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Scandal and the people of Rome | New TV – Scandal

The show may sound like something out of Ancient Rome, but in fact it’s the plot to ABC’s Scandal, set in modern-day Washington DC.

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Scandal: The Complete First Season

Starring Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Henry Ian Cusick

A charismatic leader with a bitch of a wife and scheming advisor, who’s carrying on an affair. A world of politics where assassination and character defamation is part of the tool kit and the only thing that matters is upholding the populous’ belief in the republic. And a small group of soldiers and politicians who operate above the law, going so far as to decide who wins elections. This may sound like something out of Ancient Rome, but in fact it’s the plot to ABC’s Scandal, set in modern-day Washington DC.

Scandal focuses on a small group of people, led by a woman named Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who call themselves gladiators. Their job is basically to keep politicians’ public image completely free of their private mistakes, but this isn’t a mere PR firm. As one of the gladiators implies in season two, their work is akin to a calling to a higher service: “Gladiators don’t get to have feelings. We rush into battle. We’re soldiers.”

Olivia’s team may call themselves gladiators, but they way they operate is closer to that of the praetorian guard. Established by the emperor Augustus, the praetorian guard was not the emperor’s body guard. Instead, they were elite soldiers with both military and political power. Rather than guarding the emperor’s body, they guarded his political reputation, and occasionally that of the senators. But their role was more involved than simply protecting the emperor: they protected the entire republic of Rome, even if that sometimes meant protecting it from the emperor himself. They kept emperors in power, assassinated both them and their rivals, and sometimes went so far as to force people into position–such as the emperor Claudius, who became emperor after the praetorian guard assassinated Tiberius.

That certainly bears a resemblance to Olivia and her “gladiators.” Olivia helped rig an election to make sure Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) was reelected POTUS. But even more than Scandal’s gladiators, the attitude of its politician characters is similar to the ethics of Ancient Rome, where people were held to a different ethical standard in the their public and private lives. In public, a patrician–member of the ruling elite–was expected to follow Rome’s surprisingly strict moral expectations of dignity, family, self-control, and discipline. Yet in private, the patricians often behaved in the exact opposite of this moral ideal, plotting to kill their family members and indulging in every imaginable vice and whim. It didn’t matter as long as their public personas appeared ethical.

Like Ancient Rome, appearance are everything in the world of Scandal. In one episode, Cyrus (Jeff Perry), the White House Chief of Staff, says that he was raised to be the president but can never be because he lives openly as a homosexual. In another scene, Fitz kills the Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney)–not because she was involved in throwing the election, which she was, but because she was going to tell everyone about it. Even though Fitz had nothing to do with rigging his reelection, he can’t abide Verna living long enough to confess and ruin his public reputation.

The real question is, how does this reflect on the real Washington DC? There have been comparisons between the United States and the last days of the Roman Empire since the 1970s (Three Days of the Condor springs to mind), but do people really believe Scandal reflects Washington reality? If they do, it may not be so much the scandals the characters find themselves involved in but the separation between the people who lead the country and the average citizen strikes a chord. The characters in Scandal often refer to the “people of the United States” as if they’re some barely controlled, amorphous hive mind. Part of the appeal of Scandal is that it is a convincing portrayal of what happens in Washington. But if the show’s creators are deliberately referencing the last quarter of the Roman Empire, which their use of the term gladiators suggests, then one wonders who they’re trying to warn of the dangers of a dissolute government: Washington DC, or us?

by Tasha Brandstatter

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Star Wars™ Pinball: Star Wars Rebels™

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Zen Studios has concocted a ruse of amusement, it’s a trap—of fun. Star Wars™ Pinball: Star Wars Rebels™, established by the critically acclaimed animated TV show on Disney XD, Star Wars Rebels™, releases endorphins chock full of nostalgia and bliss. With all of the Star Wars talk going on as of late, it’s nice to get in your daily need of pew pew! Stormtroopers assemble and try to take down the hero of Lothal, the whole mission thing is a bit nuts. This pinball table goes to a galaxy far far away by delving into an age that has yet to be traversed by the films. Zen studios gets the balance of the force just right, do not try to get this table, do it.

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Pinball FX-2 Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Zen Studios does it again with Pinball FX2 – Marvel Avenger’s: Age of Ultron. This table is available on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. Avengers Assemble! Age of Ultron quenches a thirst for adventure you didn’t know you had. Players assist Iron Man in finishing his most aspiring venture to date. The profound and climactic soundtrack will rip you out of the comfort of your chair and into the Age of Ultron. Enjoy this audacious addition to the Avenger’s universe, Thor’s might is on your side. The Incredible Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow make a gargantuan attempt at arresting the nefarious Ultron. Pull yourself together and check out this game, you can’t afford more mistakes. The god of thunder favors you.

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Shaking the Habitual, The Knife | Album Review

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By The Knife

Shaking the Habitual is something every person needs more of in life. Stepping outside of boundaries and entering a new experience can have a confounding effect on the senses. Rhythm and movement resonate from the deepest depths of the soul and project outward in an array of vibrancy. 

What starts off like a indigenous ceremony quickly changes to a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland by the third track, “A Cherry on Top.” Then, finding semblance in a 19 minute interlude, “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized,” the brother-and-sister duo reemerge in ritualistic fashion with the deep bass line of “Raging Lung”. Ending with an unsettling aptitude, Fracking Fluid Injection precedes the final track, Ready to Lose; providing insight to a larger contextual effect this album has in a world seeming “Full of Fire.” 

Although difficult to fully embody the composition of electronic and aboriginal noise heard in The Knife’s new album, Shaking the Habitual, any movement to the music is sure to conjure emotion. At times, the May release represents a more archetypal sound in the art of music. 

Tying together components of old and new, the Swedish duo creates a spellbinding effect with the first track, A Tooth For an Eye. Amalgamating dominant instrumentations, subtle synth lines and underlying vocals, A Tooth For and Eye entices the listener with something seldom projected over the airwaves. 

Coming off a seven year hiatus, the duo can predominate with an electronic influence, but, ultimately the seamless transition across a spectrum of sound grasps the ear. Delivered in its entirety, the lasting impression might leave one feeling like a participant of a seance.

— Rob Donovan

 

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