File 0108-0109: Anything, Anywhere, Anytime
This week we will be doing something a little different. Halli had the idea that we all share a couple things we're into or neat things we've come across recently. There's so many things that give us ideas for topics and so many of these ideas just aren't enough to do a full topic on so this gives you a little bit of insight into our minds and what some of those things are!
Details coming soon
So Halli had the idea that we all share three things that we're into right now
There's this show I have been watching on Netflix the last couple months called Manifest that has a really interesting premise, don't worry no spoilers. The story focuses on a multi generational family that goes on a vacation to Jamaica, while waiting to catch their flight home, they get word that the airline had oversold the flight and they were offering vouchers to those willing to bump to the next flight
Three of the family members choose to take the later flight. The first group takes the earlier flight and not long after the three take the later flight. Their flight touches down in New York but is immediately detained, because their flight arrives five and a half years later than it was supposed to
For the passengers
it had been a totally normal flight, but now they have to reconcile with the
fact that so much time has passed and all their friends and loved ones had
accepted their deaths by this point. Oh and you know the government having
serious questions about how you disappear some 200 people for 5 years
Eventually the three family members are allowed to return home but things are strange. The three family members begin to get visions and they discover that if they can interpret the visions correctly it can help them avert disaster or help people and it's discovered that this is happening to all the passengers
The three family members become obsessed with trying to figure out what happened to them and what the visions mean
The show is a supernatural mystery with elements of secret government organizations and complex interpersonal relationships
Honestly the show has kept me on my toes. I am half way through the fourth and final season and I have no idea how things are going to end. There's so many little mysteries and plot points that unlike many other complex shows of its kind continue to be threads throughout the story and aren't just forgotten the moment they're no longer on the screen. A good comparison is Lost, if they had known the entire plot from the get go instead of seemingly making up all kinds of shit every season and picking and choosing which elements carry forward
I like the cast, it's fairly diverse and everyone is well cast. One of the main characters is an Indian woman who's a doctor and bisexual and is vital to unraveling so many of the mysteries, which I love
I found the pilot a little hokey at times, but a couple episodes into the first season it really finds its balance.
I like how they have dealt with the core mystery, constantly keeping you guessing if its spiritual in nature, if it's magic, if it's science or something else entirely, but it continually provides little answers that lead to so many other questions.
One of the ideas that is discussed early on is possible biblical connections, and there was talk about the great flood and this conspiracy I hadn't heard of, which was what if Noah hadn't simply escaped the flood, but had actually caused it, which I thought was fascinating and immediately tried to find sources on because I thought it would be an excellent topic for the show, but alas I found nothing. But it's interesting nonetheless
Anyways it's an interesting show and can be found on netfli
In one of our last recordings I briefly mentioned my recent love for the Youtube channel and creator known as Swoop also known as Spankie ValentineSwoop is a film maker, musician and in the last couple years has become a documentary maker. She covers unsolved cases and situations were influencers abuse their power. She is incredibly thorough in their research and cite their sources as well as speak with survivors whenever possible
Each one of her videos is an hour to two hours long, so like a legit documentary and many of her topics end up become multi-parters.
I came across Swoop a couple months ago when the problematic youtuber Illuminaughti was getting called out in regards to her abusive behavior. Someone had shared Swoop's coverage on the situation in the Jen discord I am in and that's how I got hooked.
I have slowly been working through her backlog of videos and it has been so insightful and educational. Right now the big topic they're working on is the Colleen Ballinger debacle
If you're not familiar with Colleen Ballinger she is a youtuber most well known for her character Miranda Sings. She claims the character Miranda Sings was inspired by people she met in theater school that are very full of themselves and think they have all this talent but don't. So essentially she made up a character to bully people she didn't like. Anyways, she became a massive presence on youtube over the last decade and even had her own Netflix series called "Haters Back Off" which was about the character. Fun fact, my old roommate's brother filmed that show, which is the only reason I knew who Colleen was when this all started
Recently accusations against her have been mounting about how she takes advantage of fans, has inappropriate conversations and interactions with minors, both in private and public. Basically all around trash human being. As the evidence piles up against her, her idea of a addressing the problem was to write and perform a song on her Ukelele, where she equates what is happening to a "toxic gossip train"
This is a situation that keeps unraveling and Swoop has been covering it extensively from the get go and speaking with many of the survivors directly about what happened to them.
Swoop comes at this and all topics with an open mind and a determination to find the facts. She also comes at these topics from the perspective of not just an incredibly compassionate individual but also as a black person and as a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse and someone that struggles with mental health. I have never seen such complex topics covered in such a empathetic and thought provoking way. Whether it be the Casey Anthony murder allegations or the whole mess that is the Kardashians. Swoop always finds a way to dig deep and examine the evidence from all sides, with a survivor first mindset and seems to always uncover some new perspective
Here famous tagline is: it's not drama, it's dangerous
Something I relate to so hard especially when we look at things like the Jen saga. It's so easy to dismiss shit that happens with online content creators and influencers as just drama. But people do get hurt for real in these situations and the power these people have can easily cause their behavior to get overlooked or dismissed, and cause all sorts of fall out for the survivors.
Many of the people coming forward in the Colleen Ballinger accusations have stories that stretch back years that they only now feel comfortable bringing forward as any previous attempts resulted in them being attacked by Colleen, her posse or her fans.
What Swoop does is
so incredibly important. It's so rare for people reporting on true crime or
internet abusers to report on them in a compassionate way with a focus on the
victims. So often we see coverage on these topics with intense focus on the
salacious details often ignoring the actual impact and trauma these events have
on those that lived it and their loved ones so I recommend this channel with my
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
The last thing I am going to talk about is my current game and unlike the rest of the world it's not Baldur's Gate, as I game on console and won't get to join y'all until September
So instead, I have been playing Assassin's Creed Valhalla. I have heard a lot of good things about Valhalla since it's release, I remember when Halli was playing it and just talking about it nonstop, so I always figured one day I would get around to it, but hadn't really prioritized it. I had play a bit of the first game in the series all those years ago but hadn't really got into it as I am more of an RPG person than an action person, but then it went on sale on Playstation a couple weeks ago and here we are
So the Assassin's Creed series, if you somehow are not familiar and have been completely out of the gaming loop for the last almost 20 years, started with its first title in 2007.
The series takes place in a technically advanced near future where a piece of technology called the animus has been created that allows those using it, to use the DNA of a deceased person to explore their lives. The series is focused around the eternal war between the Brotherhood of Assassins (the good guys intent on keeping balance and protecting the human race) and the Templars (the bad guys who want to subjugate the human race)
It sounds pretty kooky but in the context of the series makes sense, it's just really complex and hard to break down into a simple summary especially without spoilers.
Each game consists of two timelines, the present where the hero (Desmond in the first five games and Layla in the rest) is using the animus to uncover ancient secrets that will somehow help with present day struggles (to really simplify it)
The other timeline will be that of whoever's DNA is being used. In the first game it was Alistair a 12th century assassin during the events of the third crusade.
Both factions in both the present and past are vying for control over powerful and mysterious artifacts each for their own gain.
For the most part in the series the bulk of the gameplay occurs in the past as the assassin or assassin adjacent character. With occasional jump backs to modern times
So now that you understand the premise, time to talk about Valhalla. In Valhalla as you can imagine, the character whose life you are exploring is a viking. The past plot takes place in the Viking Age roughly between 900-1000 AD
The game itself is gorgeous, and one of only a handful of titles in the series that lets you pick your gender (most of the titles you are male) and you set off into a massive open world.
The game starts in Norway, but eventually your character and their brother decide to set off to England to make their name and found a new settlement.
The fun thing about the Assassin's Creed series is that the past events are loosely based on real events. In the case of Valhalla, sure enough since the late 700s to the early 1000s had their eye on England and occupied a large chunk of it a couple centuries
Throughout game you meet real historical figures in real historical locations and while the events themselves may not always exactly follow the history we know, there are usually significant nods or elements that align to the actual past.
Ubisoft, the company that makes the games works with historical experts to try and make the past events feel as genuine as they can within the confines of the game and their desired plot
I recently discovered for the last three games which is Valhalla, Origins which took place in Egypt and Odyssey which took place in Greece, there is an additional game mode called Discovery Tour
Discovery Tour allows you to explore the worlds in the game but like you're visiting a museum. You can walk around the different landmarks and cities and it will tell you the true history behind them and the things that developers had to change and for what reasons
I haven't played that mode yet as I am waiting until I beat the game but I am excited to give it a try as I have heard a lot of really good things about it
But one thing I did hear was that some people found that the Discovery Tour for Valhalla was a little lacking. This came up in a Reddit thread I was reading on the topic and turns out there's a bit of a reason for that, as one user pointed out, we know very very little about the Vikings.
Me being a nerd myself, definitely got me wondering so I went down the wikipedia rabbit hole on all things viking and norse and it was super interesting
First of all I was surprised at just how many names of people and places I recognized from the game. I am maybe half way through at this point so I am sure more will come up.
But what I discovered was, yeah, we know almost nothing about the vikings from themselves.
So quick run down on vikings, no one really knows where the word viking comes, there's a lot of debate over its origins, but what we do know is it is used to identify the people of Denmark, Norway and Sweden during the Viking Age. Despite today being separate countries with their own cultural identities, from what we know about them during the viking era they were a pretty homogenous culture that spoke mostly the same language and shared a lot of the same mythology
The viking age is considered to be between 793-1066 and really kicked off with a bang. The first recorded time England had any contact with vikings was when suddenly they showed up in 793 at an Abbey on Lindisfarne and decimated the thing, raiding it for all its wealth.
The monks that lived there were either slaughtered or taken back as slaves.
And this is where we got our history of the vikings. Nearly all contemporary knowledge we of the vikings during that era is written by outside sources, primarily, the people that were being raided.
As reading and writing in England at this time was primarily practiced by the wealthy and the church, it was them that recorded the events, it was also them that were attacked. So you can imagine this documentation was completely without bias. It wouldn't be until the 1890s that scholars outside of the norse homelands would begin to reassess the common perception of vikings.
Our earliest internal source of documentation on the vikings is from 1230, two hundred years after the viking age. This leaves us with very little information on them and their culture.
But thanks to the work of archeologists, examinations of mythology and other comparative analysis we have begun to form a picture of who the vikings might have been. There's strong indications that they had incredible trade networks both inside of Scandanavia and outside. That they valued art and poetry (it was no shame for a man to choose that as his primary path), that they cared for their appearances and were well groomed, that their women were independent, they could own land and live a successful single life wherein many other countries around the world at the time, you stayed home until you were married, and you risked losing everything if your husband died or left you.
It is thought that when viking women turned 20 they would become completely independent and move into their own homes. Women were still thought to be most commonly married off by their families and it does seem the patriarchy still had a heavy hand, but compared to many other societies at the time women in their culture had a lot more power. Hell, women in viking societies could choose to divorce their husbands
There is also evidence that suggests that women also raided with the men or bore arms in other ways. Graves have been found that were long thought to have belonged to heavily honored warrior men that have turned out to have been women. Many scholars argue against this, but when we look at Norse mythology we see nearly an equal amount of women and men represented in the gods and nearly all the women were known to be cunning, powerful and often warriors that could easily hold their own against their male counterparts. Where when we look at the religions of many cultures that undervalue women and women were not warriors, their female gods also were understated (or nonexistent, *cough* Christianity) and focused on domestic tasks more than war or hunting.
Vikings had law and were proficient farmers. Board and dice games were common, they had advanced cuisines that used many ingredients and spices, including pepper which they imported. They played sports, skated and skiid. And as we well know they were among the first real explorers, believed to be the first Europeans to set foot in North America. They were known to have touched most corners of the globe, from the British Isles, to Estonia, to Russia, Iceland, Greenland even Iran and Constantinople. They were mercenaries that often sold their services to the wealthy and powerful, known to have guarded the Byzantine emperors for a time
Of course, not every aspect is good. They did appear to have a thriving slave trade, and it wasn't uncommon for a man to have a wife and multiple concubines, sometimes enslaved women. But children fathered in these relationships were no less legitimate than that of children produced in wedlock. These children were not considered other like we see in most cultures, they were considered part of the family and received inheritance just like the "legitimate" children
It is said that during raids, not only would they raid whatever valuables they could find, but it wasn't uncommon for them to take slaves as well, with a seeming preference for women. It's thought that because of the polygamist lifestyle that the number of available women within society was considerably lower than the available men. There's lots of evidence that suggests viking men marrying or partnering with women from outside their society.
That's just a tiny portion on what there is to talk about with Vikings and maybe I'll do a topic one day, but there was one thing in particular that has been eating at me since I read about it
As mentioned, our first internal documentation from the Norse was in 1200.
It's largely thought that the vikings were illiterate and didn't keep a recorded history. But they did have a written language
Throughout Sweden, Denmark, Norway and even in England and other countries they had once inhabited are thousands of runestones.
These often large stones had intricate art and language carved into them. These engravings weren't usually much more than a couple phrases maybe a stanza
They primarily are memorials, though weren't usually located at actual burial sites.
The oldest surviving runestone is known as the Einang stone, which is in Oppland Norway
It is thought that there had been four more additional lines at one point on this stone as what remains says " I, Godguest wrote this runic inscription"
This stone is dated to the 4th century
So let me spell that out, we know the vikings had a written language since at least the 4th century. Yet no internal longform documentation has been found before the 12th century. The viking era was 700-1000
We know that the vikings valued poetry and song, and had a strong oral tradition where they passed down stories and events often of their ancestors. We have the legendary hero Ragnar Lodbrok (the main character of the show Vikings) whose achievements are many with conflicting timelines, many scholars doubt whether he existed at all, though we do know the people that claimed to be his sons were definitely real. History and stories were very important to this culture. Hell we have the jelling stones in Jelling Denmark which were thought to be carved in the 10th century by King Harold where writes
King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, and in memory of Thyrvé, his mother; that Haraldr who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian.
Yet no written history
A lot of the surviving art of the vikings is stone or metal and handful of long boats have been found but those were made to keep out water which is a huge factor in the decay of wood. Thanks to a couple amazing surviving pieces we know that they carved wood a lot and it's thought that many of their works existed on organic materials like leather, textiles or wood
It is possible much of this work has been lost. We also have to look at the Christianization of Scandanavia which began in the 830s, the bulk of which occurred between 960-1020
Pagan churches were destroyed during this
period so it's possible if there were historical documentation of some kind
that it too may have been destroyed, especially if it referenced the pagan
gods. Though we know that runestones in the norse language continued to be made
after the christianization and unlike the christinization of many other
civilizations, it was the Scandinavians themselves that brought the religion
in, not outside parties through violent means
We have a handful of remnants of other mediums for writing including rune sticks which were use for things like store signs
Not many have survived though
It is thought that vikings didn't have access to parchment but may have written on birch bark, which would've decayed quite rapidly
It's possible they had access to vellum, which is a paper like substance that is made from animal skin or membrane and began to be used in a broader scale in the 5th century, with origins in China going back to 3000 BC. But we don't know if the vikings had access to this
It raises many questions and this might be a topic I'll have to dive into one day as I am incredibly curious about this.
What if all of the gods got together every 1000 years to decide on the fate of humankind? And what if humanity had to stand up to the gods in a contest of strength to ensure their survival? The manga Record of Ragnarök tells a story of the moment the gods decided that humans should die after 7 million years of history. However, a wrench is thrown in the works when a Valkyrie proposes an option in the rules: Let them fight it out for their survival. With gods among multiple pantheons and humans from all corners of the world and parts of history, we get a small and embellished look at our history and a different look into the mythology of the gods.
What happens when you take a historical event and humanize the elements that made freedom a reality during a long an destructive invasion? Well, you get something like the game The Ghost of Tsushima, where a real historical event of the Mongol invasion of a small Japanese island is turned into a story of one man's fight to save his people. Sometimes history is presented in ways that might not be accurate but the idea behind the tale can still be appreciated.
Nathan gives us a bit of insight into both of the above and why he's been having a blast with both. Alternate history and interesting takes on the realities are some of his favorite things, so he was happy to share
Baldur's Gate 3 and trying to play D&D through a video game
Everything?!?! All of it?!?!?
Gothic feminist horror books
Bluebeard's Castle by Anna Biller
Unquiet by E. Saxey
Rachel Harrison books
Isabela Canas (Vampires of El Norte, Hacienda)
WTF did I just read
Bloom by Delilah S. Dawson
The Redemption of Morgan Bright by Chris Panatier