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Tag Archives: civilization

10 Events in World History That Totally Should Have Been Pregamed

2 Feb

There was once a time when history was regarded with reverence and esteem. Then the History Channel aired “Ice Road Truckers,” and since then, it has been hard for anyone to take history seriously. That being said, we still view history as an important part of our heritage that must be studied and understood. And by “studied and understood,” we of course mean “examined to establish which historical events would be funniest if all parties involved were shitfaced.” Here at Sherman Ave, history and drinking go together like, well, Mohawk rum and CVS-brand soda. Thus, we proudly present to you the 10 events in world history that totally should have been pregamed.

And you thought Northwestern students' Halloween costumes were offensive

10. The Travels of Marco Polo
As anybody who ever made the excruciating journey from the Keg to the mystical and foreign land of Burger King can attest, drunk adventures just tend to be more interesting than sober travels. Just imagine if Marco Polo had downed two bottles of wine before setting out from Venice! The young guido would probably embark on a series of raucous adventures throughout his travels, recording everything from his first encounters with Asian fusion cuisine in the land of Joy Yee to an ill-fated attempt to skinny dip in the Arabian Sea in an incomprehensibly ungrammatical text message sent to his roommate at three in the morning. The next day, Marco Polo would be way too hungover to feel dismayed by the revelation that, after being carried like three miles by his friends to the Yuan court, Polo used the sacred oil from Jerusalem entrusted to him by Gregory X to introduce the Mongolian Empire to waffle fries before promptly vomiting on Kublai Khan’s lap.

9. The Storming of the Bastille
On July 14, 1789, a bunch of disgruntled poor French people massed upon the Bastille, a large prison known for holding political prisoners. If you think about it, there are only three explanations for masses of people converging on a public place — they’re angry, they’re drunk, or they’re in the Jai Ho music video. Regrettably, seeing as the French were mostly angry in this scenario; they really should have been drunk. Simply compare the nature of angry public gatherings and drunken public gatherings. Angry public gatherings include Occupy Wall Street, Tiananmen Square, and Nazi book burnings. Drunken public gatherings include Snoop Dogg concerts, St. Patrick’s Day, and the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s death. You decide which you find preferable. Besides, A Tale of Two Cities would just be so much more interesting if Madame Lafarge was vomiting uncontrollably in every scene.

8. The Defenestration of Prague
Like anybody needs much provocation to drink in order to escape the infernal bleakness of Eastern Europe. But I usually do need to be at least a couple of shots of absinthe deep before I defend my religious freedom by shoving Catholics out of a third floor window into a pit of manure. Not to mention, a good pregame would have added a whole other layer to the term “getting shit-faced.”

Foam is beer!

7. The Crusades
Which Crusades? ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THE CRUSADES SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREGAMED. Okay, it’s like a road trip, but you can be as sloshy-slosh as you want, because you don’t have to worry about getting a DUI (unless the Holy Roman Empire stringently enforced horse-riding sobriety). Besides, there is no better instigator of belligerent shenanigans than Pope Urban II’s famous declaration, “God wills it!” That’s just asking to be misinterpreted for fratty purposes. Fifteen shots in an hour? God wills it! Eight consecutive kegstands? God wills it! Seriously, if someone walked up to me tomorrow and said “Hey, God wants us to get incredibly blitzed and then go ride a horse from Rome to Jerusalem,” I would instantly buy the necessary supplies. Then I’d probably proceed to buy a bible, to double-check the whole divine mandate thing.

6. Marx Writes the Communist Manifesto
Alcoholism becomes much easier when it’s supported by a good old-fashioned dialectical materialist ideology. A tipsy Marx after an unlucky game of Drunkopoly would undoubtedly replace his theories of Das Kapital with Das Boot, the class struggle with the timeless struggle for consciousness, and the stateless society the ideal of a pants-less society. His manuscript — hastily scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin — would ignite rebels everywhere with its message, resulting in a series of idealistic revolutions calling for the redistribution of Miller High Life among the proletariat but rapidly degenerating into a dystopian shitshow of Adele lyrics in the gulag of Fran’s Cafe.

5. Hannibal Leading His Army Over the Alps
When I’m plastered, there are only two things I want: Guacamole and Elephants. I have some doubts about the guacamole rations in the Carthaginian army, but there were definitely some fucking elephants. They’re just so large! In that state of mind, it’s difficult to perceive objects larger than the distance between Burger King and 7/11. An elephant would just be mind-blowing. Furthermore, there are tons of fun activities to do in the Alps: skiing, snowboarding, sledding, making snow angels, having snowball fights with fellow Carthaginian soldiers, walking behind Hannibal and quietly muttering lines from “Silence of the Lambs,” etc. If someone just told me to march over an entire mountain range, I’d be pretty miffed, but if someone had me do a power hour and then said “Let’s go hiking!” I’d take the bait like a middle-aged housewife at Herman Cain’s mansion.

A thimblefull of tequila brings out her coquettish side

4. The Trial of Joan of Arc
Tensions might have ran high in the Rouen courtroom as the Maid of Orléans was tried for heresy, but that’s nothing a little Smirnoff chased by a slap can’t solve! If only the Bishop Cauchon had pregamed, the interrogation would have devolved from religious inquiry to a saucy game of “Never Have I Ever,” with questions mostly pertaining to Joan’s fantasies about the Dauphin and her penchant for cross-dressing. Joan of Arc will then famously proceed to declare to the courtroom, “I do not think I am in mortal sin, and if I am, it is for God and the priest in confession to know that I used the pages of Ezekial 23: 19-20 to roll the biggest joint Charles VII ever saw!” The trial would inevitably end with the pronouncement that the patron saint of France was “one righteous motherfucker” before burning her at the stake and cooking escargot over her smoldering ashes.

3. The Arrival of Cortez in Mexico
I’ll be the first to admit: When I’ve have too much to drink, I’m very friendly. Best friends are inundated with hugs, acquaintances are equally inundated with hugs, and the quiet Korean girl from my Econ discussion probably sustains a fairly serious spinal injury from the amount and magnitude of the hugs with which she is inundated. But even in all of my drunken affection, I very rarely greet a stranger and jump to the conclusion that they are the god Quetzalcoatl. There was that one time, but she had a very oddly proportioned face, and I couldn’t come up with any other explanation for it. Ultimately, Montezuma and his Aztec cronies should have heavily pregamed the arrival of Cortez, if for no other reason than to justify their absurd actions (just think if only Cortez had been entranced by the Aztec’s gold tequila rather than the golden buildings of Tenochtitlan). I’d have to be incredibly trashed to give a stranger the keys to the capital city of my civilization, even though I was once trashed enough to lock the keys in the car at 2:30 in the morning after drunkenly transporting a couch through several blocks of downtown Evanston.

2. The Construction of Stonehenge
Seeing as its pretty easy to build Stonehenge in the opening of Civilization IV, I can only assume that the Druids were pretty far gone when they built one the most complex monuments of the Stone Age. I mean, you’d kind of have to be three sheets to the wind to agree to lug 25-ton rocks from a Welsh quarry to some testament for the enterprising spirit of man. Assuming the Druids were drunk on mead, there are few explanations remaining for the memorial. My guess is that they either built a fast-food restaurant catering to students’ late-night culinary needs, or else a bar with a lax ID policy and stripper poles on the dance floor.

Drink every time a Russian model looks like this by the time she hits her mid-thirties?

1. Russia
You may not have ever thought to pregame an entire nation, but it seems like the only appropriate thing to do. I’d really like to isolate a single event in Russian history that needs to be pregamed more than the others, but that is simply a Sisyphean task. Conclusion: Nothing in or relating to Russia should ever involve sobriety. Therefore, instead of painstakingly listing every event in Russian history, I present to you: “History of Russia: The Drinking Game!”
• Drink every time Russia is invaded in the winter against the invader’s better judgment
• Drink every time a prominent politician is sent to a gulag
• Drink every time Brezhnev’s eyebrows appear in an intricate nightmare of yours
• Drink every time Putin shares an uncomfortably intimate moment with a wild animal
• Drink every time Tolstoy and/or Dostoevsky makes you lose faith in everything, LITERALLY EVERYTHING
• Drink every time Tchaikovsky tries to suppress his latent homosexuality
• Drink every time a Russian leader tries to expand executive power
o Drink twice if it’s Putin
• Waterfall from 1917-1991

Ross Packingham and Evander Jones

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Badasses in History: Hannibal Barca

11 Oct

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.

His beard is rumored to be the inspiration for Morty's

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!

Battles in those days were a lot like off-campus parties: nowhere to move, and no idea who's assaulting you

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.

Putting the Dos Equis man to shame

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.

Hey Rome, remember that one time I almost single-handedly brought your empire to its knees?

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.

It said:

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.

Righteous.

Josh Kopel