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Re: Question about LOTR and redeeming Nordic mythology

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  • Michael Martinez
    ... They aren t quite all so ignorant about Tolkien. There is at least one white supremacist site where Tolkien is reviled (as am I) for NOT being a white
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 5, 2006
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      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Croft, Janet B." <jbcroft@o...> wrote:
      >
      > And as an aside, one of the papers I'm editing observes that there
      > are Aryan supremacy groups out there that support a racist reading
      > of LotR and love the movies for their "beautiful Nordic heroes,"
      > posting stills from the movies on their websites. Ik.

      They aren't quite all so ignorant about Tolkien. There is at least
      one white supremacist site where Tolkien is reviled (as am I) for NOT
      being a white supremacist himself. It was kind of funny to see them
      beating up on newcomers for liking Tolkien when I stumbled across that
      forum a couple of years ago.

      --
      Michael Martinez
      Author of Understanding Middle-earth, Parma Endorion, and Visualizing
      Middle-earth
      http://www.michael-martinez.com/
      "Cuando Maria canta, ella canta para mí"
    • John D Rateliff
      Also amusing, in a ghastly sort of way, is the article That Noble Northern Spirit , written years ago (circa 1979-1981) by a neo-Nazi who admired Tolkien but
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 5, 2006
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        Also amusing, in a ghastly sort of way, is the article "That Noble
        Northern Spirit", written years ago (circa 1979-1981) by a neo-Nazi
        who admired Tolkien but who knew, from reading LETTERS OF JRRT, that
        Tolkien despised Nazism.
        Sharon, in addition to the quote David cites I'd also recommend
        your looking at letters #29 and #30 (LETTERS OF JRRT pages 37-38),
        where Tolkien repudiates 'aryan' theory. Nothing irritated Tolkien
        more than people or things which approached things he as interested
        in and "got it wrong", whether Wagner's RING, CSL's Narnia, Spenser's
        elves, Shakespeare's walking woods in MACBETH, &c. I suspect his
        distaste for Irish (cf. his love of Welsh) and French (as opposed to
        a sentimental attachment to Spanish) and possibly even his dislike of
        Charles Williams' Arthurian poems (very unlike his own "The Fall of
        Arthur") are a different manifestation of the same principal. It's in
        the things that concern us most closely, and which we care about the
        most, that we react most strongly against when a variant of them rubs
        us the wrong way.
        --JDR

        current reading: The Narnian (Jacobs)


        On Jan 5, 2006, at 8:47 AM, Michael Martinez wrote:
        >> Janet Croft wrote:
        >> And as an aside, one of the papers I'm editing observes that there
        >> are Aryan supremacy groups out there that support a racist reading
        >> of LotR and love the movies for their "beautiful Nordic heroes,"
        >> posting stills from the movies on their websites. Ik.
        >
        > They aren't quite all so ignorant about Tolkien. There is at least
        > one white supremacist site where Tolkien is reviled (as am I) for NOT
        > being a white supremacist himself. It was kind of funny to see them
        > beating up on newcomers for liking Tolkien when I stumbled across that
        > forum a couple of years ago.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Bratman
        ... If it s written in that context it can t predate 1981, when Letters was published. However, the quote that I gave, and from which that article s title was
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 5, 2006
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          At 10:53 AM 1/5/2006 -0800, John D Rateliff wrote:
          >Also amusing, in a ghastly sort of way, is the article "That Noble
          >Northern Spirit", written years ago (circa 1979-1981) by a neo-Nazi
          >who admired Tolkien but who knew, from reading LETTERS OF JRRT, that
          >Tolkien despised Nazism.

          If it's written in that context it can't predate 1981, when Letters was
          published. However, the quote that I gave, and from which that article's
          title was taken, first appeared in print in Carpenter's biography in 1977,
          p. 193-4.

          You don't say where the article may be found, if indeed it may.


          > Sharon, in addition to the quote David cites I'd also recommend
          >your looking at letters #29 and #30 (LETTERS OF JRRT pages 37-38),
          >where Tolkien repudiates 'aryan' theory.

          Oh yes, that's hysterical. Tolkien deliberately misconstrues Nazi race
          theory to show them up for the idiots they are. "I am not of Aryan
          extraction: that is Indo-iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors
          spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects." Then to the
          question of whether he's Jewish: "I regret that I appear to have no
          ancestors of that gifted people."


          >Nothing irritated Tolkien
          >more than people or things which approached things he as interested
          >in and "got it wrong", whether Wagner's RING, CSL's Narnia, Spenser's
          >elves, Shakespeare's walking woods in MACBETH, &c.

          ... Peter Jackson ...


          >It's in
          >the things that concern us most closely, and which we care about the
          >most, that we react most strongly against when a variant of them rubs
          >us the wrong way.

          Indeed.


          DB
        • John D Rateliff
          ... You re right; it has to be 1981ff. I never saw the original publication but was given a photocopy of it in 1981 or shortly thereafter; the publication
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 5, 2006
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            On Jan 5, 2006, at 11:10 AM, David Bratman wrote:
            > If it's written in that context it can't predate 1981, when Letters
            > was
            > published. However, the quote that I gave, and from which that
            > article's
            > title was taken, first appeared in print in Carpenter's biography
            > in 1977,
            > p. 193-4.
            >
            > You don't say where the article may be found, if indeed it may.

            You're right; it has to be 1981ff. I never saw the original
            publication but was given a photocopy of it in 1981 or shortly
            thereafter; the publication information was written on it, and I
            don't remember it offhand all these years later. My copy isn't
            immediately accessible, but I'll send a copy of it to you next time I
            come across it, if you like.

            > Oh yes, that's hysterical. Tolkien deliberately misconstrues Nazi
            > race
            > theory to show them up for the idiots they are. "I am not of Aryan
            > extraction: that is Indo-iranian; as far as I am aware none of my
            > ancestors
            > spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects." Then
            > to the
            > question of whether he's Jewish: "I regret that I appear to have no
            > ancestors of that gifted people."
            >

            Indeed. His rejecting the term "Nordic" elsewhere is of a piece with
            this (LETTERS, page 375, he specifically dislikes it because "it is
            associated . . . with racialist [racist] theories"). And then too
            there's the matter of his modeling the Dwarves of THE HOBBIT on
            medieval Jewish craftsmen (esp. of Iberia) and on Old Testament
            Hebrew warrior-kings.
            By contrast, Robert Howard (author of the Conan stories) believed
            whole-heartedly in the Aryan myth; it would have been interesting, if
            he'd lived a few more years, to have seen how or if he distanced
            himself from the Nazi version/perversion/adaptation of that myth.
            [slightly off-topic, I know, but I was reminded of R.E.H. yesterday
            when I found out that his home town of Cross Plains, Texas was one of
            the area on fire and wondered if the Howard house survived this
            recent round of wildfires.] Spinrad's THE IRON DREAM points out the
            ways in which the two traditions were frightingly close, while
            Bernal's BLACK ATHENA for all its excesses does a great job of
            tracing how much of the old Aryan myth still underlies our ideas of
            early Eastern Mediterranean history (the interaction between Egypt,
            Phoenicia, Greece).


            >> Nothing irritated Tolkien
            >> more than people or things which approached things he as interested
            >> in and "got it wrong", whether Wagner's RING, CSL's Narnia, Spenser's
            >> elves, Shakespeare's walking woods in MACBETH, &c.
            >
            > ... Peter Jackson ...

            Well, yes; thought that went without saying.

            >> It's in
            >> the things that concern us most closely, and which we care about the
            >> most, that we react most strongly against when a variant of them rubs
            >> us the wrong way.
            >>
            >
            > Indeed.

            --JDR

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David Bratman
            ... As a collector of some of the odder Tolkien spinoffs (I cherish an old miniatures catalog which names Pippin and Merry as sons of Sam, the author having
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 5, 2006
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              At 11:46 AM 1/5/2006 -0800, John D Rateliff wrote:

              >You're right; it has to be 1981ff. I never saw the original
              >publication but was given a photocopy of it in 1981 or shortly
              >thereafter; the publication information was written on it, and I
              >don't remember it offhand all these years later. My copy isn't
              >immediately accessible, but I'll send a copy of it to you next time I
              >come across it, if you like.

              As a collector of some of the odder Tolkien spinoffs (I cherish an old
              miniatures catalog which names Pippin and Merry as sons of Sam, the author
              having apparently read nothing of LOTR except Appendix C), yes I'd be
              interested.


              > By contrast, Robert Howard (author of the Conan stories) believed
              >whole-heartedly in the Aryan myth; it would have been interesting, if
              >he'd lived a few more years, to have seen how or if he distanced
              >himself from the Nazi version/perversion/adaptation of that myth.

              A lot of people jumped back and forth on this, as others did over
              Communism. If we can't have Howard's views because he died too soon, how
              about H.P. Lovecraft's? A genteel racist who also believed in his own
              stock's superiority, he lived long enough to recognize Hitler for the evil
              that he was, and to his credit denounced Nazism before the war (which he
              didn't live to see). Lovecraft was also an economic conservative who came
              to see the virtue in the New Deal.


              >[slightly off-topic, I know, but I was reminded of R.E.H. yesterday
              >when I found out that his home town of Cross Plains, Texas was one of
              >the area on fire and wondered if the Howard house survived this
              >recent round of wildfires.]

              According to what I've read, it rather miraculously did. Possibly Joe
              Christopher, who lives two counties away, would know more.


              >> ... Peter Jackson ...
              >
              >Well, yes; thought that went without saying.

              Considering some of the things you've said in the past in defense of the
              films, I rather thought it didn't.


              >Interesting. I don't understand his or her remark about there not
              >being any Tolkien adaptations, unless by this he or she means that no
              >one has messed with Tolkien's text, as they have with Lewis's LWW.

              I think she meant to say that the existing films messed with the text so
              greatly that she refused to accept them as Tolkien adaptations.


              >As for his or her deciding not to see films the v. thought of which
              >made him or her "irrationally angry", that seems like a good call. I
              >have to wonder, though, about the whole secondary separation thing;
              >seems like a huge investment of mental energy to find out everyone
              >involved in all three films and then keeping track of their role in
              >subsequent films so he or she can boycott them all. What a waste of
              >time and energy.

              That puzzled me too, as the actors were not the problem with the films,
              even when miscast. Besides, a boycott of all films with Jackson's actors
              in them would force one to skip out on the wonderful "Eternal Sunshine of
              the Spotless Mind".

              DB
            • Croft, Janet B.
              ... That puzzled me too, as the actors were not the problem with the films, even when miscast. Besides, a boycott of all films with Jackson s actors in them
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 5, 2006
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                >As for his or her deciding not to see films the v. thought of which
                >made him or her "irrationally angry", that seems like a good call. I
                >have to wonder, though, about the whole secondary separation thing;
                >seems like a huge investment of mental energy to find out everyone
                >involved in all three films and then keeping track of their role in
                >subsequent films so he or she can boycott them all. What a waste of
                >time and energy.

                That puzzled me too, as the actors were not the problem with the films,
                even when miscast. Besides, a boycott of all films with Jackson's
                actors in them would force one to skip out on the wonderful "Eternal
                Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

                DB

                ** And I for one would hate to have to boycott everything else Sir Ian
                McKellan appeared in. But you won't see me in line to see King Kong, not
                at prices today and not when it means _paying_ to sit through
                anti-piracy ads.

                Janet


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              • Sharon Bolding
                Thanks for all your references and pointers to these sources. I appreciate your insights. And now I have plenty of reading to get to...
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 9, 2006
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                  Thanks for all your references and pointers to these sources. I
                  appreciate your insights. And now I have plenty of reading to get to...
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