The Hunger Games and a Universal Sign of Respect

“At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.” – The Hunger Games, Chapter 2, page 17 (seen in the clip below at the 2:30 mark)

I’ve read the first two Hunger Games books and enjoyed them. Yes, they were full of teen themes, but beyond the story, were the author’s thoughts on how we as a society are moving back towards a gladiatorial style of entertainment, how hunger and oppression affects people, etc. And that, I’m very interested in.

Watching Catching Fire this past week, one of my best friends (who hadn’t read the books), asked me what the three finger symbol that is used meant. That question got me thinking, perhaps another social question we should take away from the series is the fact that we could use a universal sign of respect in our culture.

We have symbols of admiration in our society, but they are fragmented, not universal. We have the Nobel Peace Prize, but what is very narrow in use and not something the masses can use. We have the standing ovations at performances, but in my opinion, they are highly overused and almost obligatory vs. an actual statement on the quality of the performance.

We need something that is used rarely, but demonstrates thanks, admiration, and love. Something that everyone knows, understands the meaning of, and can use. Something that would have been used to honor great humanitarians such as Oskar Schindler, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela.

As to how to go about doing so, I’m open to suggestions.

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