If only Hodor was in every movie.
I logged on to Facebook this morning to discover that today marks the 122nd anniversary of the birth of J.R.R. Tolkien. I don’t want to call it his “birthday,” seeing as he passed away many years ago, and that learning of someone’s birthday on Facebook usually implies that you are friends with them, which I regrettably am not. We missed each other by almost 20 years. Yet his stories, in both literary and cinematic form, brought an amount of joy and imagination to my childhood (and adulthood) that I could hardly describe in words.
I remember with remarkable clarity the first time I was introduced to the world of Tolkien. The year was 2002 and I was Continue reading
Remember when you set up your first email address? You spent three weeks thinking of the perfect name, and another three weeks mourning when you discovered that email@example.com had already been taken by some douche who probably doesn’t even know who Professor Hugo Strange is. You finally settled upon a name and password, cleverly lied to Hotmail and said you were 13 years old*, and next thing you knew, you had your very own email address. Hardly able to contain your excitement, you logged in immediately and Continue reading
As you may have ascertained from my previous posts about college, I recently graduated. It’s great and terrible at the same time. Honestly I’m a wreck. But that’s not what this article is about. This article is about money.
Unless you’re lucky enough to get a full ride scholarship (smart asses) or your parents are paying for all of your school (rich bitches), you’ve probably taken out a student loan or two to pay for your totally-worth-$50K-a-year education. Unfortunately, once you graduate, they expect you to pay those back. Which kinda sucks, especially if your “real job” hasn’t started yet. This is the situation I’m currently in, and it has left me both broke and bored. So, naturally, I’ve compiled a list of things I would do for $1:
With all this talk of the end of the world, I’ve had plenty of time to think about all the men things I wish I could have done before we all face inevitable doom. And, because I’m home for winter break and there is absolutely nothing to do in this godforsaken town except watch TV and get drunk, these thoughts naturally led me to wonder about all the fictional characters I’ve been spending so much time watching. This list could (and does) go on forever, but I have narrowed it down to a select few. If there were a party large enough to contain all the sexy characters ever to grace our television sets, these men would be on the VIPenis list.
With finals season bearing down upon us, scores of Northwestern students will soon start their tri-annual pilgrimage to the book place for the fun sexi learning times.
Yes, it is time once again to prepare for the library to be full of sexually frustrated sophomores whose only goal in life is to take the study carrel that you’ve been using/peeing on for the last two years. This means a number of things – including that we really do need a “You Pee On It You Claim It” rule – but the most important takeaway is that we could all do with a refresher on what sort of actions are acceptable in each part of the library:
It’s only fair to begin this article with a disclaimer that the ideas listed below were thought up by a few Sherman Ave writers who decided to spend a Wednesday night drinking heavily and watching Lord of the Rings. We’re not sure if that’s more of a discredit to our ideas or merely ourselves, but it only feels proper to acknowledge that these ideas were the result of a long, loud, and quite inebriated conversation, which – regrettably – drowned out the cinematic masterpiece playing on the shitty 19″ television before us. And for all you Tolkien fanatics out there, we’re well aware of the fact that he adamantly rebukes all claims that his books have allegory for the world wars. But if high school English teachers get to make up symbolism and shove it down your throat, then by God, we’re going to as well.
Mordor as Nazi Germany
This one should be fairly self-explanatory. Mordor is a highly industrialized powerhouse which seems to have turned evil under the lordship of one pretty huge taint. After having lost a previous war (the one in the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, in which Sauron’s ring is taken by Isildur), Mordor is humiliated by their crushing defeat, and seeks not only to avenge their dignity but also to regain their status as a viable power in Middle-Earth. This means that Adolf Hitler is Sauron – a mindless and power-tripping despot who brings evil to the world. The Nazgul represent the S.S., being the ones who carry out Hitler’s bidding on more important tasks. That would probably make Heinrich Himmler represent the Witch-King of Angmar, which is obviously reasonable. Erwin Rommel is represented by Gothmog, the incredibly heinous-looking Orc general with the fucked up eye who leads the river crossing at Osgiliath. The Mouth of Sauron represents Joseph Goebbels and the Eye of Sauron represents Hitler’s mustache, seeing as it is Sauron’s most memorable feature.
Gondor as Britain
Gondor is clearly one of Mordor’s primary targets, and Gondor knows that the rising power of Mordor means they will have to sustain vicious attacks, given their proximity. Gondor also is a storied Western monarchy that was once powerful but has since weakened, much like the British Empire. This means that Denethor is Neville Chamberlain, being a leader who once had potential but has become such a useless sack of shit that he needs to be replaced during the war. It must be, then, that Aragorn is Winston Churchill – the replacement for Denethor who comes to the rescue and rallies Gondor. (Side note: We’d go so far to say that Aragorn’s horse, Brego, represents whiskey, and that his sword, Narsil, represents cigars, seeing as those appear to be the two things that most aided Churchill in his life.) Continuing with Gondor as Britain, we’d say that Boromir is Field Marshal Montgomery, since he’s a pretty effective soldier who happens to be an asshole. Lastly, Faramir represents King George VI – a noble man who has lived his whole life in his older brother’s shadow. Lamentably, Faramir doesn’t have a debilitating speech impediment. By this model, Minas Tirith is London, the Siege of Minas Tirith is the Battle of Britain, and Osgiliath is Dunkirk.
Rohan as the Soviet Union
Of the forces fighting against Mordor, Rohan probably suffers the greatest losses. They are also initially hesitant to be involved in this epic war, thinking they can avoid it, just as the USSR maintained a Nonaggression Pact with Germany at the outset of the war. Eventually, though, Rohan comes to the aid of Gondor, and at the end of the day, one could certainly argue that Rohan was the most influential nation in Mordor’s demise. From this, we can assume that Grima Wormtongue represents Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister who engineered a pact with the Nazi forces in the same way Wormtongue forged a similar alliance. King Theoden is Josef Stalin – a fairly disagreeable politician who seems to love power-tripping, but is ultimately instrumental in the war effort. This leads us to believe that Eomer is Georgi Zhukov, partially because Zhukov was a fantastic Soviet general, but mostly because we can’t really fit Eomer anywhere else. We would assume then that The Battle of Helm’s Deep is The Battle of Stalingrad, since it was a ruthless siege which occurred in unfavorable weather conditions but ultimately served as somewhat of a turning point in the war.
Isengard as Italy
A militaristic nation ruled by a cult-of-personality dictator, Isengard initially seems to be quite a formidable power in the war, and its allegiance to Mordor a massive setback. However, they end up being knocked out of the war much earlier than any other power, and their leader killed in a very gruesome and public manner. Needless to say, this means Saruman is Benito Mussolini – a very dickish leader who serves mostly as Sauron’s/Hitler’s puppet.
Elves as France
The Elves seem perfectly content to observe complacently as their world is taken over by evil dickbags. Even though they have a “history of courageous militarism,” they are way too pussy to actually participate in the war. Only a small group of Elves (representing, of course, the French resistance movement) is actually willing to stand up to Mordor and fight alongside their allies. Presumably, this means Legolas is Charles de Gaulle, seeing as he is the most involved elf in the war. Accordingly, Elrond is Field Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of the elves whose passiveness facilitated the spread of evil to the point at which he’s basically a traitor.
Easterlings as Japan
First of all, since we’re all thinking it: They totally look Japanese with their eye make-up and all that. But besides that, the Easterlings are a people puppeted by Mordor to fight for his cause. They don’t appear to have any obvious connection with Mordor other than their manipulation by the forces of evil. That’s all we’ve got for Japan…
Hobbits as Jews
Constantly being hunted by Mordor, the Hobbits only want to live peacefully in society and avoid conflict. Throughout the story, it’s clear that “the halflings” are Sauron’s main priority. Assuming that all Hobbits are Jews, we could then claim that the four most important Hobbits are the four most important Jews. Frodo and Sam are Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, carrying a very powerful weapon which Sauron wants (read: The Ring of Power is the Atomic Bomb).
This, of course, implies that Mount Doom is Hiroshima, the culmination of the omnipotent weapon which summarily ends the war. As long as Hobbits are Jews, we’ll go ahead and declare that Lembas bread is bagels. Since we need other important Jews to fill the roles of other important Hobbits, we’ll say that Pippin is Anne Frank (remember when he hid from the Orcs at the end of Fellowship of the Ring?) and Merry is Oskar Schindler (yes, he was Catholic, but he’s close enough). Thus, Kristallnacht is Weathertop, indicating Hitler’s first attack against the Jews. The Shire is Israel, since they’re both places that the Hobbits/Jews can only really dream of during the war. And lastly, The Tower of Cirith Ungol is Auschwitz and Shelob is a train to Auschwitz.
Fangorn Forest as Africa
Leading up to the war, Saruman had been meddling malevolently in the Fangorn Forest, much like Italy dicked around in Ethiopia in the 1930s. Furthermore, it was a series of events in Fangorn Forest that led to the fall of Isengard, just as Operation Torch and ultimately the Battle of El Alamein lead to the Allies being positioned to invade Italy. We’re going to go ahead and assume that this means Ents are Ethiopians, meaning that Treebeard is Haile Selassie, serving as the leader who called out Saruman/Mussolini on his inappropriate actions.
The Army of the Dead as the United States of America
You’ve probably been waiting for the good ol’ U-S-of-A to get its honorable mention, and now you’re probably crestfallen by their seemingly sad counterpart. Well…sorry. The Army of the Dead originally had no intention of joining the war, but were eventually coaxed into it to honor an ancient but very strong allegiance. Aragorn, as Churchill, is obviously the only person who could have garnered their support. The Battle of Pelennor Fields, representing D-Day, probably could not have been won without the help of the Army of the Dead. (The King of the Dead is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, especially after April 1945.) Speaking of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, you know those catapults that the orcs load with heads and launch at Minas Tirith? V-2 ROCKETS.
Gandalf as General Eisenhower
Gandalf is the only character in the story truly capable of uniting Elves, Men, Dead, and Gimli, just as Eisenhower effectively led French, British, American, and Canadian forces in Europe. This probably means that Shadowfax is General Patton. General Patton was an Olympic athlete in his younger days, so he was fit and fast like Shadowfax. Patton also responded to strangle whistles, and Shadowfax was reportedly killed in a car accident after the war. Honestly kind of an eerie connection. All this taken into consideration, it’s probably fair to say that The Battle at the Black Gate represents The Battle of the Bulge, as it was the last stand made by Mordor before being righteously defeated.
The Eagles as President Harry Truman
Through the whole story, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell don’t they just use the Eagles to get to Mordor instead of putting Frodo and Sam on this painstakingly long journey? Similarly, looking back at World War II, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell couldn’t FDR die earlier so Truman could end the war sooner? Truman clearly knew how to end a damn war, because he had the cajones to mercilessly massacre 250,000 people. The Eagles swoop into save the day at the end in much the same way Truman swooped into end the war.
Gimli as Canada
Gimli maintains an odd subservience to Legolas and Aragorn, much in the same way that France is a large cultural influence in Canada and Britain is a moderate political influence. More importantly, though, we must acknowledge that Gimli and Canada were both really just involved in the war to provide comedic relief.
Oliphants as Bulgaria
The involvement of oliphants in the war certainly aided Mordor’s cause, but realistically, Mordor would have been perfectly fine without their help.
That Orc who says “We haven’t had anything but maggoty bread for three stinkin’ days!” as Ukraine
It would be wholly improper to write an article about World War II without making at least one joke about Ukraine producing most of the Soviet Union’s wheat but still starving because of Stalin’s unsuccessful implementation of a redistributive economic system.
Eowyn as Eleanor Roosevelt
Admittedly, this one doesn’t entirely work because Eowyn was in no way married to the King of the Dead. That being said, we would readily believe that Eleanor Roosevelt had a crush on Winston Churchill in the same way that Eowyn was tryna with Aragorn, and she probably would have gotten with King George VI the same way she got with Faramir.
Galadriel as Rosie the Riveter
Galadriel really only serves a symbolic role in the story, encouraging Frodo, Sam, and the others to continue their fight for good. If that’s the case, we suppose The Light of Elendil is Freedom, maybe? Too much? Too much of a stretch? This is almost done, we promise.
Gollum as Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin was the only congresswoman who voted against the American declaration of war in December 1941. Not only did she perpetrate one of the most pronounced bitchmoves in American history, but the real reason she voted against it is because she knew that the war would mean the use of the atomic bomb, and as a typical greed-driven female politician, she wanted the atomic bomb for herself. Hers. Her own. Her precious.
Interestingly enough, she also loved beating live fish against rocks and eating them in a grotesque manner. She also wore a loincloth and had Split Personality disorder. She also bit off Albert Einstein’s ring finger in Hiroshima.
*Note: You may have noticed that we didn’t include Arwen. That’s because Arwen is a stupid bitch character who only gets mentioned twice in the books and deserves no fucking place in this vaunted story.
One of my least favorite things about real life is that it totally doesn’t work like video games. Unlike Call of Duty or Halo—where I can beat the shit out of like a billion elites by just going all kamizake and then respawning—in real life it fucking sucks to be outnumbered. What it comes down to, in the real world, would be some guy in armor (Master Chief) getting beat to death by like 30 really pissed-off midgets (Grunts).
That’s the mathy explanation anyway. Today’s historical badass, however, not only shat all over my “normal” difficulty setting, cranking it all the way up to “Deicide”, but he did so against other people, not some dumbass AI.
His name was Hannibal Barca.
No. Not that Hannibal. The other one. The real one. The one that isn’t fucking Anthony Hopkins (who was, incidentally, totally as awesome as Hannibal Lector).
Anyway, this Hannibal was like Samuel L. Jackson if Samuel L. Jackson could go back in time and utterly bring the Roman Empire to its knees.
This Hannibal did something no other person in history was even remotely capable of. It’s like if Kobe played basketball against a team made up of genetically half-bred squirrel dolphins… the other side just doesn’t stand a chance.
To understand why Hannibal was such a BAMF, we have to go back to the third century BC to the civilization of Carthage.Hannibal was born in 247 BC, son of Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca. Incidentally, “Barca” means “thunderbolt.” So yeah, Hannibal Thunderbolt. His motherfucking last name was THUNDERBOLT.
Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.
As I was saying, Carthage at the time was kind of like modern-day Detroit in that both had totally gotten fucked over and no one really gave a shit. To fix this, Hannibal’s dad, Hamilcar—being awesome (but not as awesome as Hannibal)—decided he’d get back at Rome for defeating Carthage in the First Punic War. Needless to say, they got owned by Rome’s far superior numbers and equipment, kind of like how in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the good guys are FUCKED until the ghost army comes… except Hamilcar didn’t have a ghost army.
Or Gandalf. Gandalf would have totally helped.
Still, I feel like I’m forgetting something.
Oh, right, 8-year-old Hannibal went with his dad’s army.
Before you ask, this wasn’t his father’s order or anything; little Hannibal fucking asked to go. TO WAR. TO KILL PEOPLE.
Needless to say, no 8-year-old has ever been so ball-crushingly awesome.
Hamilcar, either the world’s best or worst father—I don’t think they make mugs for that—agreed to let Hannibal come if he did one tiny thing: swear an undying oath of vengeance to burn Rome to ashes and slaughter every Roman he could.
Family issues a couple thousand years ago really make you think about the shit you complain about today.
Anyway, Hannibal, being the badass he was even at age eight, responded, “I swear so soon as age will permit…I will use fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome.” I think he also added, “time to PWN some fucking NOOBS!”Regardless of little Hannibal’s presence, things didn’t go well, which is surprising since I would have thought an 8-year-old on a battlefield would have been a highly effective throwing weapon: you throw the kid and then hit the enemy in the face or something… maybe Lunchables are involved. Whatever.
Basically, the big thing was that Hamilcar died in battle after conquering much of what is Spain and its surrounding nations today. Hannibal, after getting down on his knees amidst thunder, lightning and rain, and screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! to the heavens, decided that he would keep his promise and pull an American History X-style curbstomp on Rome.
So for the next twenty years Hannibal engaged in what can only be assumed to be history’s longest training montage, fighting off lions, killing soldiers, and generally fucking shit up. Then, in 221 BC, his brother Hasdrubal was assassinated, and as Hasdrubal was Carthage’s main general, this meant Hannibal suddenly had a rather powerful new job title.
Because of the assassination’s success, the Roman’s acted a bit like everyone did at the end of the every Disney movie ever. They chilled out and celebrated even though there were dozens of unanswered questions and unsolved problems.
Hannibal, not being a complete idiot, took advantage of this in every way possible by gathering an army and repeating his brother’s plan.
That takes mad balls.
And, funnily enough, the Romans were still taken by surprise. Seriously Rome? Too many pot brownies probably.Anyway, in the spring of 218 BC, Hannibal marched with his army to Gaul (now France and other countries) on the way to the Swiss Alps.
Which he proposed to cross. With about 50,000 men. And also 37 war elephants. Dude, how badass are war elephants? Like, at least as badass as 300.
This was totally not going to be easy. I mean, the Swiss Alps are 15,000 foot high mountains, and Hannibal had thousands of soldiers AND FUCKING ELEPHANTS to feed. It was probably the equivalent of trying to ride a skidoo in the middle of the Arizona desert. Under normal circumstances, it just shouldn’t be possible, like Dane Cook saying something funny.
But Hannibal did it. He lost about 25,000 of his men, and all but two of the elephants, but he fucking did it. From there, he went on to win every single battle he fought with Rome for the next decade—being outnumbered virtually every time, with no way to easily get continued supplies—including the Battle of Cannae, which to this day is still studied by military historians who sit and read about it and say, “How the fuck did he pull this off?” With about 15,000 men, Hannibal defeated a Roman army of 50,000-70,000. That’s easily a ratio of 4:1. Among the dead were about 80 Roman senators (25-30% of the entire Roman government).
Fuck yeah, Hannibal Barca.Sadly, however, the years kept weakening Hannibal’s army—but not Hannibal, the dude beat up Wolverines for his morning exercise. This eventually forced Hannibal to make a retreat with his remaining forces back to Carthage. He did manage to sack several cities during the retreat—kind of like a last second money shot at Rome—but on the whole he had won every battle but lost the war.
Eventually, Hannibal would go into voluntary exile from Carthage when Rome threatened it again while Hannibal was without troops, but even then he worked as a mercenary general, winning almost every battle he fought. In one victory, a naval one incidentally, his weapon of choice was a barrel of poisonous snakes, which he would toss onto enemy ships.
This caused Rome so many problems, even when Hannibal was just a mercenary, that they demanded his allies surrender him or be annihilated. His “allies” being whiny douchebags, they agreed.
But, Hannibal was too badass to let himself be killed by Romans, so he took poison and wrote a final “fuck-you” letter to the Romans to be found next to his body.
Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced, since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man’s death.
Even beyond the grave, the dude managed to flip-off Rome.
I think I’ve made my point pretty clear. But just in case I haven’t, I’ll conclude with one last contention: Can we ever really respect a country whose demonym is a fruit? Case closed, Kiwi bitches.