Steven’s Footnotes

Theology, Biology, and Sociology; A Study of Shin Sekai Yori up to Episode 6 (Part 2)

  1. “Why the Haudenosaunee,” you ask? Simple, because they are so completely badass. I mean, quite honestly — they essentially created the United States’ government centuries before even the Puritan’s arrival, created a near incorruptible system of governance, saw women as individuals *gasp*, allowed women an active part in the running of the government on all levels, and established an empire encompassing (both through direct and indirect control [rather like Western imperialism *wink*]) the east coast of North America.
  2. There are issues with my usage of the term “American”. Originally the term really did refer, not to simply inhabitants of the Americas, but to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. If I had been a colonist during the first half of the eighteenth century and I had told someone that I was American, they would’ve looked at me as if I had three heads and spoke Sumerian, because that would be me saying that I made the decision to abandon my identity as an Englishman and a colonist entirely and ingrain myself into ‘Native American’ culture. The colonial identity, despite being distinct and colonial, was decidedly British until the 1750’s, when Ben Franklin became an early adopted of a modern “American” identity separate from both the ‘Native Americans’ and of the British. Taking this issue into account, I refer to ‘Native Americans’ simply as Americans; white settlers as either colonial Europeans, colonial Americans, or as colonial *insert hereditary demonym here*, according to their time period/identity; and people we as a society would consider the first ‘Americans’ as Anglo-Americans.
  3. This should sound familiar to some Americans, as that is supposed to be the guiding philosophy of our form of elected officials. I have a couple things to say about that, namely that the concept it not actually our own, but taken from the Gaianashagowa itself. Because of American expansionism (Manifest Destiny) racism in the United States was greatly expanded to include the Native Americans because we came to see them not as people, but as simple hindrances to being “The Greatest Country on Earth”. I should also say that while that may be the guiding principal of the United States elected office, it is rarely the case in our country due to 1) the slight perversion of the Gaianashagowa the founding fathers committed, 2) the heavy denial of the Haudenosaunee influence on our government after the advent of Manifest Destiny, and 3) the Old World influence inherent in our system and our people. The Haudenosaunee however did actually have this concept in practice, and it was enforced by the Clanmothers, who had the power to remove any Sachem they deemed unfit because he failed to follow this principle. (The Clanmothers could also remove Sachems for a myriad of other reasons, but I am not going to get into that right now.)
  4. Clanmothers are not held to this same standard of humility despite being also held as strict servants of the people. This is for a myriad of sociological and civil reasons including but not limited to these two major factors: 1) that the Clanmothers represent wisdom in Haudenosaunee culture and thus are not going to be susceptible to corruption as the Sachems — who represent strength — would be, and 2) that the Clanmothers almost do not need to be held up to a higher standard because not only are they more numerous than the Sachems (meaning that individual corruption in a Clanmother is going to be diluted more than in the council of Sachems) but also because they have less power than the Sachems (the Clanmothers can only appoint/remove Sachems and veto any Sachem consensus not relating to war).
  5. This is the time period that I would personally place the creation of the Gaianashagowa at. However, that is my date that I take from archeological inferences while the most common dates used for dating the Gaianashagowa are 1125 CE, 1450 CE, and 1600 CE. I say 1300 CE because the first date is determined using pure oral history and accurate up to fifty years, the second date uses carbon dating and is accurate up to two or three hundred years, and the third date was given by eighteenth century scholars/historians. Naturally I’ve thrown out 1600 CE due to it’s obvious extreme bias and averaged the more logical ones together to create a date I think fits better with the supplementary evidence of the turbulence of the thirteenth century.

Kill la Kill Episode 1

  1. I also think that the town in which the school is set has been deliberately designed to be visually similar to Renaissance depictions of the tower of Babel, but that really didn’t have any place in my article.

    Lucas van Valckenborch’s “Construction of the Tower of Babel” c. 1594

    Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The ‘Little’ Tower of Babel” c. 1563

    I consider these two works to be incredibly typical of the Tower of Babel during the time. Both feature a stacked design with uniform compartments running across each level of the tower. Additionally they both depict the tower with the same kind of incline and rising into the clouds.
    kill la kill ep1

    Honnouji Academy from Kill la Kill as rendered in episode one.

    When we compare Honnouji Academy to the Tower of Babel two similarities are immediately evident: that — when the angle of the perspective is taken into consideration — Honnouji Academy uses the same slope as van Valckenborch and Breugel’s Babels and rises into the clouds in much the same way.

    Another view of Honnouji Academy.

    Here we can also see that the Honnouji is also tiered as well as segmented n a manner similar to our Renaissance Babels. While neither Breugel nor van Valckenborch have the same kind of compartments as Honnouji, the patterned openings into the tower with repeating columns gives the same effect.

    A third view of Honnouji Academy.

    This image can specifically give us a good view of the slope and cloud-cover, but also features a spiral railway. Renaissance renderings of the Tower of Babel, while sharing nearly everything else, differ in that they either use flat tiers or a spiral design to Babel. While Honnouji uses flat tiers, the spiral railway running around the city seems to reference this other design.
  2. Obviously Utena is not the first anime to use this trope, but as Utena is one of the most popular examples of this trope I think that Kill la Kill is likely referencing RGU.


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