Bleats

This Amazing Hunger Games Theory Explains The State Of The World Now

Look, it makes exactly as much sense as anything else…

It might seem like a stretch to suggest that the world is currently embroiled in The Hunger Games, but bear with us for a second.

Have a think about the rise of populist politics around the world: the election of Donald Trump, the calls for Brexit in the US, everything One Nation says here (and the battle over regional Queensland in the Australian election)… there’s a shared narrative in place.

And that narrative is this: that there are “real” people outside of the cities, and there are the elitists in the ivory-towered cities who are at best out of touch with the reality of modern life – and at worst part of a sinister cabal of perverted, corrupt monsters, most likely engaged in some vast conspiracy against the salt-of-the-Earth populace.

Sound familiar? Like, both in the sense that it sums the strain of populist (and often openly racist and anti-intellectual) politics around the world, and also in that it’s the setting of a certain popular young adult book and film series about a near-future dystopia?

This idea was touched upon in an article in Cracked. Or, more accurately, a pretty meme:

And that seemed a stretch, until you consider the timeline.

The Hunger Games was first published in 2006, but the film came out in 2012 and was a sensation. Three years and three sequels later Donald Trump announces his presidential run.

The following year he gets the presidential nomination, the UK narrowly votes to leave the European Union, and One Nation win four seats in the Australian senate.

Of course, there’s a small problem with this The World Is Now Hunger Games theory, in that this narrative is all over the place.

Star Wars. Mr Smith Goes To Washington. Ready Player One. It’s a classic for a reason: it lets the audience go “sure, I might not know stuff but that doesn’t matter; being pure of heart is more important than all that effete book-learnin’.”

Meanwhile even enormously well-paid media types and politicians who live in multi-million dollar properties try to present themselves as honest Joes who can see through the cheap lies of… um, the Bureau of Meteorology?

(Then again, that stereotype is equally offensive in reverse – and there was a spate of suspense and horror films which posited that the world outside cities was terrifying and weird, from splatter flicks like The Hills Have Eyes to acclaimined classics like Deliverance and one of the most acclaimed Australian films ever, Wake In Fright.)

It’s basically a documentary.

So yes, correlation doesn’t equal causation and given if it wasn’t The Hunger Games it’d probably be something else.

That said, if Trump starts demanding young people engage in formal bloodsports in the coming months…

There Is A Very Itchy Reason That Harry Potter Had To Abruptly Stop Filming

"So if you’d like to gather closer, take a few wood lice and a bowtruckle …"

Get a bunch of kids in a confined space and you can pretty much guarantee that an infestation of lice will follow. It happens in daycares, it happens in schools, it happens in sports teams, and it turns out that it also happened in Harry Potter.

Well, no wonder if they were all sharing the same hat.

In what is one of the least glamorous stories of modern filmmaking, it transpires that filming on movie number two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was actually stopped for “a few days” in order to deal with a lice outbreak among the young cast members.

And we don’t know who brought their filthy parasites onto the set, but let’s be honest: it was probably Neville.

And we don’t want to know how much scratching was going on to force the shutting down of a multi-million dollar movie production, but we assume it’s a lot.

Fun bonus fact: if you’re reading this and unconsciously scratching your head then don’t fear. It’s a perfectly normal human reaction and it even has a hilarious name: formication, meaning the feeling of having insects crawling on (or under) your skin. It’s from the the same root as formicidae, which is the insect family that contains ants, and thus much less rude and more anty than you’d assume.

Reenactment.

And while lice is pretty ewww-inducing (although it doesn’t really have any health effects beyond being itchy), it’s also a reminder that these were really just a bunch of kids.

Speaking of which, and in slightly less parasite-related C of S trivia, apparently both Daniel Radcliffe’s and Rupert Grint’s voices broke during the filming. Awww!

Barnaby Joyce Says He Can't Survive On A $200K Salary, After Telling Millennials To Suck it Up

Maybe he just needs to move somewhere cheaper, or get a better job?

Former deputy PM and current backbencher-slash-punchline Barnaby Joyce has been taking to the media to explain how he thinks the Newstart rate should be raised – good! – because as a humble MP he too understands the stultifying effects of poverty since he can’t survive on the hundreds of thousands he’s raking in.

“It’s not that I’m not getting money it’s just that it’s spread so thin,” he explained to the Courier Mail. “I’m just saying these circumstances have made me more vastly attuned.”

“It’s just a great exercise in humility going from deputy prime minister to watching every dollar you get. A politician [renting a duplex without a dishwasher] for 415 bucks a week, he’s not living high on the hog, is he? “There is a reason for that and that’s basically what I can afford. You do become a lot more mindful.”

And look, it’s great that Barn’s realised that money is a thing and discovered the simple joys of taking his partner out for coffee as an affordable treat but… mate, are you kidding?

It doesn’t say much for the economic credentials of the man that occasionally ran the nation that he can’t budget as well as a student.

And much has been made of Barnaby Joyce’s $211k parliamentary salary upon which he can’t survive, but that’s unfair.

It’s actually closer to $250k, thanks to the bonus he gets as Chair of the Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources. Oh, and the $46k he gets for having a large electorate to cover, where he can pocket whatever’s unspent at the end of the year.

And it could be pointed out that having two families to support after his affair with a staffer is very much his choice, as was cashing in on his first son’s birth with a $150k interview fee.

And it’s worth remembering that Joyce has previously been pretty unambiguous regarding how poor people should stop complaining about how tough they were doing it, from telling young people struggling to afford houses that they should just move to Tamworth and that unemployed people were job snobs who needed to “get off their arses”.

And sure, we could point out that it’s a bit weak for someone to only care about something when it affects them personally, but if that’s what it takes to make a federal politician take an interest in the struggles of his constituents, then so be it.

So: who wants to arrange to start pumping his rented duplex full of mining runoff? It’s probably the best way to get action on the Great Barrier Reef.

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