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10867Re: [mythsoc] New Yorker article

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  • dianejoy@earthlink.net
    Dec 30 9:03 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      Original Message:
      From: David Bratman dbratman@...
      Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 16:47:46 -0800
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] New Yorker article

      At 03:57 PM 12/25/2003 -0500, John Pots wrote:
      >Interesting article,
      >On Wagner/Tolkien 's rings, also music in the film, influences of Wagner
      >would love to hear any comments from people here.

      Ross is pretty good on the technical musical stuff, and on Shore's debt to
      Wagner, but on Tolkien he's full of hot air.

      "The idea of the omnipotent ring must have come directly from Wagner;
      nothing quite like it appears in the old sagas."

      Thus illustrating the well-known fallacy: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

      "Admit it, J.R.R., you used to run around brandishing a walking stick and
      singing 'Nothung! Nothung!' like every other besotted Oxford lad."

      Oh come on. For the least thing, Tolkien was never an Oxford lad.

      "When Tolkien stole Wagner’s ring, he discarded its most significant
      property—that it can be forged only by one who has forsworn love."

      Even if he got the idea from Wagner, which he almost certainly didn't, that
      only counts as "stealing" in a plagiarism-mad world, one in which William
      Shakespeare was the greatest criminal mastermind of all time.

      And of course Tolkien didn't discard any properties of Wagner's ring,
      because a) his ring isn't Wagner's, b) even if it were, Sauron is hardly
      looking for romantic love.

      Sorry; this notion sparked in my mind from above comment.

      Personal ad in the *Mordor Messenger.* "Dark Lord seeks Dark Lady. Must
      be willing to be subservient, put up with orcs and Nine Nazgul as palace
      retinue. Looking for wedding with One Ring to be placed on MY finger
      (which I will have, once I obtain a body again). Must Bring Ring, or else.


      Ba dum bump.

      "And what, honestly, do people want in it? Are they envious of Sauron’s
      bling-bling life style up on top of Barad-dûr?"

      Here we have the most annoying characteristic of recent Tolkien critics,
      one we'll be seeing more and more of: elsewhere in this paragraph he's
      talking about Tolkien, but here he throws in an unacknowledged reference to
      something that appears only in Jackson. Don't blame Tolkien for Jackson's
      inventions, Ross, you moron.

      Er---"bling bling?" I must really be off track; I don't know what that
      means. Maybe you can explain? And I couldn't help but choke with laughter
      reading that. Sauron has a "death" style, but not a "life" style, if I'm
      reading my Tolkien right. Has this man lost his mind?

      "The ring is a never-ending nightmare to which people are drawn for no
      obvious reason."

      Now we _know_ he hasn't read the book.

      "It generates lust and yet gives no satisfaction."

      Well, yeah ... that's part of the problem.

      "Wagner, by contrast, uses the ring to shine a light on various intense,
      confused, all-too-human relationships."

      In less elevated language, Wagner is writing a soap opera. Tolkien isn't.

      "The experience of film—and, in particular, of music in film—has probably
      had a prejudicial effect on the way people view live opera. They expect
      images to set the tone and music to match—'Mickey-Mousing,' Walt Disney’s
      composers called it. Howard Shore, in 'The Lord of the Rings,' practices
      the art of Mickey-Mousing at an exalted level."

      It is worth noting that the idea of making music match the tone of the
      story it's trying to tell is much older than Disney. Early practitioners
      included Antonio Vivaldi, and the idea was brought to perfection by such
      Hollywood hacks as Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saens - the latter the
      first composer of note to write film music; maybe he knew something. It
      was from them that later film composers learned the art of conveying
      plot-based emotions through music.

      Personally I find operas in which the emotional content of the music
      doesn't match the plot to be simply disconnected. Maybe I've been spoiled
      by film music, or maybe I'm just expecting a little sense.

      Agreed. I always thought the endless recicetives in opera to be amusing.
      You know the ones, where "he sat in a chair" is repeated about thirty five
      times. I have no problem with opera so long as it's tied to plot enough to
      have the music advance the story line. Though I admit, I've only seen one
      live opera, Madamme Butterfly. --djb

      The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

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