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In which John talks about The Hunger Games. The Wimbly Womblys play York City.

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Hello and welcome to Hankgames without Hank. My name is John Green and in a stunning turn of events, it's raining in England. I'm the manager of the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys who today are taking on York City in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy aka the knockout competition where we start our B team. So please say hello to Jack Midson and Mr. Green Eggs and Sheringham who will be playing up front as well as, uh, P. Sweeney there in the middle and Hells Pells. Uh... and at the back we've got, uh, Buckminster Fuller out on the wing etc.

Okay! Today I'm going to talk about The Hunger Games. Uh, big movie Catching Fire just came out. Um... this, uh, recently. Well, I guess on Friday and I haven't seen it yet because I'm recording this in the past. It actually is Friday, so I haven't seen the movie yet. I'm going to see it this weekend though, probably. Get it! Ohh! I wanted a bigger finish from you Hells Pells! We actually have a song for you, but you weren't- you didn't- that was a terrible, terrible, terrible finish.

Um, I reviewed the first book in The Hunger Games Trilogy, uh, in the New York Times book review. Not to brag or anything. Um... so, they put my name in the book, uh, in the back there. It says something like "Brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced," which I believe. I love those books very much, all of them, but particularly the first one. Um, I just think it's a really important, um, important book in the history of YA.

It was a book that, um, took uh... imagined a dystopian world that was also an extremely contemporary one. Kind've the most contemporary dystopian novel I think we have. Um, and I really, yeah, I thought it was really special. I hadn't seen a lot like it and I still, I still like it very much. I liked the first movie as well. People are always hard on it because it was jumpy or whatever because they felt like, uh, it obscured the violence or it embraced the violence. All kinds of things people feel about it.

I thought it was great. Obviously Jennifer Lawrence carries the movie in a lot of ways as um... 'cause she's, 'cause she's frickin' awesome! But her performance, I thought, captured what it is so profoundly weird about Katniss' relationship with the world, which is that um. We like to, we like to think of ourselves as identifying with the protagonist of a novel, particularly a sci-fi or fantasy novel. You always like to think of yourself as being, uh, similar to them. We're all sort of Harry Potter, you know? We all suspect that the, um, the letter from Hogwarts might come any day that establishes us as special and says like "All the stuff that you've been going through, you've been going through for a reason." 

The fascinating thing about The Hunger Games, and there are certainly not the first dystopian book to do this, but I think it does it really well is that, um, it asks us to empathize, obviously, with Katniss. But it also, um, it also reminds us that, uh, we or at least the vast majority of the readers are more citizens of the Capital than we are citizens of one of the districts. We are more, uh, in line with the behavior of the people in the Capital. The way we dress, the way we watch, the way we consume media, uh... the way we eat, than we are with the people of the districts. 

And that is a very, um, that's like a very uncomfortable thing and I thought that it was captured quite well in the first Hunger Games movie. But the great genius of that movie, because it is a visual media about visual media, um, is that I thought Jennifer Lawrence's performance really captured how, uh, profoundly weird it is to both need the support of these patrons in the Capital and at the same time really resent them. And how weird it is to need Peeta so much that you don't know if the feelings you have are real feelings or not. Or if it's really about just needing to stay alive. That, I thought that was nicely done and very discomforting, uh, in the movie. 

You know, that was all down, like, Jennifer Lawrence had to do 100% of that work and I thought- Oh god! Mr. Smith doesn't go to Washington! I thought it was done very well. Um... so I'm really hopeful for the Catching Fire movie. I've heard that it is nice and dark, which is how I like my dystopias. Um... and I'm sure, but I'm sure that Jennifer Lawrence is excellent in it and, um, that the boys are too. I like both of them a lot. I can't remember their names. What are their names, Meredith? 

Well I know the names of the characters, Gale and Peeta! I meant the names of the actual boys. Lian Hoomsworth? Liam Hemsworth. Who's fiancé is he? Miley who, Cyrus?! They dated? I'm just behind on this stuff. Oh! You know who's not behind, Green Eggs and off the post! And it's Francomb! Doing the robot, he's doing the robot. And there's a very aggressive... quasi romantic hug from Green Eggs and Sheringham! Oh, that was just a beautiful finish. Just a beautiful finish. Oh, yes... oh! Mm... mm, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love it! Oh man... that made me very happy. Nice goal from Francomb. 

He doesn't have a name yet. We've gotta work on some of the backstories and the names here, guys. I don't- I know it's mostly down to me, but... anyways. I really do like, uh, yeah. I love The Hunger Games. I, I've, you know, I've been a long time supporter of the series and I remain a big supporter of it. Um, but I think that, uh... like, when The Hunger Games becomes a conversation primarily about, like reality TV or whatever. It's really missing what's most interesting about the series. Um, because to me what's really interesting about it is the way that we are all, uh, we are all of us, complicit in this weird image, image exchange. 

Um, that we're so super saturated with images now and narratives about various kinds of suffering and various kinds of, uh... well being. It, it becomes like in The Hunger Games in the Capital- part of the idea is that the people of the Capital don't get the whole story, right? But like, what interests me most is that the people in the Capital ultimately, they, they don't... they do have access to, um, they do have access to real knowledge about what's happening in the districts.

They just can't like internalize it, like they can't make it theirs. They can't accept it, they can't acknowledge it because it would mean tremendous sacrifice. It would mean, like, a shift in the power dynamic. And a shift in, in... uh, you know, who has access to what and that's something they're not comfortable with. Like, they're not willing, ultimately, they're not willing to give up their comfort.

It's not so much that the government is run by an evil person, it's that the people of the Capitol don't want, uh like, want to conserve power in their hands- in the structure that it currently exists in. That is, um, that's the world in which we find ourselves as well. And the vast majority of us, including me certainly, are kind of complicit in that because we also want to conserve power. Um, and it's really hard not to.

It's really hard to accept, like if your, let me give you an example. If you're a straight white male, um, it's pretty hard to say "You know what? This structure doesn't work, it doesn't benefit the most people in the best way. We should replace it with a structure in which people like me have less power." It's really hard to sacrifice power and control and your, you know like, like the sound of your own voice being heard and say like "No, no, no, other people's voices that have been traditionally neglected are important and need to be heard now." 

I think that's a really, I don't know. I just find that's a really interesting problem. I don't have any solutions for it. I do think that it's hard, but like, the great moments in human history are the moments where people have said like "Okay, I'm okay with having less power. We do need a shift. We do need a better world." And that does happen sometimes, but usually it happens because people in the equivalent in the districts, um, sort of force it upon people in the equivalent of the Capital. 

And that's very much what happens in, um, in The Hunger Games and what I like about- I mean a lot of the times, the second two books get a hard, uh, a hard rap or an unfair rap. But what I like about those two books is that way that they... they do explore, I think, the way that political change really happens pretty effectively. Um, as well as the risks and possibilities of political change.

And the way that- um, you know, there's something about power that's inherently corrupting and just so, so tempting... you know? It's just, it's so hard to be a good stew- what a great tackle! I don't know who that was, but that was fantastic! It's really hard to be a good steward of power. Like it's hard to be, um, it's hard to do right by your own power. Oh, what another fantastic tackle by Weston! Dang it! Jarvis! Jarvis, I've never liked you! I don't like that- I don't think much of that celebration. It's like "non-gong-gong-gong-ga" I don't get it. I don't get it. 

Um... this is, this is, that was a great tackle and then just terrible defending. It was ball watching. We got caught ball watching, that's what that's all about. So, it's 1 - 1 in the 70th minute against York City and suddenly we're in a spot of bother. There's no other way to put it. That was, that was a foul, sir! You broke the rules! I'm going to go ahead and make a substitution because, uh... this is not working out. Woah, these guys are exhausted! You'd think they've never played soccer before. 

You know what this game needs? It needs John Green, John Green and it needs... Some Moore. I always forget that we have, have Matt Smith, former Time Lord. It's great, uh, but my thing for him when he scores, Meredith, I think it's going to be like Mr. Smith goes to Washington. Someone suggested that in comments and I thought it was pretty funny. Huh? Yeah, it's current, exactly. Matt Smith is not famous anymore, but the 1953 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I mean that's, that's a perennial! 

Bald John Green, Other John Green! Oh, it doesn't take them long! It doesn't, do the robot, sir! "John Greens, John Greens, Bald and Other John Greens, they're the best strikers that Wimbledon has ever seen!" Oh, what a great finish. I mean, that's just two guys who know each other, they love each other. They spent, you know, they spent the first 80 minutes of the game on the bench. Just watching these guys, just thinking "I don't want to get in the way of anything, but I could definitely do better." You put 'em out there and within two minutes they score a goal. 

Um... I think they're really interesting books about, um, thinking about the way that change actually happens and thinking about kind of like the repercussions of revolution, which is something we don't consider much. I think in our culture. Um, we- the revolution is so exciting... that we don't, we don't think about the kind of like risks and rewards of revolution. And I really like the way that it's handled in those books. I think that, um, I don't think, I don't think they're cheapened, um... by, by their endings. 

I know that, um, I know that the ending of, uh, of the third book is extremely controversial, but I really think that's, I mean... I don't know. I don't think it's read fairly by a lot its critics... but I can't say more without spoilers. So, I won't say more because I know lots of people haven't read the books and I would like them to. Ahh, was I offside! Ya Ya Ya Ya Bamba! He was offside." (laughs) I'm just... really taking any excuse to sing that song! Um... it might not've even been him in the end, but I enjoyed myself regardless. 

90th minute, desperate times for York City. They tried to make an offensive substitution, but it's going to come to nothing. Because, let's face it. We're the Wimbly Womblys and we're here to win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, whatever that is. Oh, what a great ball! Francomb, he's got 2! He's got 2 and he does the robot again! Oh, and he gets a big hug from Bald John Green! That's just, this is fantastic stuff. Francomb has had a nice game, you know? That's a guy that doesn't get a lot of starts, but he got his opportunity and he said "I'm good with my left foot, I can put it up in the top corner of the net. I'm worth paying a little more attention to Manager Green." And you know what? I'm listening, I'm listening, I am. I'm impressed, that was a really good run coming out from the mid field, but I like to see that.

Who's that a foul on? Or is that just the end of the ga- Hey, we won the game! It didn't look good, but then we made a couple of offensive substitutions and then it's 3 - 1. We get to move on in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Competition. Whatever it is, every time we win one of those games, it's like 1,500 bucks, which we can put toward new players. Thank you for- did I say nude players? I don't think we should put them toward nude players. I think we should put it toward players in the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Wombly uniforms. Thank you for watching. Enjoy The Hunger Games, let me know what you thought of the movie in the comments. Best Wishes.