“I adore the way fan fiction writers engage with and critique source texts, but manipulating them and breaking their rules. Some of it is straight-up homage, but a lot of [fan fiction] is really aggressive towards the source text. One tends to think of it as written by total fanboys and fangirls as a kind of worshipful act, but a lot of times you’ll read these stories and it’ll be like ‘What if Star Trek had an openly gay character on the bridge?’ And of course the point is that they don’t, and they wouldn’t, because they don’t have the balls, or they are beholden to their advertisers, or whatever. There’s a powerful critique, almost punk-like anger, being expressed there—which I find fascinating and interesting and cool.”—Lev Grossman (via theadventuresofcargline)
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve felt more emotions towards a fictional character than I do towards people I know in real life, I would probably have enough money to pay for the psychiatric help I obviously need.
“Women and men do not receive an equal education because outside of the classroom women are not perceived as sovereign beings but as prey…. the capacity to think independently, to take intellectual risks, to assert ourselves mentally is inseparable from our physical way of being in the world, our feelings of personal integrity. If it is dangerous for me to walk home late of an evening from the library because I am a woman and I can be raped then, how self possessed, how exuberant can I feel as I sit and work at the library? How much of my working energy is drained by by the subliminal knowledge that as a woman, I test my physical right to exist every time I go out alone.”—
Adrienne Rich, feminist writer who recently passed away. It is from a chapter called, “Taking Women Students Seriously” from her book called, On Lies, Secrets and Silence.
Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently we have had our difficulties and there are many things I want to ask you. I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again, years later, in the chlorinated pool. I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have these luxuries. I have told you where I’m coming from, so put it together. We clutch our bellies and roll on the floor … When I say this, it should mean laughter, not poison. I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes. Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you. Quit milling around the yard and come inside.
— Litany In Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out, Richard Siken
"I looked through the Gideon Bible in my hotel room for tales of great destruction. The sun was risen upon the earth whe Lot entered into Zo-ar, I read. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. So it goes. Those were vile people in both those cities, as is well known. The world was better off without them. And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.”
But the decision to alter the storyline with Peeta’s leg really troubles me because of what it symbolises. Peeta becomes a prominently disabled character in the series, and his disability becomes part of his experiences. At the same time though, he’s not defined by the disability, consumed by it, and placed in the narrative for the sole purpose of constantly reminding everyone that he’s disabled. Peeta, like other characters, is scarred by the world he lives in, and he bears a visible mark of the cruelty and brutality of Panem, but more importantly, he’s another person trying to survive and build a better world. By neatly cutting that entire plotline away, the filmmakers avoided some tangled and thorny issues.
Like the fact that Peeta is supposed to be a love interest. I can’t help but feel one of the reasons the amputation storyline was taken out was because the filmmakers don’t think amputees can be love interests, or think that the reality of the amputation might be offputting to audiences who wouldn’t be able to identify with the characters if Katniss fell in love with a disabled Peeta, because that sort of thing Isn’t Done. Furthermore, obviously no amputees engage with media and pop culture and certainly don’t want to see versions of themselves on screen, so that angle didn’t need to be considered when preparing the film adaptation.
They probably also feared the idea of a character who happens to be disabled; they couldn’t let him get fitted for a prosthesis and get on with his life. They would have felt compelled to wrap up some kind of special story in it, even though that’s not necessary. Riding right over that storyline can be justified by saying they don’t have time to do it, with all the other things that need to be included. Just like they didn’t have time to view actresses of colour and nonwhite actresses while they were making decisions about the casting of Katniss. Making movies is very busy work, people.
And, of course, Peeta doesn’t comply with narratives above disability. His withdrawal and depression at the beginning of the second book are more about his emotional state over Katniss, rather than his leg. As a character, he’s physically active as well as politically defiant, once he begins to grow into himself. This isn’t what amputees are ‘supposed’ to do in pop culture, and thus it’s a narrative that makes people uncomfortable, and one that the filmmakers evidently simply didn’t want to deal with.
I could be wrong; perhaps in the next film we will learn that infection set in and they took the leg. But I doubt it, highly, because this doesn’t seem to be in character with way Hollywood works, where disability is erased when it doesn’t serve a greater narrative or actively defies tropes. Peeta cannot be allowed to be disabled.
Woody Harrelson:I was on my bus, and on my bus I have a yoga swing. Jennifer comes on, and she goes, 'Hi, Woody, I'm J—is that a sex swing?' Her first sentence to me.
Josh Hutcherson:When I got cast, she called me up for one of those five-minute 'Excited to work with you, blah, blah, blah' things. The conversation started with her saying, 'Think about a catheter going in – ouch!' and then turns into a 45-minute rant about zombies and the apocalypse.
Zoë Kravitz:I'd met her a few times, and she was like, 'You should come over and we'll hang out.' So I go over to her apartment, and she opens the door in a towel. She's like, 'Come in, sorry, you're early, I was about to shower.' And she drops her towel and gets in the shower, and starts shaving her legs, totally naked. She was like, 'Are we here yet? Is this OK?' And I was like, 'I guess we're there!'