TOM THE DANCING BUG - Hunger Games 2012



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  1. I don’t get this strip.

    “The Hunger Games“ books  may be young adult fiction, but I thought they really tried to address political issues of ruling elites and downtrodden lower classes which are ruled in a divide-and-conquer manner, akin to some of John Christopher’s books. 

    1.  I don’t think the joke is at the Hunger Games expense; rather, that reality is distressingly & increasingly resembling dystopian fiction.

      1. Ah, seen from that angle it kinda makes sense. I’d probably have expected something like „Das Millionenspiel“ or “Running Man”, but I guess “The Hunger Games” is special because it features children.

        1. I’d wager the Hunger Games is a far better choice, since it has just had one of the biggest non-sequel opening weekends ever. And isn’t decades old. And people have heard of it.

          1. I’d considered tempering my comment with a smiley, but I figured “why tarnish my internet tough guy image?”

  2. In all of the Tom the Dancing Bug comic strips I’ve read (and I read BoingBoing every day), I think I found one amusing.

    This wasn’t it.

        1. It’s the law that all drawn/illustrated comics be funny: if it’s called a ‘comic’ it had better be ‘comical’.  I understand how you can be terribly disenchanted.  Have you tried moving to Florida and shooting cartoonists?  You know, to up the humor value…

        1. “Anonymous Internet poster dislikes a thing for no specified reason. Regular updates on the :15 and :30. Stay tuned.”

          Cool story bro, but if you’re going to snark about the offered entertainment, could you consider contributing to the discussion with some details about WHY you dislike Ruben Bolling’s work? 

          That might get a decent conversation rolling, whereas there’s really not much to say in reply to “This sucked and I hated it” (essentially) besides “Yup. Well, I like him, personally. Many of us seem to.” *shrug*

          1. Good call. Slashdot has some sort of voting thing so you don’t have to read some idiots posts…. 27 likes vs 1… just saying.

  3. Great strip.  It’s hilarious that so many people “don’t get it”.  They wouldn’t.

  4. This is brilliant, not “funny” of course but having just seen the movie yesterday, pretty good satire. The nice thing is that it’s not trying to force some political viewpoint or agenda, it’s just commentary.

  5. I think this is brilliant. I am completely gob-smacked that these other posters seem to have interpreted this cartoon so poorly. This is insightful social satire, poignant, funny, disturbing, topical; to boot, the juxtaposition of a popular book/movie and these three horrific events form the last month is unexpected and extremely intelligent — in short it’s much more than you typically expect from any comic strip. And it really comes as no surprise – Tom The Dancing Bug has basically never had a weak day in my opinion. Perhaps there is an island for folks like me.

    1. I think as satire it falls flat because in none of the three events there was any mention of them being orchestrated by a major organisation or that they got not viewed as anything but horrific aberrations. 

      All they and “The Hunger Games” have in common is violence against children/young adults.  Oh, they probably all ate bread, too. 

      1. So as satire it fails because it’s not literally the same……

        “Organizations” and policy set the table for these three horrific events, so I don’t think it’s as unrelated as you think. They hardly happened in a vacuum.

        1. Sorry, but that’s reaching.

          .   The massacre in Afghanistan was against sleeping civilians, nearly 50 percent adults.  And what policy and organisation set the events in Toulouse in notion?  

          1. The massacre in Afghanistan was against sleeping civilians, nearly 50 percent adults.

            I don’t see how that detracts.  The many children killed, were killed by a U.S. service person, overstressed in a war that they (the child victims) had no part or say in, a war that enriches elites and policy makers.

            And what policy and organisation set the events in Toulouse in notion? 

            Merah was inspired by religious terrorist organizations that for the most part exist, and gain recruits ( or lone acting wannabes) because of Western imperialism.

            I noticed you didn’t mention Trayvon since the institutional racism and violence in that case is so incredibly obvious that it doesn’t even need explaining to those too slow to pick up on the comic’s satire.

            In case you missed it, every story features children who are helpless victims out of an adult ugliness that’s out of their control. Pretty teens fighting in fantasy movies sells big tickets, but in reality children in cities, and war zones around the world face extreme violence and indifferent adults and policy makers. Adults who invade poor countries, lobby for “stand your ground” laws, fail to properly investigate the murders of minority children, enact policies that breed poverty and violence and so on.

            Basically, I think you’re splitting hairs. A Modest Proposal was effective despite the fact that officials were not really considering turning poor kids into food.. That’s satire.

          2. I “Liked” Navin’s comment. I would just add that the overarching policy or organization here is the world-wide system of white supremacy. A system used by global elites to manipulate non-elites into believing and acting against their own mutual interests.

      2.  the corporation in question is guns and ammo death and war inc, or moriarty in the last sherlock homes movie. the thing in common isn’t bread, it’s brown, or some variable on non-white, non-christian. seems pretty simple and effective satire to me. then there are other aspects that make the satire work, like the fact these are kids, it isn’t a movie, and that, even in the 21st century, in each case they are despised because of what they represent (fear of the other), not who they are as human beings (sacrifices for guns and ammo’s prosperity) is what makes the real connection … sort of like the tributes from impoverished, formerly rebellious areas being sent to fight to the death for wealthy people’s entertainment. when satire burns like that, you know its hit the mark like an arrow from katniss’ bow.

      3. Satire is typically built on an exaggeration. The author here is combining the well-known concept of The Hunger Games (somewhat a satire in it’s own right)  and society’s penchant to pay close attention – and, you could argue, be essentially ‘entertained’ by shocking and tragic news stories.

        If you want to get crazy, all of these events were, in a way, orchestrated by major organizations. The Trayvon Martin shooting/media circus undeniably has many major organizations to thank for its existence: the media, Florida state law, powerful lobby groups, powerful industries, America’s legal, social and political history, the Sanford police dept., and protest groups that have a national reach.

        The killings in France are directly related to Al Queda, a powerful international organization well-known for turning useless, barbaric and Pyrrhic attacks into attention-grabbing media events to further their insane and inscrutable political, religious and social goals.

        The killings in Afghanistan are directly related to one of the most powerful organizations in the world – the United States Military.

        Now sure, the US Army and the NRA and Florida republicans circa 2005 never intended that an innocent kid get shot to death or that a Staff Sgt murder a bunch of innocent civilians, but their organizations were the alpha to these sad omegas. And after these events occur, the media has no choice but to tell these stories to us in lurid detail because we want them to; we pay them very well for the service.

        And that’s how these significant events become nightmarish spectacle to the public. In the Hunger Games, a fictional totalitarian regime uses death sport to keep people entertained and in terrified thrall to the powers that be. In the real world, different organizations use their version of events surrounding aberrant, nightmarish tragedies that spring from the God-head of our complicated world to further their agenda. 

        1. In short, I guess you and I are not going to share that island. It’s too bad – it’s a very nice island. Great beaches and perfect weather. The local food is wonderful and the people are friendly.

  6. Ruben hit right the spot! Only a true artist to make the right connections and wake us up to the reality we live in…

  7. What’s there not to get with this strip?  It’s totally clever.  I haven’t seen Hunger Games, and don’t plan on it, seems to be very similar to the Japanese Battle Royale (2010), which was an interesting concept.

  8. This had me going in circles about whether I think the statement justifies the subject matter.

    My attitude is, if you’re good enough you can get away with it. But I couldn’t decide if this was good enough to pull it off.

    Then I thought, if it has me thinking that hard about it, it’s a great piece for that reason alone. Which mightn’t be the point at all. Does this one count as art?

  9. The bit that stands out as worthy for me is the line at the bottom, “All this and more… FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT!” Pointing out that the reason we know about any of these things to the degree that we do is because the information was brought to us as ENTERTAINMENT… entertainment disguised as ‘information’ but entertainment nonetheless. Sure, we jabber about it with our friends and shake our tongues angrily in the general direction of whatever vague authority we’d like to blame today… but really, we’re just going through the motions and denying that most of all these sorts of horror stories are presented to titillate, not motivate.

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