Mar. 26th, 2017

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To the illustrious President Snow:

We can neither confirm nor deny that we became aware of District 13’s existence because President Coin enrolled in our correspondence course. Our student list in confidential, and frankly, we’re embarrassed that you even asked. Surely your District 13 spies can uncover that information for you.

Surely you have spies in District 13? This is Dictatorship 101 stuff, President Snow. We’re growing weary of spelling it out for you.

And speaking of Dictatorship 101, President Snow, your obsession with Katniss Everdeen is complete amateur hour. At least when Stalin obsessed about Trotsky, he was obsessing over an enemy with a proven track record of rallying the masses to revolution and penning scathing denunciations. Katniss, on the other hand, has a proven track record as a poacher. Not very threatening, President Snow.

In fact, you’ve been obsessing about the wrong tribute: Peeta is the real threat. Katniss’s flamboyant gestures may be more eye-catching, but if Peeta hadn’t laid the groundwork for their tale of star-crossed love, she never would have had the chance to show such defiance.

That star-crossed love is the cornerstone of their power, President Snow. Break them up!

Or, at least, make them appear broken up. Given that you have total control of the media and all of their public appearances, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

In our last letter, we suggested framing Gale Hawthorne as a spy, but if you persist in refusing to tell your people about District 13’s existence, there is a much more obvious use for him: he’s Katniss’s illicit pre-Games lover, the man she ran back to the moment she returned to District 13. They’ve been meeting clandestinely in the woods for years! Clearly they’ve been banging for ages. We’re smelling an investigative report right now.

The fact that your news crews earlier portrayed Hawthorne as Katniss’s cousin will only strengthen this smear campaign. There’s no reason to correct this misapprehension. Let your people recoil from those District 12ers and their incestuous ways!

But there’s no reason to stop by linking Katniss with just one lover. No, you’d better portray her as an ungrateful slut who doesn’t give a damn about Peeta, despite all the sacrifices he made for her in the arena. He lost his leg for her! And how is she repaying him? By sleeping with every eligible bachelor in Panem.

It doesn’t matter if she’s actually sleeping with any of them or not. All you need is some photographs of her arm-in-arm with other men and you’re set. At very least, we’re sure that you can maneuver Finnick Odair into a clinch with Katniss: his reputation is so scandalous that all you need is a picture of the two of them standing side by side and a smutty headline and people will assume the worst.

Peeta may be too canny to repudiate Katniss on television, but surely there are Panem gossip rags that could invent an interview. “Peeta Opens Up” - we’re seeing the headline now, preferably accompanied by a photo of Peeta with his head drooping in exhaustion - accompanied by an interview with a sympathetic reporter whose kindly listening at last gives him the chance to share his grief and pain over Katniss’s defection.

If you’re lucky - and canny enough yourself to keep the supposed lovebirds apart - you’ll get a real interview from Katniss in return. And then perhaps a response from Peeta! Dueling interviews across the issues of Panem’s premier gossip magazine! It will make them both look petty and malicious and altogether unsuitable as symbols for a rebellion.

Peeta is the real prize here, President Snow. Your obsession with Katniss has blinded you to the fact that he’s the real mastermind behind their star-crossed lovers act. He’s the one who needs to be neutralized. Could you hook him up with Johanna Mason? Or how about linking him to FInnick Odair too? How do people in Panem feel about homosexuality? We’re guessing a gay scandal will blow Peeta out of the water. If nothing else, it will suggest that his feelings for Katniss are nothing more than an angle.

And that, President Snow, is the killing stroke. Peeta is the one carrying this star-crossed lovers story; if you want to kill it, you need to convince people that he made it all up from the start to manipulate the audience. Hell hath no fury like a populace deceived by someone they consider beneath them.

The Society for Improved Dictatorship


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