A real world Hunger Games

This weekend I was on a hike with some friends/lab mates when we, for some reason, started talking about The Hunger Games. This caused me to remember an extremely surprising (and disturbing) news article about how a company was planning on creating a reality TV show similar to The Hunger Games. Known as Game2: Winter, the online show was quoted as being unrestrictive to contestant conduct. Their posted rules stated that “fights, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking [etc]” would be allowed. The all-volunteer cast would try to survive by any means necessary in Siberia, on a bear infested island, for around 9 months.

BBC article about the game show here (more elsewhere): http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38342421/russia-does-the-hunger-games-for-real-in-siberia-but-no-guns-are-allowed

It turns out the show was a publicity stunt for organizer Yevgeny Pyatkovsky, with some speculation that the Russian Federation shut the show down. Regardless, the show and its premise will not come to fruition, but what if it had? (it garnered a lot of publicity and volunteers to participate)

In an ethical context, I think the egregious violations proposed by the show (rape, murder, etc) are undeniably unethical if they were to happen in everyday life.

My question is, can someone willingly void their own ethical rights?

Assuming the premise of the shows was continued, would the contestant’s willingness to join a show under the pretenses consistent with the show’s rules void their own ethical protections? Or, should a show like this ever be allowed, assuming all participants were willing?

Personally, I do not think a company, or person should be able to make financial gain through the sale of this type of content. However, I do admit that there are plenty of instances where people’s misery has become monetized, and in many of these cases the victims are not volunteers (just because it happens doesn’t make it right). I am not sure how I feel about a person’s ability to subject themselves to these potential conflicts with other willing participants. Should people be allowed to hurt each other if they all agree that those actions are okay? Is war much different?

I am honestly not too sure, but I found the story to be too far out there to not share, and I am curious if a show like this will ever come around in my lifetime…

3 Replies to “A real world Hunger Games”

  1. I thought your insight “there are plenty of instances where people’s misery has become monetized, and in many of these cases the victims are not volunteers ” was quite accurate, and brought to mind the constant advertising monetization that occurs during tragedies, and the morality of this. Media companies will often show video or related materials to recent tragedies but also have ads run before these videos, essentially profiting off of the tragedy. This is quite commonplace. It is interested to consider whether if volunteered, this becomes ok. My gut reaction is that it is still not ok to profit off of those kinds of actions, but I agree with you it’s a tricky subject. I can’t imagine a show like that would ever actually exist though, unless we are thrown into a legitimate dystopian future.

  2. I truly hope that this sort of thing never surfaces in real life. It is really scary to imagine the hunger games occurring in real life. It defies the rules and regulations set by society as they currently stand. In addition, it would imply that certain members of society are lower class and less regarded than other members which sets a hierarchy system. It is unfortunate that a media company decided to profit off content that is so tragic and it is certainly not okay.

  3. The idea of this even being thought of is disgusting and I hope that this never actually happens. I do think that there are cruel people in this world who would try to make this idea become a reality. I also think that if this did become a real life Hunger Games, that some people would feel obligated to void their ethics in order to survive. The company that thought of this should not be allowed to make a financial gain from this because of the horrible content that it would include. I agree with your statement that this would not be much different from war.

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