I’m Reading ‘The Hunger Games’

Finally I’ve got a copy of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Published in 2008, it has taken four years to translate the book into the box-office champion movie of this year (so far).

The imaginary dystopian world of The Hunger Games has some features which I find disturbingly familiar: rationing of electricity and health care; manufactured food shortages; abolition of the right to bear arms; no one owns a car–but they do have high-speed rail! Jerry Brown would be so proud of them.

Also: no one has a right to travel from one “district” to another, and even if they were allowed, they’d have to walk; public schooling is the only from of education allowed; and the government has taught its downtrodden serfs to spy on one another.

All of these things are right out of the Agenda 21 “sustainability” playbook. They are all “progressive” dreams come true. When such dreams do come true, we quickly discover that they’re nightmares–but then, of course, it’s too late.

Welcome to Obummah’s second term…

Would You Kill Yourself if a Celebrity Told You To?

What do you suppose people would do, if they turned on the TV and saw something like this?

“Hi. I’m George Clooney/Cheryl Crowe/Rosie O’Donnell/Barabbas [plug in the celebrity of your choice], and I need to talk to you about a very serious issue…

“Scientists tell us that human population levels are not sustainable: that, unless we “build down” the population before it’s too late, everyone in the world is going to suffer horribly–from starvation, from disease, from war…

“So we’re looking for unselfish persons–maybe someone like you–who will take the first step… The new Adios! pill from [plug in your favorite “green” company] is guaranteed to give you a quick and painless exit from this overcrowded world. Best of all, it’s absolutely free!

“For a sustainable, green tomorrow for your children and grandchildren, why not say ‘Adios!’ today?…”

How many people do you think would take the Adios! pill?

Yes, I know–I’m a fantasy writer, and I’ve just created another fantasy. It’s just for fun, right?

But what do you think would happen if they really tried this stunt?

Where’s Daddy?

This may seem an odd topic for Mother’s Day, but think about it–where have all the fathers gone?

Time Magazine–it’s only about as thick as a supermarket flyer now–had a cover story this week on something called “Attachment Parenting,” with a cover photo showing a a rather striking “mom” with a four-year-old boy literally “attached” to her by the breast: yes, a four-year-old boy still breast-feeding.

Is the boy’s father presumed missing? Some 40% of America’s children nowadays are born out of wedlock, so maybe Daddy was never in the picture in the first place. Or maybe the father in this case is merely invisible, irrelevant, not part of the equation.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think my father would’ve had something to say about it if my mother had insisted on breast-feeding me after I could walk and talk and wear clothes. Something like: “What are you trying to do to my son? Raise him up to be some kind of great big mo-mo?”

But consider our hopelessly corrupt culture’s take on fatherhood.

No dads–that’s great!

Two dads–that’s even better! Hip-hip-hooray!

One dad–boo! Hiss! Boo! How archaic, how sexist! But if you insist on having one dad in the household, the least you can do is make him silent, invisible, and totally ineffectual. Otherwise he might say something gauche when Junior goes off to kindergarten and the school’s Gender Coach teaches him, “You can be a boy one day and a girl the next, depending on how you feel.”

I grew up in a world of men and women. God help the children of this benighted age.

An Utterly Shameless Appeal

I’m told it’s very bad form for an author to plead with the public to buy his books. But is it just as bad to implore people to get their family, friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances to buy them? Yeah, probably…

But I am also told that I must be my own publicist–rather like taking out my own appendix. I have neither the knowledge nor the talent for this role.

Look, if you’re already among the few, the proud who have bought these fershlugginer things, you are excused from reading this–although I would greatly appreciate it if you somehow compelled others to buy. But for those of you who hang around here and haven’t yet obtained any copies of my books–hey! Come on! Don’t you realize you’re allowing me to be outsold by all sorts of dreck about teenage vampires and witches and necromancers, etc.? Aren’t you ashamed of that?

This is Lee the Publicist talking, not Lee the Writer. Lee the Publicist is something of an idiot. Lee the Writer stands utterly aloof from this shameless appeal for sales. It’s all the Publicist’s doing. Honest!

But if by some unlikely chance it works… well, then I’ll take credit for it.


Our Murdered Cities and the Freedom-Eaters

“Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana. Let me say it again. Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana. That’s the town that ‘knew me when’…”

Most of us have heard that song. It’s from “The Music Man.” It’s a famous song, and it made the city famous. How many American cities are the subjects of a famous song?

But Gary, Indiana, for all practical purposes, is no more.

There are still some 80,000 people living there, according to the 2010 census—a decrease of almost 17% from the 2000 census. In 1960 Gary had a population of over 178,000; so today’s population figure represents a decrease of about 55%.

To get a better feel for what those numbers mean, you have to see the pictures. You can take an online tour of Gary, Indiana, on the “Forbidden Places” website.

Yes, the pictures tell the story. Schools, hospitals, the Methodist Church; post offices, factories, office buildings, and the Jackson Five Theater—all abandoned, all quietly rotting away. Broken windows, floors covered with debris, and peeling ceilings. Tons and tons of equipment, furniture, and accessories: desks, hospital beds, wheelchairs, file cabinets, electrical fixtures. And outside, mile after mile of empty streets—no cars, no pedestrians. When 80,000 people inhabit a city that once, and not so long ago, housed 178,000, it leaves a lot of unused space. One is reminded of Isaiah’s prophetic vision of the ruins of Babylon:

“It shall never be inhabited… But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.” (Isaiah 13:20-21)

RoadKill Radio Interview

Christian Fantasy Writer Lee Duigon from RoadKill Radio on Vimeo.

Family Freedom Fighters: Christian Fantasy Writer Lee Duigon

Ron Gray speaks with respected columnist and fantasy writer Lee Duigon, author of the popular “Bell Mountain” series. Among the topics: Teachers usurping parental authority; also, how did Christianity suddenly vaporize from the world of “The Hunger Games”?

The Fantasy (or should I say hallucination?) of Universal College

Imagine my horror this morning when I turned on the radio and heard adults–people who have actually been issued drivers’ licenses; who are authorized to open bank accounts; who even (Heaven help us!) vote–arguing for universal college education, paid for by the government, of course. “By the government,” for those unfamiliar with the not entirely honest use of language customary among those who try to shape public policy, means “by you, you suckers.”

“Universal” means everybody goes. Well, almost everybody already goes to college. As long as you’re willing to pay for it, there’s a college, somewhere, that will admit you.

In the same broadcast I learned that the total amount of outstanding student loan debt has just topped one trillion dollars. So what we’re talking about here is the American taxpayer getting gored for another trillion bucks (that’s a thousand billion, folks) and then adding onto it from there. Hey, the money just rains down out of the skies–right? It’s not like we have to work for it.

Once we get universal college paid for by the American people, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision the next two steps. 1) Make it compulsory, because that’s the only way to make it “fair,” and government is really into fairness. 2) Once everybody (literally) has a college degree, the degree will mean absolutely nothing, so we’ll have to go on to… universal grad school!

Forsooth–how many people do we need with master’s degrees in women’s studies, queer studies, victimology, self-esteem, white hispanic studies, black hispanic studies, scab-picking, and head-butting? Meanwhile, you keep all these individuals in college for 10, 15, or 20 years, and there are that many people not out in the marketplace working themselves to death, paying for it all.

This is a much, much, much dafter fantasy than anything that any fantasy writer has ever come up with.

Happy Earth Day… Not!

In the spirit of Earth Day, I would like to revisit a news story published in The London Times in March, 2009: “UK population must fall to 30m[illion], says [sic]Porritt Jonathan Leake and Brendan Montague.” The article is posted on Free Republic at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2212052/posts .

“Jonathan Porritt, one of [Prime Minister] Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society,” the Times reported.

According to the 2010 census, the UK’s population as 62.3 million. The Times did not report by what means the scientific advisers proposed to get rid of 32.3 million Britons, nor how quickly they proposed to do it.

The secular road to Utopia always leads to a mountain of emaciated corpses. Think in terms of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” in which at least 40 million human beings (and probably many more) were done to death by starvation, violence, torture, exposure, and disease–and all in a mere four years (1958-1962)!

Behind the facade of “sustainability” and “environmental justice” and “smart growth” and “social justice” lurks a cruel ruthlessless that sane people will not find easy to imagine.

Let us hope God hears our prayers, and for His own great name’s sake, delivers us out of the hands of these murderers and tyrants.

Now That’s a Good Neighbor!

An inspiring news story from New Jersey!

Newark Mayor Corey Booker was awakened early this morning by the noise of the house next door to his being on fire.

The mayor rushed into the burning building and carried out a woman who would have died if he’d waited for the firemen. A city detective tried to hold him back, but when he couldn’t, he followed Booker into the house. Booker suffered minor injuries, for which he was treated at the hospital and released this afternoon.

“I’m no hero,” Booker said, adding that he didn’t feel at all heroic during his action, but instead experienced intense fear.

But of course he is a hero–and if there were more like him, the world would be a better place. Hats off to Mayor Corey Booker!

BBC’s Old ‘Narnia’ Series Was Better Than the Movies

Not for the first time, and I hope not for the last, I’ve begun to watch the old BBC-TV production of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

So far I’ve seen and reviewed all the new Narnia movies–and this old production from the 1980s runs rings around them. Yes, some of the costumes and special effects are primitive, even a bit silly–no fancy computer graphics, back then. But it doesn’t matter! These old shows captured the spirit of Narnia; and the new movies, for all their expensive and up-to-date production values, do not.

There’s plenty of good acting in the movies, and wonderful camera-work; but the writing is strictly third-rate. The movie-makers made any number of ridiculous decisions. It would be hard to say which was worst. Trying to turn Prince Caspian into a smouldering hunk? Turning Susan and Lucy into warrior princesses? Presenting Reepacheep as a kind of furry Bart Simpson? Or rewriting the whole doggone story, as they did with Voyage of the Dawn Treader? I find the effect of the beautiful cinematography of these films soon wears off, but my distaste for the multitude of follies still lingers.

Watching the old BBC version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was struck by how Peter (Richard Dempsey) starts out as a high-handed little prig who never loses an opportunity to lord it over his younger brother, Edmund (Jonathan Scott); and by Edmund as a nasty little piece of goods, sly and smarmy and totally self-centered. Their experiences in Narnia–most importantly, their coming to know Aslan, the Great Lion, Lewis’ fantasy avatar for Our Lord Jesus Christ–change them to the core. The real Peter emerges as a merry, brave, and great-hearted boy on his way to manhood, while the real Edmund shows sober, wise, and courageous: he, too, will grow up into a great man.

But what stirred me most, as it always does, was Aslan himself. When Peter is knighted and blessed by Aslan, I could almost imagine what bliss it would be for me, if I could kneel before Christ, and lay my eyes on Him, and receive His blessing in person. It stirs me just to write about it.

And that most of all, I think, is what C.S. Lewis had in mind.

PS–You can get these old Chronicles via amazon.com.