River of Junk

“A ruined structure may be nothing more than a structure that has fallen into ruins; a Ruin is a ruined structure that has been contemplated. Ruined structures have been noticed for millennia, often as signs of humanity’s decay from the time of the gods, when there were giants in the earth: but as sacred drama, not the passage-work of history. Focused contemplation of the ruin qua Ruin as a creative dynamic – where the contemplator of a Ruin not only enjoys an ironic/elegiac perception of the inevitability of the passage of past glories, but refigures that perception into a vision of his own world transformed into Ruins as contemplated by a future observer – seems not to have become a recognized topos until the eighteenth century, either as part of the conventional rhetoric attending the Grand Tour, or as a literary device. Neither a transformation from the soap operas of sacred drama to historical perspective, nor the consequent awareness that we live in some future mortal’s past, was likely to have become commonplace until antiquity had been both domesticated and dramatized through the new historiography of writers like Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), whose immensely detailed, secular History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1766-1788 6vols) demonstrated to civilized Western Europeans that the story of the ruin and revival of the ancient world was a take both exemplary and continuous with the present. The perspectives that Gibbon brought into focus for the West – en passant making Ruins contemplatable as both Icon and lesson – made the past storyable.

“There is a further implication of this alteration in the perspective of the West. Once it is conceived that our own world may be gazed upon from the future, just as we gaze upon the past, then it follows that the world of the future – in order to give habitation to a plausible contemplator – should somehow, in our imaginations, be as livable as the ancient world we were now begun to domesticate into history. The fully-developed topos – where our contemplation of the past is specifically linked to a future observer’s contemplation of our own world – shapes Les Ruines, ou méditations sur les révolutions des empires (1791; trans anon as The Ruins; Or, a Survey of the Revolutions of Empires 1792) by Constantin François de Chassebouf, comte de Volney (1757-1820), published only two years after the French Revolution. It is most clearly articulated at the climax of Chapter Two, after de Volney has meditated upon a valley of ruins along the Euphrates, and contrasts this abandoned solitude with the prosperity of “modern Europe”. But then a thought strikes him:

Reflecting that such had once been the activity of the [Ruins] I was then contemplating, who knows, said I, but such may one day be the abandonment of our countries? Who knows if on the banks of the Seine, the Thames, the Zuyder-Zee, where now, in the tumult of so many enjoyments, the heart and the eye suffice not for the multitude of sensations, – who knows if some traveller, like myself, shall not one day sit on their silent ruins, and weep in solitude over the ashes of their inhabitants, and the memory of their former greatness.

Text: Theme: Ruins And Futurity, The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction.

Image: River of Junk surrounds, Adventure Time Wiki.


Mushroom War

Evidence or clues of former civilization

In many episodes of Adventure Time, there are many hints or clues regarding the world and the civilization that existed prior to the Mushroom War, including as follows:

The first shot of the opening sequence

Adventure Time Theme Song: An opening shot showing various weapons and technological debris, including grayed land and undetonated nuclear missiles lying around, and an arm reaching upward from a tree trunk. There also appears to be the remains of a tank’s tread in the center of the shot and a pink necklace and headphones. The bashed up television is another remnant.

In the “Animated Short“, Pen’s (Finn) mind is transported back in time to Mars. The world is shown full unlike the world shown above.

Tree Trunks“: Traffic signs, which have since somehow mutated into Sign Zombies. It is unknown how this has happened. The painting in Tree Trunks’ house looks like it could be Egypt due to the triangular structures it shows that may be pyramids.

The Enchiridion“: When Finn and Jake first walk through the forest of Mount Cragdor, pieces of metal and some dryers/washers can be seen as they look for the sacred book. Some of the pieces at the top, right corner of the path may be sinks.

Business Time“: Ancient artifacts frozen in icebergs, including computers, a bike, baby shoes and the Businessmen. When the Businessmen try to remember where they came from, they seem to be in pain. Finn also uses a flamethrower built from two fuel tanks connected to a rifle by a tube. When the Businessmen, along with Finn and Jake, are shot up into the sky, they fall back down revealing the entire Land of Ooo. Ooo seems to be a large island, with open ocean surrounding it.

My Two Favorite People“: When Finn and Lady Raincorn confront Jake and Tiffany, the bottoms of upturned cars can be seen in the ground. Jake also uses a military issue phone and headset, and some mutated and regular skulls can be seen near the fire pit where Jake, Lady Rainicorn, and Finn are sitting.

The Witch’s Garden“: The remains of a highway system and a plane’s wing can be seen near Gary’s nest; the River of Junk is essentially a river of mundane pre-war artifacts. Near the River of Junk, a car door can also be spotted close by.

Ocean of Fear“: Underwater city ruins and vehicles appear, and a brief scene shows a damaged aircraft carrier and a stranded tank- an even briefer scene depicts two dead bodies on a couch in the remains of a pre-war living room. Finn and Jake also take to the depths in a submarine. You can also see the remaining tops of cars while they are floating over what might have been an ancient road. All this would seem to imply that sea levels have risen significantly since the war, which would also explain the world’s altered Geography and the island-like nature of Ooo. There is also ruins of old pre-war buildings that can be seen when Jake tries to teach Finn to swim…”

Text: Adventure Time Wiki “Mushroom War”.

Image: Hieronymus Bosch. The Garden of Earthly Delights [detail]. Oil on panel triptych, 220×389 cm. Collection: Museo del Prado, Madrid.