Archaeological Quick Fix: The Throne Base of Shalmaneser III

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Shalmaneser III was a significant king in the first period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, circa 934-745 BCE. Son of previous king Ashurnasirpal II, this Mesopotamian ruler was known for his near constant time away from the city in which he spent 31 of his 35 years as ruler leading victorious annual campaigns to enforce his Empire’s authority. Continue reading

Forcefield by Tokyo Police Club

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Bootyvicious.

Nearly 4 years since the release of Champ, Canada’s alt-pop powerhouse Tokyo Police Club returns with their third full length studio album Forcefield. But is this “bootyvicious” (I kid you not – that’s how the band described the record to me over Twitter) new LP able to solidify these Newmarket rockers as something more than a band we leave fondly behind in our memories of the 2000’s?

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Everything Wrong With Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto : An Archaeological Standpoint

In 2006, actor turned filmmaker Mel Gibson revealed to the world his latest film project, Apocalypto.  As Gibson describes it in the film’s extra features, it is a story “set in the last days of the Mayan Empire of one man’s heroic struggle to save his family” (Apocalypto Film Promo 2007).  While the film received widespread success from critics and audiences alike, many historians, archaeologists and Mayanists have found themselves unhappy, and in some instances appalled by Gibson and his crew’s projection of prehistoric Maya culture.  David Friedel, an archaeologist with expansive knowledge of the Maya civilization describes the film as “violently grotesque work, crafted with devotion to detail but with disdain for historical coherence or substance” (Friedel 2007: 36).  In this post, I wish to address several of the elements of the film found to be objectionable and/or inaccurate.  This will be followed by an assessment as to why these inaccuracies are so concerning. Lastly the paper will raise ideas of how the film could be fixed to address concerns of archaeologists and other scholars if a remake was filmed, while still appealing to a general public.  Overall, I aim to make the argument that Apocalypto embodies the problems of modernity and particularly ethnocentrism that historians and archaeological interpreters face in re-constructing the past.
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Machiavelli’s True Motives in The Prince 

            Niccolo Machiavelli’s letter to newly established Prince Lorenzo de’ Medici The Prince is a text that lends itself well to interpretation, with readers taking many different meanings out of his work.  Most readers infer that Machiavelli was a staunch republican in support of the people and their freedom to govern themselves. Others who take a more direct reading of the Prince without an understanding of the historical context or information on his life would assume Machiavelli was a supporter of principalities.  However, after careful analysis and interpretation of this work, a different conclusion may also be made.  Instead, this paper holds the position that Machiavelli was not a staunch supporter of Republics or of Principalities, but instead, he is a supporter of his own survival.  This point will be explained and expanded upon by examining the reputation as a man of the republic as displayed in chapter five of his work especially, as well as various other moments in the letter which, in this paper’s opinion, demonstrate Machiavelli’s true intention as neither a true republican man nor a true supporter of principalities.
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Avatar: Legend of Korra Book 2 Review

Note: I wrote this post after deciding to gather all my criticisms of Book 2 in one space so when asked why I prefer the first Book of Legend of Korra, I can refer to this review.

While Legend of Korra is no doubt one of the more exceptional animated shows around right now and is in my opinion, a very worthy successor to the great 2000’s series Avatar: The Last Airbender (which I had only recently binge-watched before starting Korra), I have a handful of criticisms about the second season that I felt compelled to share.  Though the general internet consensus appears to strongly prefer Korra’s second season, or book, I personally found book 1 to be far better than the series’ second effort. Below I will list a few of my major irks with the second season and how I feel they were better represented in the first book.  I first want to clarify that I still enjoy Korra’s second season and the series in general very much, but I want to explain why it is that I can’t hop on board with those who feel that book 2 was a big improvement over book 1.  Let’s begin.

Part I:
The Animation: Playing it Safe 

Probably my smallest complaint, and therefore the one i’ll get out of the way first.  One of the things I enjoyed most when transitioning from Last Airbender to Korra was the drastic difference in animation.  Last Airbender was already masterfully animated and incredibly smooth, but Korra book 1 introduced an art style that was darker, smoother, and more mature than Avatar with a beautiful emphasis on light and shading.  It seemed as if the show was not only growing up with it’s audience in having an older protagonist, but also delivering a visual style that it’s now older fan base was ready for.
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Archaeological Outlook on the 2003 Iraq War: The Attack on an Ancient Culture

          As has so often been seen, the human lineage is one full of instances of cultural theft and destruction. Luigi Guicciardini described on paper the sacking of Rome in 1527,  stating that “divine things were treated no differently than the profane ones”, a description that no doubt shares a resemblance with many accounts of what occurred during the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Rutherglen 2006: 33).  In early April of 2003 in an effort to flush out Saddam Hussein’s regime, Coalition forces lead by the United States of America entered Iraq’s capital of Baghdad in a storm of fire, ammunition, and violence that left the country in a state of disarray (Bogdanos 2005: 477).  Looting of artefacts and antiquities emerged out of the lawlessness, with particular attention brought towards the Iraq Museum which was victim to ransacking and supposed loss of about 170,000 antiquities, as well as various libraries and museums across the country being subjected to theft, arson, and destruction (Bogdanos 2005: 477, Bahrani 2003:11).

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“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them…

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…The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

-Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Why Do We Rely On The Past To Predict The Future? ~Analyzing David Hume

                                    Hume’s Deduction of the Problem of Induction
      Several questions about the nature of human’s actions are brought into light and attempted to be answered throughout An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding; the most celebrated of Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume’s publications.  Among these many mysteries lies one of particular interest, in that nearly all of us participate in its processes while only the rare individual even contemplates why we do such a thing.  This refers to what is often called The Problem of Induction, in which one tends to rely on predictions about future happenings based on things that have already occurred in the past, even though there is no evidence that past and future occurrences are correlated[1].  While some may argue that there is indeed justifiable reason to believe certain instances of the future will be parallel to instances of the past, Hume argues otherwise.  Indeed, he holds the position that using experiences of the past to be similar to those of the future, even though it often ends up working, holds no rational justification and is thereby an irrational action.  This view, at least from the perspective of this paper, is in fact true and support of Hume’s claim will be explored through his argument on the matter broken down and summarized throughout this paper.
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