Friday, March 23, 2012

May The Brackets Be Ever In Your Favor

It looks like the two biggest media events of the weekend will be the Regional Finals of NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament and the release of the movie adaptation of "The Hunger Games". It's oddly fitting that both are going on at the same time. March Madness and the Hunger Games themselves have many striking similarities. They're both nationally televised, single elimination tournaments, featuring mostly teenagers selected from set regions across the country that captivate the country once a year with their drama and surprises (cynically one may argue that they are also both slightly rigged by powerful, malevolent institutions).

Given the interesting parallels I always wondered while reading the books (well, technically listening to them on audio book while commuting, props to Carolyn McCormick for a boss narrating job) whether the Hunger Games (it's not like the Olympic Games, it's just one big event, shouldn't it be just the Hunger Game?) were treated anything like March Madness in Panem.

First off, I would assume that only the folks in the Capitol (and maybe some of those loyalist lapdogs in District 1 and 2) would actually watch it as a form of entertainment rather than a horrifying reminder of the government's absolute power over them. Given that, would there be many of the fun trappings of the Big Dance? I would imagine productivity amid the offices of the Capitol go down due to the organizing of pools and filling of brackets, but considering that the Capitol is just a grotesquely decadent Sodom of the privileged maintained by slave labor, I can't imagine too much office work, or really work of any kind, being done (maybe a a decline in lurid orgies and vomitorium assisted bacchanals).

I guess that would just leave even more time for focusing on the Games, constant armchair analysis of the favorites, looking over the field for possible sleepers. It's funny to think that in the case of the Games, when someone considers who this year's George Mason would be they may literally be referring to an actual former tribute named George Mason. Personally I think Katniss has all the makings of a dangerous sleeper pick poised to make a deep run: coming from an unheralded mid-major district (with only one champion in the past 73 Games for crying out loud), fundamentally sound, undersized, but with impressive range. Though, I guess it's not a true tournament, there are still a myriad of ways to gamble on the outcome: selecting the winner, over/unders, elimination order, etc. Aside from the official presentations and pageantry would there be plenty of additional analysis and insights from sports journalists and discissions on morning sports talk radio about participants and scenarios? Would there be a Capitol version of Joe Lunardi with a weird mustache and blue skin, breaking things down with his science of Hungertology? Does that make Caesar Flickerman their Dick Vitale?

Also it would be pretty awesome and apropos if they played "One Shining Moment" as the sole remaining tribute is airlifted out of the arena.

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