The 2021 Grammy Awards

By Claire Buran

April 7th, 2021

The 63 Annual Grammy Awards were held on Sunday, March 14th. The event was hosted by comedian Trevor Noah in the Los Angeles Convention Center, across the street from its normal home at the Staples Center. Because of the pandemic, there was no live audience except for the performers and nominees.

The list of performers includes Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion performing “WAP”, Billie Eilish sang her song “Everything I Wanted”, Taylor Swift sang multiple songs from her recent albums “Folklore” and “Evermore”, and many more performances from artists including Post Malone, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Bad Bunny, Miranda Lambert, Dua Lipa, and DaBaby.

Here’s the full list of the Grammy Winners:

Record of the Year: “Everything I Wanted” – Billie Eilish 

Album of the Year: “Folklore” – Taylor Swift

Song of the Year: “I Can’t Breathe” – H.E.R

Best New Artist: Megan Thee Stallion

Best Pop Solo Performance: “Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Swift

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Rain on Me” – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “American Standard” – James Taylor

Best Pop Vocal Album: “Future Nostalgia” – Dua Lipa

Best Dance Recording: “10%” – Kaytranada featuring Kali Uchis

Best Dance/Electronic Album: “Bubba” – Kaytranada

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” – Snarky Puppy

Best Rock Performance: “Shameika” – Fiona Apple

Best Metal Performance: Bum-Rush” – Body Count

Best Rock Song: “Stay High” – Brittany Howard

Best Rock Album: “The New Abnormal” – The Strokes

Best Alternative Music Album: “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” – Fiona Apple

Best R&B Performance: “Black Parade” – Beyonce

Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Anything for You” – Ledisi

Best R&B Song: “Better Than I Imagined” – Robert Glasper featuring H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello

Best Progressive R&B Album: “It Is What It Is” – Thundercat

Best R&B Album: “Bigger Love” – John Legend 

Best Rap Performance: “Savage” – Megan thee Stallion ft. Beyonce

Best Melodic Rap Performance: “Lockdown” – Anderson .Paak

Best Rap Song: “Savage” – Megan thee Stallion ft. Beyonce

Best Rap Album: “King’s Disease” – Nas

Best Country Solo Performance: “When My Amy Prays” – Vince Gill

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: “10,000 Hours” – Dan+Shay and Justin Bieber

Best Country Song: “Crowded Table” – The High women

Best Country Album: “Wildcard” – Miranda Lambert

Best New Age Album: “More Guitar Stories” – Jim “Kimo” West

Best Improvised Jazz Album Solo: “All Blues” – Chick Corea, soloist

Best Jazz Vocal Album: “Secrets are the Best Stories” – Kurt Elling ft. Danilo Perez

Best Jazz Instrumental Album: “Trilogy 2” – Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “Data Lords” – Maria Schneider Orchestra

Best Latin Jazz Album: “Four Questions” – Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Best Gospel Performance/Song: “Movin’ On” – Jonathan McReynolds & Mali Music

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “There Was Jesus” – Zach William & Dolly Parton

Best Gospel Album: “Gospel According to PJ” – PJ Morton

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: “Jesus is King” – Kayne West

Best Roots Gospel Album: “Celebrating Fisk!” – Fisk Jubilee Singers

Best Latin Pop Album or Urban Album: “YHLQMDLG” – Bad Bunny

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album:  “La Conquista del Espacio” – Fito Paez

Best Regional Mexican Music Album: “Un Canto por Mexico, Vol. 1” – Natalia Lafourcade

Best Tropical Latin Album: “40” – Grupo Niche

Best American Roots Performance: “I Remember Everything” – John Prine

Best American Roots Song: “I Remember Everything” – John Prine

Best Americana Album: “World on the Ground” – Sarah Jarosz

Best Bluegrass Album: “Home” – Billy Strings

Best Traditional Blues Album: “Rawer then Raw” – Bobby Rush

Best Contemporary Blues Album: “Have You Lost Your Mind Yet” – Fantastic Negrito 

Best Folk Album: “All the Good Times” – Gillan Welch & David Rawlings

Best Regional Roots Music Album: “Atmosphere” – New Orleans Nightcrawlers

Best Reggae Album: “Got to Be Tough” – Toots & The Maytals

Best Global Music Album: “Twice as Tall” – Burna Boy

Best Children’s Album: “All The Ladies” – Joanie Leeds

Best Spoken Word Album: “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth” — Rachel Maddow

Best Comedy Album: “Black Mitzvah” – Tiffany Haddish 

Best Musical Theater Album: “Jagged Little Pill”

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Jojo Rabbit” – Various Artists 

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Joker” – Hildur Guðnadóttir, composer

Best Song Written For Visual Media: “No Time to Die” (from No Time to Die) — Billie Eilish

Best Instrumental Composition: “Sputnik” – Maria Schneider

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella: “Donna Lee” – John Beasley

Best Recording Package: “Vols. 11 & 12” — Doug Cunningham & Jason Noto, art directors (Desert Sessions)

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: “Ode to Joy” — Lawrence Azerrad & Jeff Tweedy, art directors (Wilco)

Best Album Notes: “Dead Man’s Pop” — Bob Mehr, album notes writer (The Replacements)

Best Historical Album: “It’s Such A Good Feeling: The Best Of Mister Rogers” — Mister Rogers

Best Engineered Album: “Hyperspace” — Drew Brown, Andrew Coleman, Shawn Everett, Serban Ghenea, David Greenbaum, Jaycen Joshua, Beck Hansen & Mike Larson, engineers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer (Beck)

Producer of the Year: Andrew Watt

Best Remixed Recording: “Roses (Imanbek Remix)” — Imanbek Zeikenov, remixer (SAINt JHN)

Best Engineered Album, Classical: “Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar’” — David Frost & Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Producer of the Year, Classical: David Frost

Best Orchestral Performance: “Ives: Complete Symphonies” — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Best Opera Performance: “Gershwin: Porgy and Bess” — David Robertson, conductor; Angel Blue & Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

Best Choral Performance: “Danielpour: The Passion of Yeshua” — JoAnn Falletta, conductor; James K. Bass & Adam Luebke, chorus masters (James K. Bass, J’Nai Bridges, Timothy Fallon, Kenneth Overton, Hila Plitmann & Matthew Worth; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus & UCLA Chamber Singers)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: “Contemporary Voices” — Pacifica Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo: “Theofanidis: Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra” — Richard O’Neill; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: “Smyth: The Prison” — Sarah Brailey & Dashon Burton; James Blachly, conductor (Experiential Chorus; Experiential Orchestra)

Best Classical Compendium: “Thomas, M.T.: From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke” — Isabel Leonard; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Jack Vad, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition: “Rouse: Symphony No. 5” — Christopher Rouse, composer (Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony)

Best Music Video: “Brown Skin Girl” – Beyoncé, Saint Jhn & Wizkid Featuring Blue Ivy Carter

Best Music Film: “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” — Linda Ronstadt

The Golden Globes: 2021 Edition

By Elle Baker

March 16, 2021

The closures of movie theaters over the past year from the seemingly never ending COVID-19 pandemic has led to the creation of ‘home theaters’ – more or less our bedrooms – causing the difference between watching a movie or a tv show to become nonexistent. This was hilariously noted by bi-costal Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey in New York City and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles, where jokes were attempted to make up for the lack of the usual glam and vibrancy the infamous award show brings. 

     Because it was forced to be held virtually, there were bound to be glitches and awkward moments throughout the award show. Fortunately, being the comedians that they are , Tina and Amy kept the ‘show’ moving as well as they were able. The Golden Globes are normally associated with stunning red carpet attire, all of Hollywood’s most famous actors and actresses in attendance, and a phenomenal display of the year’s cinematic performances, it was nothing short of disappointment when watching this year’s attempt at the coveted award show. 

 Since many Americans treat the Golden Globes as a celebratory day, viewings are often through the roof. It is a stark contrast to the ratings of years past, as results came in at a whopping 6.9 million viewers in comparison to the 18.3 million views of last year’s ceremony. Even though most viewers were home anyway, they decided not to watch the 2021 show. This year, there seemed to be a lack of advertisement for the award show, which may have contributed to the drastic dip in viewers. As many people have gravitated towards streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu instead of cable TV, which generally lack the regular ads and commercials that give  reminders of events such as the Golden Globes, it may be reason to believe that these events need to find a way to reach those without cable commercials. Another reason for the lack of viewership may be that there was not enough excitement from 2020’s cinematic releases to convince viewers to sit through the virtual version of the Golden Globes. This was a version so subpar to what is expected and, frankly, demanded of the ceremony to give in commemoration of the actors and actresses receiving a Golden Globe and the people who watched the movies and tv shows that essentially gave them those awards. 

     In retrospect, the winners of the coveted award were well deserving. “Nomadland” won the award for best drama film and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” won best comedy film, both of which were not entirely well-known prior to the ceremony, given movie theaters were unable to advertise and show them. Andra Day won best actress in a drama for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and Chadwick Boseman posthumously received the award for best actor in a drama for what became his final movie role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Chloé Zhao, who directed “Nomadland,” became the second woman ever to win best director. Jane Fonda received the Cecil B. DeMille Award and Norman Lear became the third ever recipient of the Carol Burnett Award.

     Netflix led with a whopping 42 nominations. “Mank,” the streaming service’s movie about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, received the most nominations of any film this year. Even with six nominations, it failed to win any awards. “The Crown” also received six nominations, the most for any television series this year. The historical drama took home awards for best drama, best actress, best actor and best supporting actress.

     In regards to the racial diversity of awards given, out of the 25 possible awards, only five winners were African American and two were of Asian descent. The diversity in the election panel was even less apparent with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association having no African American members. This issue was brought up, in a cynical manner, by the bicoastal hostesses, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The two wove in a variety of jokes and poked fun at everything from indoor dining to the Netflix show “Emily in Paris” to whether this all could have been an email. The most notable was during their opening monologue when they said, “The HFPA is made up of around 90 international (no Black) journalists, who travel to movie junkets each year in search of a better life. We say around 90, because a couple of them might be ghosts.” They go on to joke about the award winning animated film “Soul” that it is, “ a beautiful Pixar animated movie where a middle-aged Black man’s soul accidentally gets knocked out of his body and into a cat,” says Fey. “The HFPA really responded to this movie, because they do have five cast members.” The two concluded their opening speech with a plea to the Hollywood Foreign Press to address their lack of diversity. “This is probably something we should have told you guys earlier; everybody is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices,” Poehler says. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens. That’s, like, their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-lead projects were overlooked.”

    The one positive note in regards to racial inclusion was that instead of having the nominated celebrities with their cast and crew fill the round tables of the Beverly Hilton, mainly African American first responders were asked to attend in their place. Numerous news outlets and websites reported on the HFPA’s failure to meet the pressing need for racial inclusion that was thrown into the spotlight last summer and was carried throughout the award show by the co-hosts and production team via this once in a lifetime audience. 

  In the end of it all, the Oscars and Emmys have a huge expectation to meet in the wake of this disappointment of a Golden Globe award show. With the time left until their respective ceremony dates, the nation has our fingers crossed that there will be an improvement from Sunday’s display.

Pokemon and Avatar: Nostalgia Swoops in to Save Quarantine

By Liam Moore

March 16, 2021

As we still remain trapped indoors by the coronavirus, we wonder whether or not things will ever get better. Alongside decreasing infection numbers, there are many new things to get excited about in the future. Most recently, it would be the return of many childhood favorites that will get people excited about the future. 

   First, Pokémon announced on February 27, for their 25th anniversary, that they would be remaking two of their games and are in the works for a brand new game. The remakes are of the fourth generation games Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl and will be titled Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl. The original games, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, came out in 2006, so this year would be the 15th anniversary for the games, no doubt one of the reasons for choosing these specific games. Also, these remakes will be the first to be compatible with the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s latest console, which offers lots of room for visual and technological improvements compared to the original games. As the first remakes in seven years, almost all fans are extremely excited to be able to play the game later this year. 

  Alongside the remakes, Pokémon also announced the release of a new game titled Pokémon: Legends Arceus. This announcement was groundbreaking for the Pokémon community because it showed gameplay for an open world game, the type of Pokémon game fans have been waiting for for years. For non-gamers, open world essentially means that your character is free to roam the in-game world and is typically not bound by the amount of progress in the storyline. Not much about the game is known except that it takes place in the Sinnoh region, is open world, and the three starters are Cyndaquil, Rowlet, and Oshawott. 

  Second, after more than a decade since the ending of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Nickelodeon has announced the revival of the Avatar universe through Avatar Studios. Although The Legend of Korra finished airing in 2014, many fans were not satisfied with the sequel because it did not live up to the original series, which has been debated as the greatest cartoon and show of all time. Hopefully, many fans can find satisfaction with the upcoming shows and movies that the studio has announced they will be making.

  One of the main reasons to announce the creation of more Avatar content was because of its rising popularity. Last year, Avatar and The Legend of Korra released on Netflix in May and December respectively. Also, in January the creators of Avatar announced that there will be a live action movie adaptation coming to Netflix in the future. As many Avatar are aware, there was an attempt at a live action adaptation that is notoriously bad to the point where most people ignore its existence. This was the cause of the skyrocketing popularity of Avatar in the past year. 

  Although the past year has been hard to look at optimistically, these two franchises could be enough to to turn this year for the better. Both Pokémon and Avatar are franchises that many people hold near and dear to their hearts, so the fact that there are new releases in the future is something to be optimistic about. 

Ranking the Star Trek Completed Series

By Justin Higginbotham

March 16, 2021

Star Trek began as a nearly rejected pilot in 1966 and has prospered into one of the world’s most renowned franchises with 7 shows, 2 animated series, and 13 films. With 5 separate completed shows, there are bound to be some that work better than others, and there absolutely are. Starting with those that don’t are: 

5. Star Trek: Enterprise

  Airing in 2001, Enterprise is the most recent of the completed series, and in my opinion, is the worst. Enterprise follows the crew of the First exploration vessel to leave earth, the U.S.S Enterprise. The crew of the ship all lack personality and any traits worth of interest, the crew is mostly made up of humans who completely disregard the multicultural open-mindedness of the series’ predecessors. There is no single episode worth watching, the show is a boring drag across space already explored in other series with a bland crew whose only character traits seem to be reactionary.

4. Star Trek: The Original Series

  Airing in 1966, Star Trek serves now as a hallmark of the era. Booming in popularity, the multicultural crew of the Starship Enterprise heavily influenced the viewers’ perceptions of the world around them with the crew’s open-minded and progressive views and interactions with new alien species. With the set and special effects of a 1966 TV show, much of the poor quality effects add to the charm and style of the show. Despite its incredible legacy, Star Trek fails when it comes to the writing on many episodes, boring and confusing plotlines litter the show with few gems hidden within. 

3.Star Trek: The Next Generation

  Often hailed as the greatest series in the franchise, the next generation follows the adventures of the Next Generation of the Enterprise crew. The Next Generation is renowned for oftentimes tackling strong philosophical issues and problems. The crew, though more developed than the crew of the Original Series, is often criticized as being static and unchanging throughout the series. Many of the characters do seem to get stale throughout the show, yet this is balanced by the never-ending interesting and thought-provoking stories throughout the show that oftentimes can be missed in the action and techno-babble of a sci-fi show.

2. Star Trek: Voyager

  Taking place on a starship stranded on the other side of the galaxy, the crew of the Voyager is made of two opposing forces who must work together out of necessity. The Maqui, an anti-colonizer rebel terrorist organization who the Voyager was sent to apprehend must learn to get along with the ship’s crew and assimilate themselves into a Starfleet setting. Though at first the crew seems bland and uninteresting with little development, this is proved wrong as you slowly learn more and more traits of the crew that give them more intrigue and depth, eventually featuring what proves to be one of the most well-represented autistic coded characters in modern television. Voyager is often regarded as one of the worst series in the franchise, oftentimes those critics seem to care more about the show featuring the franchise’s first female captain than they do about the quality of the writing or production.

1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

  The most unique of the franchise, Deep Space Nine takes place on a space station near a planet that has recently gained its independence from their colonizers in a bloody rebellion who now live under an unstable provisional government. The crew consists of a large amount of black and LGBTQ+ representation for its time with the inclusion of multiple gay or gay coded main characters and the first Black captain and his family. Many issues and struggles black people face are clearly discussed in this show, instead of taking the form of analogies on alien worlds. Every single character is given heavy consideration and care in their writing, the show’s creator states “There is more development in the least developed character on DS9 than there is on the most developed character on The Next Generation” anyone who has seen the shows can easily see the truth in this statement as a villain’s background henchman one season can develop into an interesting and well-written character with astounding depth and quality in the next. Deep Space Nine is easily the best show in the franchise, and most likely always will be. 

  With a multitude of new Star Trek series in development, the franchise is soon to expand once more. Regardless of their quality, all of the series have helped to explore and develop the universe of the show, and have even helped to explore many issues not often discussed in television, with this, the generations of Star Trek show creators use their writing to “Go where no man has gone before.”

Netflix’s True Crime Shows

By Maya Mellberg

March 16, 2021

Over the past few years, the true crime genre has amassed a significant following. This has fueled the creation of many TV shows and documentaries covering some of the most haunting cases and terrifying killers. Here are some popular true crime documentaries and docu-series available on Netflix, from murderers, to disappearances these shows will leave you at the edge of your seat.

Night Stalker

The “Night Stalker” was the nickname given to Richard Ramirez, a serial killer that left LA in a state of terror during the mid-1980s. Throughout this time he committed 13 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, and a multitude of other crimes. This documentary goes through the timeline of events and the experience of Gil Carrillo and Frank Salerno, detectives running the case during this time. Directed by Tiller Russel, the Night Stalker, uses real TV interviews and media coverage to bring readers back in time. There are no actors portraying certain characters which brings a realistic and emotional aspect to the show.  Compared to some crime shows, Russel did not glamorize the actions of Richard Ramierez. This series is unlike any other, and is a must watch for crime junkies.

Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Directed by Chris Smith, and starring Anthony Summers, Gonçalo Amaral and Robbyn Swan. This documentary explores the unsolved case of Madeleine McCan, a three-year-old girl, who went on vacation to Portugal in May of 2007. One night she vanishes from her bed, her parents only 100 yards away enjoying dinner. Although a massive manhunt took place, no trace of Madeleine was ever found. This docu-series explores the disappearance, police hunt, media coverage, and attempt to bring home Madeleine McCann. 

Vanishing at Cecil Hotel

Elisa Lam was a Canadian student staying at the Cecil Hotel. When a video of her exiting and entering the elevator while making strange gestures went viral; it is believed she was interacting with someone outside the elevator. She was later found dead in a water tank and her death was ruled accidental, although many disagree as the circumstances of her death were unsettling especially considering the Cecil Hotel is notorious for certain deaths and murders. This TV series examines the eerie death of Elisa Lam. Contrary to many crime shows, this series is mostly focused on interviews with “web-slueths” and their conspiracies as to what really happened to Lam. Elisa’s family is not featured in this series as it is believed they wanted to move on, and not relive the horrors of her death.

American Murder: Family Next Door

This docu-series covers the disappearance of blogger mom Shannan Watts, and her two daughters. As a police investigation goes underway, the ugly reality behind the internet facade comes to light. Countless videos and text messages reveal what really happened to Shannan, Bella, and Celeste Watts; a haunting story of a marriage gone wrong and the horrific truth that shocked America. Because the lives of the Watts family were heavily documented the series uses real video footage, texts, and phone calls to show the reality of this seemingly perfect family. Jenny Popplewell, director, geniusly executes the creation of this series and brings light to the truth about the Watts family.

Daft Punk: The End of an Era

By Colin Murphy

March 8th, 2021

Daft Punk, a legendary dance music duo has parted ways after forming 28 years ago in Paris. 

  The Parisian duo broke the news via an eight minute video titled “Epilogue”. Pitchfork asked around to find out if this duo was no longer together and their longtime publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the news, but gave no reason for their parting ways.

 Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo formed Daft Punk in Paris in 1993, hoping to “improve the French touch style of house music”, according to Pitchfork. Their debut album, released in 1997 titled Homework, became a dance music landmark. This album featured two premier titles named “Da Funk” and “Around the World”.As their follow up album Discovery came out in 2001, the duo began making public appearances in their robot outfits that soon became their global trademark. The singles “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” cemented their names as global superstars.

Twenty years into their phenomenal career, they dropped yet another banger. “Get Lucky” took over the Billboard charts and soared across the whole world becoming a song that everyone knew. That song was the lead single for their 2013 album Random Access Memories. The song won two Grammys for Daft Punk and their guests, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. The album later won Daft Punk three more Grammys which included Album of the Year. The Grammy Ceremonies hosted one of their last on stage appearances.  

  Following their phenomenal success in their 2013 album, they continued to work with Kanye West and ended up co-producing several of the tracks on his album Yeezus. They then went on and worked with The Weekend on his 2016 single “Starboy” which topped the charts- as well as “I Feel it Coming” which was a second hit. 

  Beyond the singles and behind the scenes work, Daft Punk left an impact on the house music industry like no other; and influenced artists of all different genres.

Interpreting The Female Statues of the Ancient City of Çatalhöyük

By Isabella Howe

March 8, 2021

During the 1960s, British European archeologist James Mellaart received permission to excavate the ancient city of Çatalhöyük. Çatalhöyük is located in what is now modern-day Anatolia, Turkey. When Mellaart first arrived at the site he and his team had already discovered a  selection of examples of “Neolithic craftsmanship” found upon the fields of farms surrounding the location. When the team began their excavation they chose the site that was determined to be the dwellings of Dido, The Queen of Carthage. It was here where the team uncovered the statue that would be responsible for convincing Mellaart of his inaccurate deduction of how the worship system of the civilization was structured.

  The statue uncovered was a depiction of a female figure sitting upon a chair accompanied by two leopards sitting at her feet to whose heads she had gently placed her hands upon. The statue also was described to have a small bulge on the ground of the pottery design which was concluded to be an infant of some sort. The figurine was found in a well-decorated room that was assumed to be a temple by the team. This selection of discoveries was enough evidence to drive Mellaart to arrive at the conclusion that Çatalhöyük was a matriarchy culture that revered a “goddess of fertility”. It is believed that there was a likely probability that Mellaart was strongly influenced by James George Frazer, a Victorian anthropologist who wrote about a theory entailing the concept of the possibility of multiple pre-Christian civilizations having a worship system centered upon a “mother goddess”. This was then built upon in the 1940s by Robert Graves a classical scholar and poet who wrote in his book The White Goddess that mythologies of the Middle East and Europe derived from a religious order that admired a goddess of “birth, love, and death”. These works heavily shaped the ideas of Mellaart’s generation of archeologists who went in search of ancient civilizations that could have been defined by such qualities. 

  Though Mellaart began to reach verdicts that had little to no correlation or relation to the ideas of either Frazer or Graves. Mellaart claimed the Çatalhöyük was a society in which women ruled over men. His evidence for such a claim was his belief in the connotation of the way women were being presented physically in the sculptures. He described the women as “thick and strong” and often “flanked by fierce animals”. Due to these factors, he concluded that this was not a patriarchal society because it was, in his opinion, unlikely for males to depict the female body in such a way. He made the comparison to the opposing representation of women in magazines designed for the male audience such as that of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine. He claimed that in this format women were illustrated in a way that communicated innocence, fragility, and gentleness. Mellaart’s conclusions for a time were not questioned significantly and were easily adopted by the public. Çatalhöyük became known as an ancient matriarchal society for a period of time. Curricula even began to incorporate the concept of Turkish matriarchal civilizations due to Mellaart and his ideas.

   Since the 1980s more and more evidence has been uncovered that shows a contradiction to Mellaart’s notions, causing a large opposition of beliefs coming from the archaeologist community. Lynn Meskell, an archeologist from Stanford University, also visited the Çatalhöyük excavation site. After the collection of data gathered in the 25 years since Mellaart, Meskell has taken the stance arguing that these female figurines served a different purpose than just simple worship. It was determined that in just Dido’s house there were a total of 141 figurines of which the majority were animals and the minority were human anatomy. This quantity relation was shown to be the case in the many other households of the area, suggesting that animals were much more popular than the female figurines. It was also shown that such statues were not made with time and care or for the purpose of preservation. From observation and examination, it was shown that such artifacts were made with speed and a lack of desire for quality. The state in which they were found also suggests that they were often handled and carried around rather than looked at on display. They were also discovered upon odd locations such as jammed between two walls or in trash piles. Meskell argued that these factors indicate that these objects were not those of worship as they treated them trivially. Furthermore, she claimed that this suggests that the objects were more for short-term everyday use and the act of creating them was more significant than the final product itself. The figurines were also shown to be representing the bodies of aged women which refutes the concept of a fertility god. 

 Rosemary Joyce, an archaeologist from UC Berkeley, expressed the viewpoint of the importance of avoiding projecting modern gender role understandings onto ancient cultures as Mellaart did. It must be considered that such organization of communities was based on other categorical systems such as age and or occupation. The domination of one gender over another is not the sole and only form of hierarchical organization that can and could have occurred.

 It must be considered that generally human beings are equipped with a selection of preconceived notions and interpretations that govern one’s thoughts and actions. Ultimately it provides historical blindness that disables the most accurate interpretation of unknown societies as the one observing such evidence is projecting their personal version and understanding of history. Due to historical contingency, scientists must be fully aware of the possibility of easily falling into a trend of forcing new discoveries of lifestyles to fit into the templet of the lifestyles already known. Evidently, assumptions are the danger and threat to the accuracy of discerning what is unknown. 

Research based off of Annalee Newitz’s article “What Archaeologists Got Wrong about Female Statues, Goddesses, and Fertility” from Popular Science.

CGI Controversy in Anime

By Liam Moore

February 19, 2021

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about CGI (computer-generated imagery) in anime. This topic has arisen once again because of the anime Attack on Titan which, after getting a new animation studio, now uses CGI instead of hand-drawn “stop motion”. 

  Now what exactly is CGI? CGI or CG is where computers are used to render 3D models onto the screen. In contrast, normal animation is a series of hand drawn images that are strung together, like stop motion, to create the illusion of motion. For some reason, when anime watchers hear that a show has or uses CGI, they seem to shy away from watching it or make the assumption that it’s bad.

 But why do anime watchers, including myself, tend to stay away from CGI shows? Well, the answer is simple, animation studios that use CGI rarely get it right. As popular anime YouTuber Gigguk said, “Bad CG is bad CG because you notice bad CG”. For the majority of watchers, bad CG takes the watcher out of the experience because things just don’t look right. Also, most anime are either all CG or no CG. There are few anime that take advantage of both, purely for budget reasons. There would be a need to pay artists for both hand-drawn animation and animators for CG animation.

  When an anime is purely reliant on CG for its animation, it has to nail the CG to get good reviews, despite if it’s a perfect  story.. For example, Berserk was one of the most popular manga in Japan and got an animation in 1997 and was well received. In 2016, the show was redone with CG and fans were not happy. I have not watched the show, but from what I’ve seen, the CG animation was very bad and I couldn’t tell whether I was watching a western cartoon or a Japanese animation. From weird facial expressions to awkward body movements, CG did not help the show gain popularity, but more so ruined the reputation of CG anime

  Berserk set the bar very low for anime fans, low enough for people to avoid CG shows altogether. The next best thing would be to combine CG and normal animation, which many anime studios are beginning to do. However, the problem people still have is that the two animations tend to clash with each other if not used properly. For example, in Golden Kamuy, the characters are all animated normally but there is a CGI bear that they interact with and fight. The difference in animation makes the bear seem clunky and out of place, ruining the immersion for the watcher.

  However, Wit Studio, the animators of Attack on Titan seasons one through three, have cleverly used CG to enhance the show. Wit Studio took advantage of the fast-paced action scenes to create a CGI background in which normally animated characters move through.  Because the background is moving at such a fast pace, the watcher doesn’t have time to recognize that there is even CG. I never even realized there was so much CG until I went back and watched certain scenes and focused on the background. This is an example of good CG in anime because you would never notice it.

  Moving on to the controversy. After Attack on Titan season three ended, the director announced that they would be hiring a new studio: MAPPA Studio (Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association). For almost all fans, this was a good sign because the studio had already animated two hit anime in 2020: Jujutsu Kaisen and The God of High School. However, after the first episode of season four aired, fans noticed that the titans were animated with CG, instead of normal methods. For many fans, this meant the end of the world because they believe that all CG is bad. Most of the other comments I’ve seen have been indifferent to the new animation. 

  In my opinion, the use of CG in Attack on Titan does not ruin the show, like many fans would like you to believe. I prefer this new animation by MAPPA over Wit Studio. I feel as if the CG movements of the characters match with the creepy and evil sort of feel that season four has adopted. 

To all the people who think CG ruins all anime, I used to feel the same way until I watched season four of Attack on Titan, which was the first time I favored CG animation. To all the Attack on Titan fans who dislike MAPPA Studio for using CG and cling on to Wit Studio for its traditional animation, Wit Studio actually used lots of CG but because it was used masterfully, fans never noticed. My stance on the controversy is this; Wit Studio had good CG because no one noticed the good CG and MAPPA Studio uses good CG. After all, it does not ruin the immersion for the watcher. As long as watchers are not complaining every second about the use of CG, people would soon realize the masterpiece that is the animation of Attack on Titan.

Marxism Beyond the Stars, the Leftism of Star Trek

By Justin Higginbotham

January 28th, 2021

Star Trek is a franchise that has lasted several series over several decades, but from The Original Series to the recent series Star Trek: Discovery, powerful Leftist themes have been prevalent. The series takes place centuries in the future after Earth dissolves its nation-states and creates a united global government based on equality and meeting the needs of humanity. Here, poverty has been eradicated and there is no money in the future Earth. Communist philosopher Karl Marx described the final stage of Communism as a stateless, classless, moneyless society, and the Earth of Star Trek’s future certainly is without currency or class, and arguably is without the state. The Earth is described as a Utopia and has become a prevalent member in the intergalactic “Federation of Planets”, a representative democratic coalition of multiple planets who have also achieved the elimination of class and the founding of an internationalized world. 

  Leftist themes can also be found in how they handle and portray the representation of non-communistic planets and societies. The main enemies of the federation have always been fascistic and totalitarian societies committing acts of imperialism. Throughout the series, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the antagonists have always been the Cardassian Empire, a traditionalist Fascist autocracy who have colonized and exploited the indigenous people of the planet Bajor and have extracted their planet’s resources. What makes this interesting is the justification many Cardassians use, utilizing the same idea of ‘helping modernize this racially inferior primitive culture with imperialism’ that many colonial imperialist nations on Earth have used to justify their exploitation of places like Africa and South America.

  One of the more prominent leftist themes are visible in the portrayal of the Ferengi. A race of aliens from the planet Ferenginar, their cultural values are that of the acquisition of wealth. In their society, greed is seen as positive and morally good, Marxist themes like commodity fetishism and the hyper-capitalist mindset are things we are constantly reminded of when watching the Ferengi. They value the exploitation of the working class and see unionization as a sacrilegious act, in the episode “Bar Association” of Deep Space 9, the Ferengi Rom who works for his brother Quark becomes fed up with Quark’s treatment of the workers and is inspired to start a labor union and begin to strike with the other workers. As Rom attempts to rally his fellow workers, many of the Ferengi workers feel they are committing a grave sin by uttering the word “Union”, this shows the prevalence of Capitalist Realism in Ferengi society. As Rom gives a speech convincing the workers to join his cause, he finishes by reading out the quote “Workers of the World, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!” This message is engraved on Karl Marx’s tombstone and is the final line of the Communist Manifesto, showing the protagonist of this episode has been reading Marxist theory. 

   Since the 1960s, Star Trek has always used analogy to fight for real-world social issues. In the episode of Star Trek: Next Generation titled “The Outcast”, Captain Picard’s First Officer William Riker finds himself having fallen in love with a member of a race of genderless aliens named Soren. Soren her people are initially shown to be Agender (without gender) until we find out Soren identifies as a woman, something that is shunned upon in her culture. The episode ends with Soren being put through conversion therapy by her people as Riker fails to rescue her from the confines of the planet’s strict gender norms.  This episode has been often cited by Star Trek fans to demonstrate the show’s support of non-binary people represented in later iterations of the franchise. 

  Black issues are also often shown by analogy in earlier iterations, but take a much more blatant and clear role in Deep Space 9 like most of Star Trek’s leftist themes do. Examples can be seen in episodes like “Far Beyond The Stars”, where Captain Sisko, a black man, has a vision where he is a science fiction writer in 19050s New York City who finds himself writing about the events of Deep Space 9 for a Sci-Fi magazine. Throughout the episode, he suffers from police brutality and witnessing the state of the Black community in pre-Civil Rights era America as well as combatting his employer who won’t publish his story for having a Black hero in it. The writer’s advocacy of black issues is shown as well in the episode “Badda-bing, Badda-Bang” where Captain Sisko refuses to take part in a holodeck simulation of 1960s America, knowing if it were not a modified simulation he would be ostracized in it as a black man. The episode is meant to demonstrate the importance of remembering black oppression in history and not to erase it. The Federation of Planets requires a planet to achieve racial equality before it is allowed to join, as well as actively promoting intergalactic racial equality as a part of their prime directive. 

These examples barely scratch the surface of the colossus that is Leftist themes in Star Trek, from the Original Series in 1966 to the recent iterations of Discovery and Picard themes of leftist and sometimes blatantly Marxist values have been prevalent and common. The genre of science fiction has always been able to show audiences possibilities of what could be. As the franchise runs these themes seem to become more and more common and visible, the hope of many leftists is not only that Star Trek continues down this path, but that fans and viewers look past the alluring science fiction adventure and take note of the powerful writing behind the series that we all know as one of the most renowned and influential TV series of all time.

2021 Anime Predictions

By Liam Moore

January 22, 2021

2020 was most likely the worst year anyone has experienced, and the way 2021 started, it doesn’t look like much has changed. However, 2020 was a great year for anime and had some exciting new shows and fan favourites. Luckily, 2021 looks to have some good anime in store for us.

Firstly, we have Attack on Titan: The Final Season. In a world filled with giants known as Titans, Eren Yeager seeks revenge against those who killed his parents and endangered his home. Although the first episode aired in December 2020, the final season of this hit show will finish in 2021 and is so popular that it can’t be left out on this list. It is arguably one of the most popular anime in the 21st century.

Next is the second season of The Promised Neverland, a fantasy thriller anime that follows three children, Emma, Norman, and Ray, as they attempt to escape from the orphanage they live in. This seemingly innocent anime gained popularity for its shock factor. The first episode of the second season aired on January 6.

Third on this list is 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu, a sports and drama anime about a high school transer volleyball player, Kimichika Haijima leading the school’s team to victory. Most anime fans know that Haikyu!! is the most popular volleyball anime, but 2.43 aired just after the finishing of the fourth season of Haikyu!!. This means that this anime will not be overshadowed by its more popular counterpart. The first episode aired on January 7.

The hit sci-fi drama anime Dr. Stone will air the first episode of its second season on January 14. The anime follows Senku, a young prodigy scientist after all living things were encased in stone for thousands of years. Senku attempts to rebuild civilization from the stone age to modern day during his lifespan. 

Next is the fifth season of My Hero Academia, an action anime set in a world where many people are born with superpowers and being a superhero is a common profession. The plot follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without a superpower, as he tries to become a superhero. The first episode of the fifth season airs on March 27.

Lastly, the second season of The Rising of The Shield Hero will be airing sometime in 2021, the date is yet to be announced. The action fantasy anime follows Naofumi Iwatani as he is transported to another world and made into one of the Four Cardinal heroes. Unfortunately for Naofumi, the shield hero is hated by most people in this new world. Naofumi attempts to get revenge against the monarchy who mistreated him.

Much like last year, 2021 seems to have a lot of popular anime in store for the anime community. These six anime should be on your radar if you are into anime. However, there are many more anime coming out this year which are just as popular.