RUSH: We have a couple people here who want to talk about The Hunger Games, and we’ll start Debbie in Gardnerville, Nevada. Hi, Debbie. Great to have you here. Hello.
CALLER: (badly muffled) Hi, Rush. It’s good to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you. Thanks very much.
CALLER: How is your day?
RUSH: I’m doing well. Thank you.
CALLER: Good. So I got a little upset about what you said because I think 99.999% of the time you are right. But The Hunger Games is not just about kids killing kids. When you read the whole series, it’s about a revolution. It’s about people mad at a government who’s been oppressing them and who take over and attack the government. I actually —
RUSH: That can’t be. That can’t be.
CALLER: No, it is.
RUSH: Hollywood wouldn’t produce anything like that. That can’t be. You gotta be wrong. Do kids kill each other in these movies?
CALLER: Yes, they do. But that’s the point of the books. That’s not the point of the series. The point of the series is that they finally get tired of being oppressed and they attack the government.
CALLER: When you read the third book, it all comes to light. But you have to read all three, otherwise people get the impression that it’s just kids killing kids, and that’s just not what it’s really about.
RUSH: All right. Well, that’s cool. If that’s how you see it, I’m not gonna sit here and argue with you about it.
CALLER: (badly garbled) Well, did you read the third book? Because you have to read the third book to get that. If you don’t read the third book, it is just kids killing kids.
RUSH: No. In fact, I’ll be honest. I haven’t seen one minute of the movie or read a book. I had somebody tell me about it, so I’m not surprised. You know, when people tell you things, what you get is their impression of it.
RUSH: I’m just passing on what I had heard. I haven’t seen one minute of either of the movies, and I have not read any of the books.
CALLER: Well, (garbled) movie is about so much.
RUSH: Here’s the point. Wait a second, though. All this came up in context of this kid running amok and what his dad does. And what does this kid do? He is out killing people. Did kids kill people in this movie, or in the books? Do kids kill kids?
CALLER: They do, but the reason they do it is they’re forced to do it to keep their district alive.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: If they don’t go and do what they need… (garbled) If they win, then their district gets (unintelligible) for the next year. And if they don’t, they’re (garbled).
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: (garbled cell)
RUSH: Okay, okay. Look. I cannot understand a word you’re saying ’cause the cell phone connection. But what I gathered that you said before it all started jamming up was that they kill, yes, but because they were forced to in order to save their “districts,” which is fine and dandy. But Debbie, thanks for the call. I appreciate it. Another Debbie. She’s in McLean, Virginia. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Good. Thank you.
CALLER: Third-time caller dittos for you from a Rush Babe. I’d like to agree with my predecessor Debbie that it’s not glorifying the killing. It’s criticizing it, and the whole point —
RUSH: Wait, are we talking about the movies or the books here?
CALLER: Both. In the books, it is there because it is kind of to show you how bad this government is forcing their people, their citizens to compromise their personal beliefs and devalue life the way they do for entertainment for the bourgeoisie capital people. And the command-and-control government doesn’t give the people in the district, to put it in your terms, the ruling class versus the country class —
RUSH: Okay, let me try this. Let me ask you a question.
RUSH: There’s no wrong answer.
RUSH: I just want to know what you think. As you watch these movies or read the books, and you imagine young people who vote Democrat and think Obama’s great and love big government — as they watch these movies — are they going to be inclined to be more in favor of Democrats and big government or are they going to think, “Wow, this is not good. I don’t want to support government if it does this kind of thing”?
CALLER: Well, unfortunately because of our education system, I don’t think that they’re getting the metaphor. They’re seeing that, “Oh, President Snow, he’s a bad guy. He’s the villain, and he’s forcing these kids to go into this arena and kill each other while he and his friends in power, the ruling class, get to reap all the resources from each of the districts, be it coal mining, technology, farming, livestock, textiles, lumber.
RUSH: Right, so you are —
CALLER: You know, they are basically taking the hard work of the citizens for themselves.
CALLER: They never have to work a day in their life. All they have to worry about is what color their hair is gonna be or how much they can eat at the party —
RUSH: Okay, so —
CALLER: — and they watch it for entertainment. It’s kind of like Running Man, where the government controls the media, and to the citizens of the capital, the ruling class —
RUSH: Well, I haven’t —
CALLER: — it’s entertainment, and —
RUSH: I can’t talk to her. (thumps desk)
CALLER: — for the country class, it’s a threat and a warning for troublemakers.
RUSH: I haven’t seen — what is it — The Running Man either. But let me ask you: Would you describe the books and the movies as anti-government?
CALLER: Well, like I said, I think with anything you read, you get out of it what you put into it. Just like people who read your books are looking for you to be the bad guy. With my personal/conservative core beliefs, that’s what I see. I see anti-government. You know, the hero tries to overthrow this government, so that way the killing can stop and they can stop The Hunger Games.
RUSH: Okay, who is the hero?
CALLER: Well, the main heroes are Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, who are, as you mentioned before — spoiler alert — two survivors in the first book. And they go on, and they have to kind of become a part of this system that they don’t agree with, and then they basically try from the inside out to have their own personal statement, own personal protests. Katniss sort of becomes the beacon of the revolution, the symbol of hope that things can change.
RUSH: Okay, let’s back up. You said that people that read my books want to look for me to be the bad guy?
CALLER: Well, I mean, even with your recent books, people say they’re appalled, “Oh, Rush Limbaugh wrote a children’s book and he’s going to –” I read some, you know, very biased reviews, which are obvious that people haven’t read the books. They claim that you and Sean Hannity go back to change history, and that’s not what you do, obviously. I read the books, my nephews have read the books, and you’re trying to teach them the truth about what has been misinterpreted.
RUSH: We’re not trying; we are.
CALLER: Yes, you’re succeeding very well.
RUSH: And, you know, frankly the reviews have been somewhat surprisingly good to me. We got a Stack and collection, they’ve been amazingly good. (interruption) What, you got an Amazon e-mail that mentioned? (interruption) Yeah. That’s true. That’s true. Amazon’s pitching them. Go figure. But I even read a review by some guy who just despises me who said, “The books are actually quite good, I have to admit.” It had to be hard to write. I’ve not seen too many of these bad reviews. But I got your point. People have preconceived notions and they plug what they see into what they want to believe.
I haven’t seen any of these movies and I haven’t read any of the books, and I’ll tell you why. The title is The Hunger Games, and then when I first heard what these movies are about, I didn’t get the connection between the title, and then when I saw everybody in it winning awards, “Well, to hell with that.” (interruption) What? (interruption) Yeah. See, I’m being told, “No, it’s really, really good, the kids killing kids, it’s just a minor part, it doesn’t –” (interruption) Right, they don’t. If everything I’ve heard so far about it, we ought to have legions of teenagers marching to the polls voting every Democrat out of office if the movies and books are that good. And we don’t, do we? (interruption) What’s that? (interruption) Oh. Well, you know, it’s fascinating.
You take a look at what people see, it always is amazing to me. That’s why I try to keep an open mind about everybody’s perception of things. I mean, here kids are killing kids, it’s not a big deal! Okay. Yeah. “They have to because they’re being told to, and then they eventually rebel against it and they get rid of the oppressive government,” while they vote for one to live under themselves over and over again.
Well, I look at polling data, Millennials are openly telling pollsters how much they hate big government. They don’t like it. They think it’s ineffective and they’re voting for it at the same time, which I also understand, because I understand why they’re doing it, and it all comes down to Republican branding, when you get down to basics. Anyway, Debbie, I appreciate the call. Really do.
RUSH: Okay, so I just got an e-mail from somebody I know who is 60. “Don’t believe what these two callers have told you. These movies are sick. They are about socialism and government control of food, and they are dystopian.” Now, I think I understand this. Follow me on this. We’ve had two women call today who praised these books to the hilt. They’re really, really good. I don’t know how old those women were. I couldn’t tell. It’s really tough to guess based on voices. So I’m not going to.
But you take somebody who was nine or 10 years old in the fifties and take them through the sixties, teenage years, you put this movie in front of them back then, and it’s a horror story. Kids killing kids just was not portrayed. War movies were. But even the war movies back then, nowhere near the realism that you get today in terms of the gore. But the idea of a movie that is entertaining that has good in it, that shows a government making kids kill each other, unheard of.
So you take somebody who grew up, their formative years were the fifties and sixties, you put this movie in front of ’em and I guarantee you they’re gonna get sick. But you put the movie in front of kids today, “Ah, it’s just no big deal.” I mean, compared to the what else they’ve seen and what else they’ve heard, what else they’ve been exposed to, it’s no big deal. Maybe they can even see themselves in it. And I find all this fascinating. It’s why I have vowed that I was never gonna become a fuddy-duddy.
When I was 60, I was not gonna look at what was going on with young people when I’m 60 and immediately put it down as trash or whatever. But I can honestly tell you that something like this would never even have gotten made back in the fifties or sixties. Would you agree with that? Something like this couldn’t even get made. And why? Because it’s rotten. It’s an absolutely horrible, worthless premise. And yet today, it’s award-winning.
Now, is that so hard to understand in an era where abortion occurs for the convenience of the living? I think not. There are reasons why what used to be considered coarse and taboo or intolerable, today is considered art. I remember the outrage when Piss Christ happened, Andres Serrano, the crucifix. Piece of art, submerged in a jar of urine. And we were told we had to learn to appreciate it.
Here’s the difference, folks. Or one of the differences. You put The Hunger Games or something like it, Mad Max, one of these dystopian movies. What is troubling to me is the dystopian nature of these things, that there’s no good in the world anymore, that everything is rot and everybody’s corrupt and everything’s sick. (interruption) No, I’m not talking about just this movie. I’m talking about if I had somebody from the current Drive-By Media here explaining why The Hunger Games or movies like them are winning awards, it’s because, “This is the world people live in today, Rush, this is what life is about to them. They’re scared. This is what they see as possibly their future.”
To which I would say, “Why? How has that happened?” It wasn’t all that long ago that the future was an optimistic thing, not a pessimistic thing. It wasn’t that long ago that young people couldn’t wait to get out of the house; couldn’t wait to strike out on their own; couldn’t wait to make their own way in the world. And the reason for that was bubbling effusive optimism, eagerness. But today there’s not so much of that. There’s a lot of pessimism, fear, and even dystopianism, in the media, that defenders of it, “Well, this is what the world is to them today.” Then I would say, “How did that happen? That’s a shame.”
I mean, I know pessimism’s easy. I know anybody can do it. I know optimism takes work. Optimism has always been an applied discipline. But it used to be natural. It used to be a defining characteristic of leaders and people who were otherwise inspirational. Today, it seems like people who can see the evil ahead and who can see the horrors, they seem to carry a lot of weight, the pessimists. I mean, I would much rather have everything in life be optimistic, you know, tempered with reality. Not everything is.
I’m not talking about rose-colored glasses or anything here, but so many movies are dystopian. End of the world destruction, you know, LA is nothing more than a giant land-filled dump of people flying around in space machines and all kinds of human debris are involved and selling ’em this and that and the whole idea is to escape it. And LA’s not gonna be that. Well — no, it’s not. It’s not gonna be that.
RUSH: I’ll tell you what I think some of this also shows, and I’m gonna get in trouble for this. But I’m gonna say I think it shows how desperate some people are to find their ideas and beliefs validated by Hollywood. I really do. On our side, I mean, on our side. Just like people hope one day the news media will see things our way. It isn’t gonna happen.
RUSH: It’s a delight to have you here, ladies and gentlemen. The one and only Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.
Let me ask you a question. Let’s take a look at Star Wars. Do you think that young people, when they watched Star Wars, the first three of ’em back in the — had to be the seventies and I guess some into the eighties, you had Darth Vader, the evil emperor. You had their Death Star, and they were out to wipe out everybody who stood in their way from little Yoda to Luke Skywalker, to Princess Leia, and all of those, you know, oddball little freedom fighter guys.
Now, do you think that young people saw the Democrat Party in Darth Vader and the evil emperor and the Death Star, and that they saw Reagan conservatism in Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi? I don’t. If they did, then the Democrats wouldn’t be having such an easy time. My only point is I finally found out who wrote these Hunger Game books and movies, Suzanne Collins, and she admits to being a far-left liberal, concerned with the environment, concerned with too much war and economic deprivation. (laughing) I told somebody: “Well, she made a mistake, then, because her movies are real Republican.”
No, they’re not. That’s my point. They can’t possibly be.
Anyway, Snerdley said to me during the break, “It’s amazing that you can turn 60, 63, and keep an open mind and not turn into an old fuddy-duddy, but does that mean you’re not gonna be honest and say that the music and the movies today is absolute garbage?” And I said, “Well, go back and look at your era, look at Psycho and Alfie. There were all kids of things, for its day, which were just as depraved and shocking as this stuff is today. It’s just relative to what your baseline is. The difference to me today, it really does boil down to optimism and pessimism, to me.
You know, back when I was young eating up whatever, the media that I liked back then was, be it entertainment, books, movies, TV shows, it was all for the most part, at the end of the day, end of the movie, optimism triumphed. There was no such thing as a dystopian. That didn’t happen until the left got totally concerned with nuclear weapons in the seventies and the eighties and the Phil Donahue show and so forth. Then you had the Mad Max movies which were post-apocalyptic world where there was no gasoline except what you could steal. Everything dystopia, the opposite of utopia. Dystopia is just absolute disaster.
That’s the difference to me. And if you check, if you’d be open-minded, if you check attitudes today, take a look at Millennials. What are they telling you? They’ve lost faith. American dream’s over. No chance for them. Those days are long gone, as far as they’re concerned. All they face is $200,000 minimum student loan debt, no job. And they’re not blaming Obama. They’re just down on America. The old promise of America doesn’t exist for them. And I think a never-ending barrage of pessimism and dystopianism has to have played a role in that attitudinal thinking.
Look, anybody well adjusted can go watch anything and come out of it fine and dandy. If you’re well adjusted you can go watch the biggest horror, slasher movie in the world and come out of there not wanting to go do that kind of thing to people. If you’re not well adjusted, if it fits your worldview, it’s just gonna confirm the pessimism, the uselessness and so forth. That’s the difference to me today.
In fact, folks, this is one of the reasons why the whole notion of writing children’s books on American history appealed to me, because it was an opportunity to restore — I mean, the story of this country is a fascinating story in human history. It doesn’t need any embellishment. It doesn’t need any exaggeration. What happened in founding this country is an absolute miracle when it comes to human history on this planet. It is just an amazing story. But you and I all know that what’s happened — and not just in the education system — is the whole idea of what America stands for has been under assault for a long time when the multiculturalists came in and got control of things. And it’s worked.
All you need to do is look at polling data of attitudes and measure how much optimism versus pessimism there is out there, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. These Hunger Games books are for kids, 14 to 16. They’re not for adults, but adults go watch the movies and read the books, and I do think that there is a real craving, sad though this may be, I think there’s a real craving among many conservatives to see their values reflected in popular culture, because we’ve lost it, admittedly. Everybody admits we’ve lost it.
Even Frank Rich had a piece over the weekend in the Atlantic, or wherever he writes, that there’s no such thing as conservative comedy. Conservatives aren’t funny. Well, we’ve been doing comedy and humor here for 25 years. The left is who doesn’t find it funny, because you can’t make fun of them. See, here’s the left view of comedy: Comedy can only legitimately be done if the powerless are making fun of the powerful. Therefore, the left is filled with powerless people who need a big government looking out for them.
In my case, the homeless update. That’s not humor. That’s cruelty, in their worldview. All these things that we did that you thought were the funniest stuff you ever heard, nobody ever came along, nobody made fun of liberals. They don’t find that funny because they look at themselves as downtrodden, the disadvantaged, they need a big government protecting ’em. They’re all Julias or pajama-clad metrosexuals running around, and everybody’s out to get ’em except Obama, who’s there to protect ’em and other Democrats.
So if you are a conservative and you’re sitting around waiting for your values to be reflected in popular culture, as long as it’s owned by the left, it isn’t gonna happen. But if you’re desperate to see it you might go watch a movie and think, “A-ha! It’s a secret conservative message! Look at that!” And you’re being fooled. Well, when the producer, the writer, the director, and everybody in it is a staunch ultraliberal, then you… (interruption) Yes, it is! It damn well is the intent. (interruption) No. It’s for people to figure out that it’s Obama, it’s fine, but it’s not just Obama. It’s liberalism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism.
George III represents tyranny. And so if you put modern words uttered by liberals in the mouth of George III the message is to convey what tyranny is to young readers. Well, I don’t know President Snow from President Frost ’cause I haven’t seen these movies, and now you’re making me so mad about this, I don’t care that I want to. But I’m almost obligated to now. What does Hunger Games have to do with it? Why did they call it Hunger Games? It’s obviously not about games and it’s not about hunger. (interruption) Oh, they don’t have enough food, do they? Oh, so they kill people in order to have enough food to eat? (interruption) They don’t kill people?
“They do kill people, but that’s not the point, Rush, that’s not the point. They kill people, kids kill kids, but that isn’t the point!” Apparently no food stamps in Hunger Game dystopia. You gotta kill to eat? That’s the way it was in the caveman days, Fred Flintstone in the boys. They didn’t have food stamps. They didn’t have Social Security disability. Hell, they had to conquer dinosaurs and ride the things to be able to move stones around. But no, seriously. The reason that the history books seem so — I mean, just a natural to me. I am an optimist. I always have been. And there’s no earthly reason if you look at my life why I shouldn’t be.
If I were a pessimist, boy, what a mistake that would be, given the blessed life that I’ve had. So I’m an optimist. I believe in optimism and happy endings and stuff. They’re possible. But I don’t think there’s a whole lot of that now because the modern definition of reality is dystopia. The modern definition of reality is how everything sucks. I’m telling you, it wasn’t that way when I was growing up, and I am not being a fuddy-duddy. I’m just trying to chronicle some of the differences and how much impact they have on people. I still maintain if you’re self-adjusted, well adjusted, all this crap in the world is not gonna affect you.
But look at this kid. The kid had his $40,000 Beamer. He was not bad looking. A lot of this stuff I didn’t understand. They said he had Asperger’s disease or whatever it is. I’ve known some people with that. You can’t function. That’s worse than — it’s similar to autism, but, I mean, you gotta be kid gloves around people who have that disease. It doesn’t take much to have them just go off, and so you have to kid glove everybody. It’s terrible. I don’t know, this kid supposedly had that.
Folks, it’s also true that there’s just plain bad people out there. No matter what you do, there’s evil out there and no amount of gun control or caring or concern, no number of hashtags is gonna stop it. But, see, that reality is overlooked and events like this are all rolled in to the dystopian nature the left presents everybody, this overall pessimistic view. And they benefit from it, is the point. Things are so bad, you need your big government run by us to protect you from all of this horror that’s out there, that this country has become.
It’s insidious to me. I think this country’s story is amazing, and I think it’s optimistic. I think it’s uplifting. The story of this country and our Founding Fathers is some of the greatest inspiration people can expose themselves to.
RUSH: You know what I thought I’d do? I thought I’d go to some popular liberal website and just put in the search term “Hunger Games” and see what I got, and that’s what I did. I went to the Huffing and Puffington Post, and I entered “Hunger Games” as a search term, and I found a headline to a story on the Hunger Games movies at the Huffing and Puffington Post. Do you want to know what it says?
“The Hunger Games and the death of winner-take-all capitalism.” So at the Huffing and Puffington Post they clearly watched the Hunger Games and they were cheering it. (paraphrased) “This is the greatest thing for socialism we’ve ever seen! Why, this thing destroys free market capitalism!” Now again, I haven’t seen these flicks, haven’t read these books. So I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage.
I could fake it like many hosts would lie to you and claim they’ve seen the movies. I haven’t. I don’t care that I haven’t seen ’em yet, and can still discuss it. I just think it’s fascinating. I got all these people telling me today, “Rush, this is a secret message. The conservatives… Boy, Hollywood is really ripping into big government.” Well, here’s a big government website saying it’s the best movie for their view that they’ve ever seen.
And how about this: “The death of winner-take-all capitalism”? Capitalism is not winner-take-all. Liberalism is! Liberalism is where everybody’s poor except the Fidel Castros of the world. It’s just the exact opposite.
RUSH: This is Dave in Perrysburg, Ohio, great to have you on the program, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Hey, I would listening to what you’ve been hearing about The Hunger Games being anti-conservative, and I thought, man, I had the exact opposite reaction. I got dragged there. I had no interest in it. I was bored, and then I just became very depressed because it was as if I was watching the evening news with this administration and liberalism just running amuck. There was no hope, and it was just big government. I mean, I saw the exact opposite. I didn’t see anything anti-conservative. It seemed almost anti-big government.
RUSH: See, this is fascinating to me. How old are you, do you mind my asking?
RUSH: Forty-six. Who dragged you to this movie? Who wanted you to see it?
CALLER: An acquaintance, a girlfriend took me to it, oh, my gosh, I don’t want to go there.
RUSH: It’s all right, but somebody the same age as you, pretty close?
CALLER: Yeah, huh-uh. Hm-hm.
RUSH: Was this supposed to be a date and the content of the movie was so bad that it ruined the night?
CALLER: (laughing) It didn’t ruin the night, but I was a little down afterwards. But, yeah, it was a date. She had read the books and said, “I want to go see it,” and, you know, we did discuss it afterwards, and I said, “My gosh, it’s like –“
RUSH: Did your, quote, unquote, date like the movie, think it was great and all that?
CALLER: She enjoyed it. She liked the stars, and I didn’t know who some of them were, so —
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: — yeah.
RUSH: Well, look, this is really minimal data that we have here today. I mean, it’s really minimal. It’s tough to make this statement, ’cause it’s all anecdotal, but every woman that’s called here and talked about this just raves about it and loves it. And this guy didn’t see it that way at all, which is not surprising in the least.