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This weekend, The Hunger Games came out: the first in probably about seven films based on the popular trilogy of books. It can't be understated how popular these books and movies are; the movie's opening weekend was massively attended, and the books have been the talk of book nerds for years. And it's kind of unsettling when you realize that all this rapturous attention is getting directed at children dying in arenas.

"Oh look, the children are dying! Let's clap and bray!"

Does anyone else see a problem with that? Isn't that like a question on those tests they give to psychopaths? "How many children have to be killed in an arena before your erection wanes?" What if an entire civilization failed that test? What if that's our civilization? Although I take no pleasure in being the last bastion of morality in the world, as Cracked's only licensed killjoy ...

"Everyone stop having fun immediately! You! Having premarital sex! Knock it off, you guys!"

... someone has to explain why we should not be enjoying these films and books so much. So please, I beg of you, read the information below and pass it on to your friends and intelligent pets. Hopefully you'll find a way to use this advice in your daily lives -- your smug, self-superior, tongue-clucking lives.

Children Have a Right to Life

Let's get this one out of the way first, because it is, to my eye, kind of the obvious issue here. The same way that dogs and mailmen have an innate right to life, children, too, have the right to not be killed for the amusement of the book-reading public.

Because no one ever talks to them, few people know how bloodthirsty librarians are, a trait at least partly attributable to frustration that no one ever talks to them.

An excellent example of this is how, when a child is killed in a non-arena context, we all gasp and say "That's awful!" That is the correct reaction, and if you've done that, please feel good about yourself for a moment. But consider how the inclusion of an arena affects the equation: not at all.

In fact, if the children were deliberately placed inside of the arena (instead of stumbling in there because of some poorly placed signage), that actually makes this worse. Because we are now talking about not only premeditated child enarenament (a rarely used term to describe a violation of a child's right to not be in an arena), but if that arena in fact kills the child -- which seems to be the arena feature that is getting everyone's rocks off -- then we're talking about murder.

You guys know why murder is bad, right? Should I have started there? Sigh ... You know something, screw it. I've got other reasons. Let's move on to ...

It Discriminates Against People Who Don't Have Arenas

OK. Let's say that hypothetically we have some children, and maybe their right to life isn't so great. Maybe the children are wicked or something. But that still doesn't mean it's acceptable to put those children into an arena we have lying around, because poor people don't have arenas and won't have that option open to them.

Obviously, there are limits to this kind of argument. Inequality is always going to be present at some level in our society, and in general we have no problem denying poor people, say, their yachting rights. But we don't deny them voting rights, either. And by that measure, the right to dispose of wicked children has to fall closer to the voting end of the spectrum as a fundamental, inalienable right. Allowing the wealthy to dispose of children in arenas ...


... and denying that same privilege to poor people is grossly unfair. Furthermore, the population balance between rich wicked children and poor wicked children will tip, and the poor wicked children will eventually overrun us all and eat our flesh.

Wait. Is that right? That's how Oliver Twist ended, right? Oliver ate all those people's flesh? Yeah, that sounds right.

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The Children Will Haunt the Living Shit Out of Us

When conducting research for this article, for some reason I kept meeting people who live on the fringes of society. Among this population were a sizable number of so-called ghost experts, who all agreed on two points -- that you must pay up front to hire the services of a ghost expert, and that ghosts are more likely to haunt the living if they are killed in an arena. Opinions differed on why this is the case; some say the amphitheater shape of most arenas amplifies the natural energies of the recently deceased, while others state that people who are killed in arenas are just really angry with the living for some reason.

"Why did you cheer my doom? WWHHHHHHHHHHHHY?"

And no matter what you say to a ghost-child, whether it's "Oh, I'm sorry, but you were wicked," or "Oh, sorry, but we cleared $30K at the gate, so, you know," or "Sorry, but your death was siiiiick, so you have that to be proud of," the ghost-child isn't going to give a damn, because your voice is like the sound of a billion angry hornets to him, and all he can do now is hate.

It Costs Too Much

The costs of arena maintenance are of course substantial, and well documented elsewhere. But in this case, they're dwarfed by another, less obvious cost: the cost of the children themselves.

In the past, poets have attempted to assign a value to children based on hard-to-quantify notions like the warmth of their hugs, or the twinkle in their eyes, or the pure expression of delight on their faces when they see their first snowflakes. But later analysis has since shown that those qualities aren't actually worth anything.

"Nope. Says here anyone can enjoy a snowflake. Except for scientists ..."

Now, economists are more likely to state that the value of a child is simply a discounted sum of that child's future economic output. And since children are, by convention, quite young, this implies that their future economic output is potentially quite high. By getting these children to kill themselves so wastefully, we're depriving our factories and Walmart entrances of the labor they'll need to compete in the 21st century.

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It Wastes Valuable Child Meat

The meat from children is incredibly illegal to actually possess or even really to type about, so everyone just be cool, OK? But that said, there are people, on the Internet certainly, and I'm also going to guess in mountainside European castles, who are very interested in both child meat and not wasting child meat.

Why these people place so much value on child meat isn't known -- all interview requests were angrily rejected. Were I willing to speculate -- and it turns out that I am -- I would suggest that tenderness is a particularly prized feature. They may also be very health-conscious, and perhaps interested in the lower levels of bioaccumlative toxins like lead or PCBs that would be found in child-flesh. Or they're simply so jaded and overly wealthy that they can't enjoy anything that doesn't involve destroying someone else.

Donald Trump has fired his wife mid-coitus no less than 800 times.

For these people, nothing could be worse than arena-based child-centric melees. Because given the dangers of arenas and the general clumsiness of children, it's all but a guarantee that any child-meat produced by their combination will be, if not completely ruined, then certainly in need of heavy saucing.

Interestingly, Donald Trump has also fired his saucier no less than 800 times, at least one of those times mid-coitus.


For more from Bucholz, check out The Best (Worst) Fantasy & Science Fiction Book Covers and So a Satellite Just Hit Your House.

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