "We're all going to die anyway so why not do this" people, and the most bitter group of all, the "I am personally betrayed by the Capitol fucking with my comfortable status quo misery we will do this right the fuck now" people, because there is no group more angry than one that feels they've had what they considered an inalienable right taken from them. Other people, sure, but not them; that's bullshit right there.

(You also severely lower the chance of getting a useful traitor to turn on everyone for reward. The dumb ones, sure, but the smart ones are not fans of unpredictability either; unpredictable people may just kill them after getting the info, or worse, not pay them and act like letting them live is the reward which is bullshit.)

Like, Snow's reaction only makes sense if one of these two things are true;

1.) he's not taking this as a predictable and normal part of ruling an oppressed population that literally every ruler of oppressed populations has had to deal with, but as this super new, unique, and totally shocking development that is happening to spite him personally and by God he's not having it.

2.) something about this particular rebellion is, actually, super new, unique, and totally shocking, enough that it has to be wiped out now, no matter the consequences. Like, he thinks it's going to win and he's kind of terrified.

My secondary concern is Snow's weird blindness to the problem that the Capitol is a parasite as far as resources are concerned; it takes resources from the districts because it has none of its own. I mean, he does know this, but I'm not sure he's clear that there's a max-work-to-people ratio and the Districts were already at it. Even if Snow's tactics worked and no rebellion, he wiped 1/12th of the workforce right off the map and fuck knows the casualty rate from random murder and death as a result of say, flogging, or peacekeeper beatings. Even those that survive that shit are out of the workforce for the time it takes to heal, and at variable levels of mobility and health when they are healed. The remaining people cannot work enough to make up for these losses; making them will kill not just those too old/young/poor health but start shortening the productive years of the young and healthy.

I mean, I"m trying to work out how long it will take to get back to pre-Catching Fire productivity, and without just getting more people from somewhere (a lottery in Capitol? For irony) and dumping them into the Districts, we're talking at least three to five generations at best case scenario, and that assumes death rate stays exactly the same as before in proportion to the population (unlikely but theoretically possible) while the overall birth rate increases but rate of maternal death stays static, and that actually isn't possible.

I keep thinking 'well, serfs were treated terribly and died in large numbers from all these things but somehow countries still prospered', but for example, England wasn't one giant fief with all the serfs, but made up of many small and large fiefs, and not all those fiefs survived due to the death of too many serfs to keep up production; not a few kidnapped serfs from other places or conquered weaker places with a thriving serf population due to running low on serfs. The Capitol is a super big fief; if they can't steal more people from other places, this is an actual problem.

I am really overthinking this, it happens.

Anyway, that was fun.

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Tags: the hunger games
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