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Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien on Film: critique

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  • David Bratman
    ... No, I found it so meandering and waffly as to be generally incomprehensible. ... as Britain s own ignominious dethronement in Egypt, by which Smyth
    Message 1 of 2 , May 27, 2005
      At 04:14 PM 5/26/2005 +0000, Sara Ciborski wrote:
      >Does anyone else find the article in Tolkien on Film, "Three Ages of
      >Imperial Cinema" by J.E. Smyth so dreadful as to be offensive?

      No, I found it so meandering and waffly as to be generally incomprehensible.

      However, my ears pricked up when I read this:

      >In one long, bizarre paragraph he conflates Britain's dethronement in
      >Egypt (1955), war as depicted in TT as reviewed by C.S. Lewis,
      >the "decline of the Elvish and Numenorian Empires," Aragorn's
      >coronation, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. I won't
      >take the space to show how he manages this—you can read it on page 19.

      as "Britain's own ignominious dethronement in Egypt," by which Smyth surely
      means the Suez Crisis, did not occur until almost exactly one year later.
      The Suez Crisis was kicked off when Nasser announced plans to nationalize
      the Canal in July of 1956, and British forces occupied the area on November
      5. But the magazine issue (the one with Lewis's review and the "Storm in
      the Desert" editorial) is dated 22 October 1955. I don't have it handy to
      look at, but since Smyth doesn't say what the editorial is actually about,
      my guess is it relates to an Egyptian-Israeli military skirmish on 16 October.

      Smyth quotes the editorial as warning of an impending security threat in
      the Middle East, which as a piece of prognostication is on a level with
      standing around predicting that there would be snow that winter. But
      surely the lesson of the actual Suez Crisis that followed, AND the lesson
      that Boromir had to learn about the Ring, AND the lesson that the U.S. has
      so far failed to learn from September 11th, is that it's not enough to
      respond to evil, you have to respond in the right way.

      One of Gandalf and Elrond's points was that pure military force would not
      solve the problem of the Ring. "Had I a host of Elves in armour of the
      Elder Days, it would avail little, save to arouse the power of Mordor,"
      says Elrond in "The Ring Goes South." Kind of ironic that Suez culminated
      in a massive British military occupation that accomplished nothing except
      an ignominious retreat.

      David Bratman
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