10867Re: [mythsoc] New Yorker article
- Dec 30, 2003Original Message:
From: David Bratman dbratman@...
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 16:47:46 -0800
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] New Yorker article
At 03:57 PM 12/25/2003 -0500, John Pots wrote:
>Interesting article,Ross is pretty good on the technical musical stuff, and on Shore's debt to
>On Wagner/Tolkien 's rings, also music in the film, influences of Wagner
>would love to hear any comments from people here.
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 Wagners ring, he discarded its most significant
propertythat 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 Saurons
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
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 filmand, in particular, of music in filmhas 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 Disneys
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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