Today is Wednesday, so, from the vaults . . .
Time for another Extraordinary Triangles exercise. The Sound Of Silence — American Gods — The Hunger Games. Three phenomenal pieces of art and entertainment linked through their reference to gods and deities, and how people conjure up entities with which they make sense of the world. In the name of these gods and deities, people around the world either rise to the challenge, achieving greatness, or sink to the depths of depravity, committing atrocities, forever keen to act in the name of (and be absolved by) something greater than they.
The Sound Of Silence first came out in 1964. It was an acoustic version that did not sell at the time. Three years later a different version of the song would be released, becoming an instant hit, but the basis had been set in 1964; one of the iconic tunes of the 20th century, composed and performed by a hippy-style band called Simon and Garfunkel in their little known album Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, which is reminiscent of
American Gods and its second protagonist Wednesday AKA Odin, All-Father, Grimnir, or Votan, leader of the old gods. Wednesday is on a mission against the new gods and their aim to take over America, a land well-suited for people but not gods, especially old ones. This is the era of blacktop roads, gambling, electronics, TV and pixelation, gods of a technological and ever-changing disposition; fickle, uncertain, ill-defined and pathologically unsure of themselves and their place in this ever-changing land; as suspicious of each other as they are of their enemies. One of these new fickle gods is Media, a deity whose name rhymes with and alludes to Medea, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios and infamous sorceress who killed her children to take revenge on her husband, Jason, (the gods in this story are capable of terrible acts) an atrocity that brings to mind
The Hunger Games Trilogy, a story about a futuristic society called Panem and the struggles it faces in the wake of a ruthless tyranny. Panem is under the rule of the Capitol and its fancy lifestyle, its high technology, fashion, gastronomy and culture, and its deadly Peacekeepers. On top of that, Capitolians enjoy a supreme form of media entertainment, the highlight of which are the yearly Hunger Games: a deadly competition between Tributes from the Twelve Districts of Panem, namely children aged 12-18 years old whose task is to fight to the death in a live televised show. It’s a media extravaganza that feeds on the lives of Panem’s children, a sacrifice to the gods of glitz and spectacle, which brings us back to
The Sound Of Silence and how ‘the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made.’
And there you have it. The Sound Of Silence, American Gods, The Hunger Games. Three incisive pieces of art about the power of the deities people conjure to make sense of their lives and the actions they take in their effort to come to terms with their conflicting, contradictory, often belligerent nature.