Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Hunger babies

July 11, 2014

I didn’t know I’d be an adult reading young-adult novels, but I really like the genre. Most of them are sci-fi/fantasy mixed with angst. I love those things. I didn’t plan on liking “The Hunger Games.”

I was skeptical at first. I heard “The Hunger Games” was a young-adult novel about a girl and assumed from the title it was about anorexia. Anorexia is a serious issue, but then so is murder.

Side note: When I first heard the scientific term anorexia nervosa, I thought it was a diet spell in Harry Potter. Think about it. There were no fat wizards in Hogwarts, so they must have had something.

I found out that “The Hunger Games” was really about a girl who had to fight for her supper, like coupon day at Old Town Buffet.

After reading the book, I learned that it was really a fictional treatise on our fascination with reality television. It’s “Survivor” kicked up a notch. The only difference was when you’re voted off, you’re voted WAY off. I am not sure I have to spell it out for the two or three of you who have never read the books or watched the movies, but I will. The losers are pushing up daisies. They’re dead. Deceased. Kaput. No more.

I was really taken with the characters in “The Hunger Games,” especially the book’s heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Katniss carried a bow and arrow, and I thought that was cool. She’s like Hawkeye from “The Avengers,” but without all the purple. I only had one problem with my new hero. It was her name. I must be the only one to think it’s hideous. According to the website Nameberry, Katniss is among the top 10 most popular baby names. It’s kind of hard to believe that there are little Katnisses (Katnii?) crawling around.

Luckily, Gale and Peeta are not popular boy’s names. Thank goodness for that.

There were some other surprising entries on the list of popular names this year. Imogen came in as the number-one new popular girl’s name. That sounds a little too much like those computer-animated smiley faces everyone is sticking in their emails these days.

The name Eleanor is back. It’s the fourth-most-popular girl’s name. Most of the Eleanors I’ve met in my life played bingo and smoked L&Ms. I can’t picture them as little babies. Luckily, the names Gertrude and Agatha haven’t come back.

Django is now a popular boy’s name. I’m assuming parents are getting it from the movie “Django Unchained.” I don’t know how anyone sat through that Quentin Tarantino bloodbath and thought, “I should name my kid this.”

Atticus is back on the name list, as well. Apparently, books are a popular source material for naming babies. It’s nice to see a name from actual literature. Though, the journey from “Mockingjay” to “Mockingbird” is a shorter one than I would have imagined.

If you’re pregnant now and reading this, I hope I didn’t just give you a bunch of new suggestions.



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