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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Question about LOTR and redeeming Nordic mythology

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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


              The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org Yahoo! Groups
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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 6 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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