Ever watched Eurovision? I watched some on TV. Well, Australia was in this year for the quarter-quell. We’re pretty much the equivalent of District Thirteen. There are a whole lot of crazy people in space clothes on TV. They’re all smiling like they have a gun to their heads, and are spitting glitter while they tell the world the scores. Those scores seem to have more to do with some kind of overarching political agenda than the actual competition. You know, just like televising elaborate to-the-death cage-fights involving children would.
It’s the glittery aesthetic combined with the intense political passive aggression that makes it seem so much like the Hunger Games I think. In the books, America has disintegrated through some apocalyptic future war. What’s left are several different regions with different economic contributions to a dictatorial capital city. Every year the city holds a competition between all the members of the conquered nation to see whose kids are best at killing each other. It’s a humiliation, accepted by the participants in the name of keeping-face for unity. Like Eurovision.
Eurovision is the ultimate humiliation for broken nations, forced to send their children to go dancing on a trampoline to techno-folk music so they can be judged by the rest of the world. The judges themselves are people with Botox smiles and glitter coming out their tear ducts as they blink “PLEASE KILL ME” in Morse code. Exactly the same as in the Hunger Games. Additionally, weird shoulder pads from 1960s sci-fi films and beehive hairdos all make an appearance in both Europe and the fictional post apocalypse. I could feel the humiliation coming out of the TV, but wait, there’s more.
It’s been publicised that “anti-booing technology” has been devised since last year’s Eurovision. Supposedly in response to excessive booing at the Russian contestants. Not because of their act, but because the crowd thought up no better way of acting out against Russia’s politics than by booing at a song contest. This will clearly stop Putin’s homophobia in its tracks, they thought. Apparently, the Putin administration agreed, and out comes this unapplause censoring machine. Of course the technology is designed only to protect Russia’s image instead of its poor entrants. They’ve been taught all too harshly that they were merely an effigy of their country’s politics. Anti-booing technology is also a little too reminiscent of the media control and propaganda all through the Hunger Games. The contestants just had to smile and bear it, or else their families would GET IT! Well, probably not, but that’s a good point to start on mentioning the differences I see between the Hunger Games and the whole of Europe.
The Hunger Games sported a tense system of oppressive trade and governance amongst several districts which involved intense passive aggression. In Europe however the districts are called ‘countries’. I better put in some more differences than that, make myself sound intelligent. For instance: in the Hunger Games there was one capitol with total control of the different districts’ trade and governance. Alternatively, Europe has a handful of big players and a bunch of little kids caught up in the group. The little countries are like the kids who end up wagging school because they’re too afraid to speak out against the big kids’ plans and so end up trying to hide their tears as they break the rules under duress. Those big kids however are all about as big and influential as each other, so they have weird dominance stand offs where they yell “oi, throw the first punch dickhead” and put their arms out like they’re Spartacus. No monopoly of power means more passive aggression between powers; this means the strained smiles are much more snarky in Eurovision than in the Hunger Games.
On top of that the European countries want to look good for the rest of the world. “Don’t fuck with our gang” is a phrase I expect is carved in Latin, in an office somewhere in Brussels. The European Union is pretty much a bunch of nations that hate each other but want to look like a big happy family. They’re the couple who really should get divorced but stay together “for the kids”, except the kids are adults who want to leave. They’re really there for each other’s bank accounts. So their lives involve a lot of private investigator contracts and lengthy secret meetings with divorce settlement lawyers. Because they’re also so deep in each other’s pockets in Europe, they have to maintain their fake smiles permanently with fish hooks. America sometimes comes over for a really awkward barbeque, and tries to leave as soon as it can.
I’m sure that my shallow, lay-mans understanding of the economic and political complexities of Europe and the European union are correct. Just look at my clever association between young adult fiction and a song contest. I’m clearly right about this. I am glad you’ve read up to this point and can fully absorb the important message conveyed by this article. Europe is silly and I am clever and sophisticated for using un-evidenced criticism of it for the purposes of humour, and getting blog views. Of course, Eurovision is more likely just a chance for Europe to take the piss out of themselves and have a good time; that’s why they have trampolines in their acts. Have a great day!