by: Nico Lang
Last Thursday night, I was one of those crazy people you saw on the news that lined up to see The Hunger Games in theatres. I didn’t camp out, mind you, although I did briefly consider going as a drag Effie Trinket, which I expect to be this year’s hot drag Halloween costume. (Buy your outfits now.) Not only did I really enjoy the film, but I also felt like I learned quite a bit about what to expect when you’re expecting a post-apocalyptic future. For Hunger Games fans and those who don’t know a Haymitch from an Avox, these are some things you might want to know about what happens after Americans destroy everything.
Beards have become stupid.
I know that in the future Bon Iver, Grizzly Adams, Gerard Butler and Katie Holmes aren’t around to represent beard pride, but I cannot stand to see what has become of the facial hair of the future. In the film, head gamemaker Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) sports one of those sculpted, half-shaved beard atrocities that look like the flames a man has on the sides of his car when his other parts are lacking a certain something. The result resembles an even gayer Captain Jack Sparrow or what would happen if you applied the concept of Vanilla Ice’s hair to the sides of his face. Gautier may approve, but the Laws of Common Decency do not.
Cats are sometimes food and not friends.
Both the novel and the film open up with Katniss threatening the life of the Everdeen family cat, who Katniss is not a fan of. Clearly, this says to me that we have ventured far from Leave It To Beaver territory, where the household pet is practically a member of the family. In the future, America (now Panem) is a little more like the Donner Party, and anything and everything can become a meal at anytime, including pets, squirrels and probably some forms of dirt. Newborn puppies? The perfect midnight snack. The dreams of children? Great with a little salt and a side of grain. Your shoe? Just what I was craving. Let’s grab Werner Herzog and boil that shit.
People love to name their children after flowers and weather.
Seriously, stop it. Coal mining parents of the future, you are not Gwyneth Paltrow or Frank Zappa and neither oblivious enough nor high enough to think this is a good idea. Primrose and Katniss, let us introduce you to Moon Unit to show you why you may want to just go by Ashley and Jessica from now on.
It’s socially acceptable for men to wear eyeliner, too.
We really aren’t far off from this, and it’s about damn time. David Bowie has been doing it for years, and last week, the internets were abuzz with the introduction of mantyhose and brosiery into fashion, which shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who has done ballet. (What else do you think those tights are, anyway?) Men can sport manbags, so why not go Johnny Depp and apply a little guyliner to your ensemble? When you are done, feel free to man-cessorize with a wig from the diverse Minaj collection and some acrylic nails. We can’t let Wendy Williams and Effie Trinket have all the fun.
Your parents lied: fruits and veggies are not always good for you.
I have learned from Katniss Everdeen that in the future, you cannot trust anything, not even your feelings. This includes all insects—which may be genetically-engineered by the government to murder you (and, thus, proving Oliver Stone right about everything)—and most food. Although the example of Peeta shows that burning bread means you love someone, bowls of berries are the horse head in the bed of the future. My best friend and I now have a standing pact that if we ever feel the need to end our friendship, we will simply leave the other a tub of blueberries with a note that says, “Enjoy.” (Note: The future takes passive-aggressiveness to delicious new heights.)
Painting has finally become a marketable skill.
Starving artists out there, The Hunger Games shows that you might just make it after all; however, this will happen for you only by participating in an all-children’s Battle Royale for survival, favor and food, which is very similar to what I think happens on the set of Glee. Like in Menudo, only the strong and resourceful survive, and the example of Peeta shows that non-resume builders like “can do watercolors,” “skilled at drawing fruit” and “broods a lot” could actually save your life. If you are in a jiffy and outnumbered by a band of tributes that want you dead, painting allows you instant camouflage. You can be a rock, a tree or the most beautiful rainbow. Finally, having Bob Ross around becomes incredibly useful.
The health care system hasn’t changed much.
The medicine of the future is really cool and can almost instantly heal you if you happen to get burned by giant fireballs that people shoot at you (because the future is like a really annoying video game) or get cut by what appears to be the Sharks from West Side Story.
However, the only way to get this medicine is to be rich or to appeal to the sympathies of rich people through having one-percenters lobby for you. Haymitch, the model lobbyist, gets medicine for Katniss through his charm, connections and intense love of booze. Otherwise, if you live in District 12—aka. Rural Appalachia—you don’t get medicine or health care, but you do get to starve to death. Same thing, right, Tea Party?
People really hate the Kardashians.
In the future, people have grown to loathe reality television stars so much that they would rather watch them all kill each other than work out a solution in which everyone is allowed to eat. Khloe, Kim and Kourtney, you did this. You are the reason that children are not allowed to live.
Twilight was wrong about everything.
Do I even need to explain why? I didn’t think so.
Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a film critic for HEAVEMedia, where he talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Nico is also a contributor at Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, the New Gay and on his mother’s refrigerator. Nico is poly, pansexual and genderqueer but really just identifies as whatever David Bowie is. Follow Nico on Twitter @GidgetLang or on the Facebook.