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Tolkien and politics

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  • tuhonbillmcg
    I thought you folks would get a kick out of this. It s from a conservative/libertarian talk radio show. If You Want [r]epublican Kids, Have Them Read Tolkien
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 11, 2013
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      I thought you folks would get a kick out of this. It's from a conservative/libertarian talk radio show.


      If You Want [r]epublican Kids, Have Them Read Tolkien And Get Involved With Local Politics

      Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – If you want to get him involved in politics, make their Congress and their Senate out to be the worst places on earth. Tell them they should go sit in on the boring-as-hell city council meetings. Learn about what's going on in the local government. Go sit in on debates between judges that are running for offices. Check out today's transcript for the rest…



      Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

      Mike: How about Annie in New Jersey? Hello, Annie, how you doing?

      Caller Annie: Hi, Mike, so glad to talk to you.

      Mike: Thank you very much. It's nice to hear a happy voice today.

      Caller Annie: I'm glad. Don't be sad. You're doing great stuff.

      Mike: It's just been one of those weeks where the feedback and reaction has just been, oh, man, it's just so dull. Anyway, I thank you.

      Caller Annie: The reason I called was, I just wanted to share something with you that my son told me last night. He's 22, a musician trying to break in or, I don't know, just be in the music business. I'm sure he will be. He's very determined. He started just talking to me on his own about the country and the way things are going. He said: Kids are very unhappy with what's going on in this country. The thing that really struck me was he said: It's not going to change peacefully. I'm not exactly sure where he thinks it's going to go but that's what he said.

      Mike: He said it's not going to change peacefully?

      Caller Annie: Um-hmm.

      Mike: So he has become imbued with armed revolution because he sees it all the time in popular literature and videogames all around him, right?

      Caller Annie: I guess. I'm not sure. I'm not sure if that was exactly what he was thinking. He doesn't see the two parties working. He's talked before about third party but he doesn't see that really solving the situation. I'm not sure how to advise him. I just tell him to listen to your show, but he probably won't listen to me.

      Mike: Don't tell him that. What you need to tell him is: Whatever you do, I don't want to catch you listening to that Patriot Channel. That drives the rebel toward whatever it is you're trying -- you've got to play the reverse psychology card on him. Your question on the board is how to advise a 22-year-old. I actually do have some advice for that, and that is to tell them to start drinking heavily. No, I'm kidding.

      Tell him to read Tolkien. Start with the Hobbit and go to the Two Towers and Return of the King. Tolkien is a work that can convert people. The themes in Tolkien's work are unlike the themes in any other modern literatures, and they're very popular. Since they've been dramatized and popularized in movies, you may have a little more success in trying to go: Well, it was a good movie. [mocking] "I'll just watch the movie. Why read the book?" You get a lot more out of the book. The themes about right and wrong, light and dark, good and bad, war and peace -- throughout the Lord of the Rings, the thing most longed for, if they could just throw that damned ring into that volcano, is that they could return to peace. They could go back to the shire, the sun shines, the showers come, the vegetables in the garden grow and everybody is happy again. The hobbits are out shooting fireworks and getting drunk in their little community where everyone knows their name. The themes of Tolkien's work are just wonderful.

      I don't think ten-year-olds can read Tolkien, but 22-year-olds certainly can read Tolkien. It's not dystopian and dark like The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games, is a horrible ending. AG, does The Hunger Games, and I know you don't want to play spoiler, but does The Hunger Games have a mildly happy ending in book three?

      AG: Mixed bag, definite mixed bag.

      Mike: You've made it all the way through to the end, haven't you?

      AG: Yep.

      Mike: At the end of Lord of the Rings, like I said, the ring is gone, the sun is out, the hobbits are having a party and life is good. The light has returned and darkness has been vanquished.

      Caller Annie: I'm sure that's my son's kind of world, let me tell you.

      Mike: Try some Tolkien

      Caller Annie: The politics of it, how do you get them -- do you get them involved? I don't know what to tell him anymore. I'm disgusted.

      Mike: If you want to get him involved in politics, make their Congress and their Senate out to be the worst places on earth. Tell them they should go sit in on the boring-as-hell city council meetings. Learn about what's going on in the local government. Go sit in on debates between judges that are running for offices.

      Caller Annie: My husband was a councilman, so I know all about it.

      Mike: Go to the meetings. Learn what the council is doing. Pay attention to what's going on in your state legislature. You're in New Jersey. Go visit the capital. Go visit Trenton. Go to a session of the House. Sit in on it and follow the bills and see what you can make out of it. Talk to your state representative. In other words, teach them republicanism, not nationalism. That would be my suggestion.

      End Mike Church Show Transcript
    • wendell_wagner
      There sure were a lot of hippies in the 60 s who were convinced otherwise. Wendell Wagner In a message dated 6/11/2013 9:13:59 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 11, 2013
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        There sure were a lot of hippies in the '60's who were convinced otherwise.
         
        Wendell Wagner
         
        In a message dated 6/11/2013 9:13:59 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, tuhonbillmcg@... writes:
        If You Want [r]epublican Kids, Have Them Read Tolkien And Get Involved With Local Politics
      • Margaret L. Carter
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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          <Mike:  At the end of Lord of the Rings, like I said, the ring is gone, the sun 
          is out, the hobbits are having a party and life is good.  The light has returned 
          and darkness has been vanquished.>

          How did Mike miss Frodo's departure to the Havens? Or the withdrawal of the elves from Middle Earth? Or the theme of a few people giving up the good things in life so that the majority can continue to enjoy them? Sigh.

          Margaret Carter
        • David Bratman
          Margaret C. cites one glaring problem with this account. I noticed others, not all of them attributable to speaking off the cuff, but I don t want to embark
          Message 4 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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            Margaret C. cites one glaring problem with this account. I noticed others,
            not all of them attributable to speaking off the cuff, but I don't want to
            embark on a detailed critique.

            Here's a "Tolkien and politics" item I just came upon that's far more
            disturbing than that: a neo-Nazi film critic who loves the Jackson LOTR:
            http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2013/summer/hating-on-hollywood
            Read this paragraph:

            "Despite his gripes, Lynch manages to find at least a few films worthy of
            praise. Chief among these is the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, which Lynch -
            tipping his cap to Hitler's lieutenant - gives a 'Goebbels Award' for
            'contain[ing] not a shred of Jewish propaganda.' Rhapsodizing about his
            favorite of the trilogy, Lynch writes, 'I urge every White Nationalist to
            see 'The Two Towers' for a glimpse, in the here and now, of the white
            civilization that we have lost, and that we are working hard to create
            again.'"

            Several comments on this:
            1.You can't control nutty interpretations of your work. Charles Manson
            thought the Beatles' White Album was a call for race war.
            2. This kind of thing isn't unique, or limited to the movies. In some parts
            of Europe, a liking for Tolkien is generally taken as a sign of affilitation
            with extreme-right, even neo-fascist, politics.
            3: For those reasons, I don't blame Jackson for engendering this, even
            though I think the differences between the movies and the book facilitated
            this misreading.
            4: For instance, if he'd read the book as well as seen the movie of TT, he
            might have been able to tear his eyes away from the stirring spectacle of an
            army of handsome white guys defeating an army of ugly not-white guys and
            notice that the bad guys' commander and instigator was a pasty-white guy
            played by Christopher Lee.
            5. The book might also have clued him in that TT is not a stand-alone story
            about the Battle of the Hornburg, but part of a larger story with a broader
            meaning. Specifically, that though the dark guys are evil, evil is
            emphatically not about being dark.
            6. And, as noted by many commentators, that the Dwarves are rather Jewish.
            7. Nevertheless, the existence of this particular fan is liable to give
            ammunition to those who consider Tolkien rather racist.
            8. But, see point 1. And I think that this actually only highlights the
            difference between Tolkien's views and those of genuine toxic racism.
            9. And it's a good demonstration of just why Tolkien said he had "a burning
            private grudge" against Hitler.


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Margaret L. Carter" <mlcvamp@...>
            To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:54 AM
            Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien and politics



            <Mike: At the end of Lord of the Rings, like I said, the ring is gone, the
            sun
            is out, the hobbits are having a party and life is good. The light has
            returned
            and darkness has been vanquished.>

            How did Mike miss Frodo's departure to the Havens? Or the withdrawal of the
            elves from Middle Earth? Or the theme of a few people giving up the good
            things in life so that the majority can continue to enjoy them? Sigh.

            Margaret Carter
          • Jeanette Rost
            ... Great comment! And Wormtongue was positively PASTY! In the book, some of the problem hobbits in the Scouring of the Shire were also lacking much in the
            Message 5 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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              On 6/13/2013 12:47 PM, David Bratman wrote:
              > 4: For instance, if he'd read the book as well as seen the movie of
              > TT, he
              > might have been able to tear his eyes away from the stirring spectacle
              > of an
              > army of handsome white guys defeating an army of ugly not-white guys and
              > notice that the bad guys' commander and instigator was a pasty-white guy
              > played by Christopher Lee.

              Great comment! And Wormtongue was positively PASTY! In the book, some
              of the "problem hobbits" in the Scouring of the Shire were also lacking
              much in the way of melatonin.

              Jeanette
            • David Bratman
              Well, yeah. And, in one of the other movies, there was this Denethor guy, whose symbolic function in the story is to show how even the principal leaders of
              Message 6 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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                Well, yeah. And, in one of the other movies, there was this Denethor guy, whose symbolic function in the story is to show how even the principal leaders of the good guys can fall into error, a lesson that it would have been very useful for Herr Adolf H. to have known.

                Then there's the Mouth of Sauron, who is described in the book as a renegade Numenorean, and hence an ordinary if twisted white man. In the movie, however, his face is masked except for a mouth with orc-like teeth, and he speaks in one of those amplified Darth Vader voices.

                (You know, I had to get out the dvd to check this. I was delighted to realize that I had completely forgotten what the movie's depiction of the character was like.)


                -----Original Message-----
                >From: Jeanette Rost <jrr@...>
                >Sent: Jun 13, 2013 10:54 AM
                >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien and politics
                >
                >On 6/13/2013 12:47 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                >> 4: For instance, if he'd read the book as well as seen the movie of
                >> TT, he
                >> might have been able to tear his eyes away from the stirring spectacle
                >> of an
                >> army of handsome white guys defeating an army of ugly not-white guys and
                >> notice that the bad guys' commander and instigator was a pasty-white guy
                >> played by Christopher Lee.
                >
                >Great comment! And Wormtongue was positively PASTY! In the book, some
                >of the "problem hobbits" in the Scouring of the Shire were also lacking
                >much in the way of melatonin.
                >
                >Jeanette
              • Jeanette Rost
                And the Army of the Dead, although they finally redeemed themselves, had previously done great evil, and was undoubtedly made up of all Caucasians. I think I
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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                  And the Army of the Dead, although they finally redeemed themselves, had previously done great evil, and was undoubtedly made up of all Caucasians. 

                  I think I detect some of what I call "insistent ignorance."

                  I didn't remember that the Mouth of Sauron was a renegade Numenorean. 

                  Jeanette


                  On 6/13/2013 1:06 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                   

                  Well, yeah. And, in one of the other movies, there was this Denethor guy, whose symbolic function in the story is to show how even the principal leaders of the good guys can fall into error, a lesson that it would have been very useful for Herr Adolf H. to have known.

                  Then there's the Mouth of Sauron, who is described in the book as a renegade Numenorean, and hence an ordinary if twisted white man. In the movie, however, his face is masked except for a mouth with orc-like teeth, and he speaks in one of those amplified Darth Vader voices.

                  (You know, I had to get out the dvd to check this. I was delighted to realize that I had completely forgotten what the movie's depiction of the character was like.)

                  -----Original Message-----
                  >From: Jeanette Rost <jrr@...>
                  >Sent: Jun 13, 2013 10:54 AM
                  >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien and politics
                  >
                  >On 6/13/2013 12:47 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                  >> 4: For instance, if he'd read the book as well as seen the movie of
                  >> TT, he
                  >> might have been able to tear his eyes away from the stirring spectacle
                  >> of an
                  >> army of handsome white guys defeating an army of ugly not-white guys and
                  >> notice that the bad guys' commander and instigator was a pasty-white guy
                  >> played by Christopher Lee.
                  >
                  >Great comment! And Wormtongue was positively PASTY! In the book, some
                  >of the "problem hobbits" in the Scouring of the Shire were also lacking
                  >much in the way of melatonin.
                  >
                  >Jeanette


                • Tony Zbaraschuk
                  ... For that matter, if you look closely, the closest thing to Aryans is the definitely culturally inferior Rohirrim (blond Germanic rider types), and the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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                    On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 02:25:05PM -0500, Jeanette Rost wrote:
                    > And the Army of the Dead, although they finally redeemed themselves,
                    > had previously done great evil, and was undoubtedly made up of all
                    > Caucasians.

                    For that matter, if you look closely, the closest thing to Aryans is
                    the definitely culturally inferior Rohirrim (blond Germanic rider
                    types), and the Numenoreans are maybe more Middle Eastern (dark haired,
                    a language that works with triconsonantal roots a lot of the time,
                    that sort of thing).

                    And then there's the Kinstrife, where Gondor gets into a very
                    destructive civil war over racial purity issues, and the racism
                    is generally presented as a Bad Idea.

                    > I think I detect some of what I call "insistent ignorance."

                    Probably. It's worth remembering that Tolkien ends up producing a
                    lot of diverse reactions...

                    > I didn't remember that the Mouth of Sauron was a renegade Numenorean.

                    Yup.


                    Tony Z
                    --
                    Courage is a virtue. It does not follow that all
                    courageous acts are in the service of virtuous ends.
                  • David Bratman
                    ... I ve seen discussions of the Kinstrife in which the blame is placed on Valacar for marrying outside of the pure blood, and not on his critics for getting
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jun 13, 2013
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                      Tony Zbaraschuk <tonyz@...> wrote:

                      >And then there's the Kinstrife, where Gondor gets into a very
                      >destructive civil war over racial purity issues, and the racism
                      >is generally presented as a Bad Idea.

                      I've seen discussions of the Kinstrife in which the blame is placed on Valacar for marrying outside of the pure blood, and not on his critics for getting snitty about it. The writers seem to have missed the clear markers of the historians of Appendix A (and thus, presumably, Tolkien's own message) as to where the problem really lay.
                    • ernestsdavis
                      ... Exactly. ... The politics as well as the racism is off-base. The hobbits, with their elected mayor, are certainly the closest thing in Middle-Earth to a
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jun 14, 2013
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                        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "David Bratman" <dbratman@...> wrote:
                        >

                        > Here's a "Tolkien and politics" item I just came upon that's far more
                        > disturbing than that: a neo-Nazi film critic who loves the Jackson LOTR:

                        > 1.You can't control nutty interpretations of your work.
                        Exactly.

                        > 4: For instance, if he'd read the book as well as seen the movie of TT, he
                        > might have been able to tear his eyes away from the stirring spectacle of an
                        > army of handsome white guys defeating an army of ugly not-white guys and
                        > notice that the bad guys' commander and instigator was a pasty-white guy
                        > played by Christopher Lee.
                        > 5. The book might also have clued him in that TT is not a stand-alone story
                        > about the Battle of the Hornburg, but part of a larger story with a broader
                        > meaning. Specifically, that though the dark guys are evil, evil is
                        > emphatically not about being dark.

                        The politics as well as the racism is off-base. The hobbits, with their elected mayor, are certainly the closest thing in Middle-Earth to a liberal democracy. The Entmoot also seems to be carried out by vote or by consensus. The Council of Elrond is an ad-hoc international conference, of the kind these guys mostly detest,

                        On the other hand, the government that takes over the Shire under Lotho Sackville-Baggins and then under Sharkey is certainly a rather bad-tempered parody of left-wing/Socialist policies, probably specifically of the Labour party --- not my favorite part of the book.

                        But, in any case, I don't know to what extent the neo-Nazis are actually interested in Fascism as a form of government; maybe all they care about is the racism anyway.

                        > 6. And, as noted by many commentators, that the Dwarves are rather Jewish.

                        Including Tolkien himself.
                      • David Bratman
                        ... True, but just as the neo-Nazis can t tear themselves away from the fine spectacle of the Rohirrim slaughtering orcs to see that those orcs are the tools
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jun 14, 2013
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                          <davise@...> wrote:

                          > The politics as well as the racism is off-base. The hobbits, with their
                          > elected mayor, are certainly the
                          > closest thing in Middle-Earth to a liberal democracy. The Entmoot also
                          > seems to be carried out by
                          > vote or by consensus.

                          True, but just as the neo-Nazis can't tear themselves away from the fine
                          spectacle of the Rohirrim slaughtering orcs to see that those orcs are the
                          tools of a megalomaniac white guy, they probably can't tear their eyes away
                          from the political spectacle of the destined and rightful monarch taking the
                          crown.

                          > The Council of Elrond is an ad-hoc international conference, of the kind
                          > these
                          > guys mostly detest.

                          I think they would read the Council as Elrond and Gandalf telling everyone
                          what to do, and then those people do it. Don't bother to point out flaws in
                          that reading; we all know them; but I fancy that's the misreading you'd get.
                        • IcelofAngeln
                          ... I m not sure what Nazism has to do with monarchism, except in some folks vague sense that they re both right-wing ; the Gestapo had a special office to
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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                            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "David Bratman" <dbratman@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > <davise@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > The politics as well as the racism is off-base. The hobbits, with their
                            > > elected mayor, are certainly the
                            > > closest thing in Middle-Earth to a liberal democracy. The Entmoot also
                            > > seems to be carried out by
                            > > vote or by consensus.
                            >
                            >the neo-Nazis... probably can't tear their eyes away
                            > from the political spectacle of the destined and rightful monarch taking the
                            > crown.
                            >

                            I'm not sure what Nazism has to do with monarchism, except in some folks' vague sense that they're both "right-wing"; the Gestapo had a special office to monitor and control what they termed "reactionaries," and expressing monarchist ideas within earshot of the wrong people could put you in the camps- where in fact almost all the surviving German royal families wound up, if they hadn't left for exile.
                          • David Bratman
                            You don t have to be so literal. Hitler saw himself as a destined and rightful leader; he d have no trouble identifying with a similarly destined monarch in a
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jun 15, 2013
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                              You don't have to be so literal. Hitler saw himself as a destined and rightful leader; he'd have no trouble identifying with a similarly destined monarch in a fictional story.

                              The Nazis also liked Wagner's Ring. What characters would they have identified with in _that_?


                              -----Original Message-----
                              >From: IcelofAngeln <solicitr@...>
                              >Sent: Jun 15, 2013 6:23 AM
                              >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              >Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien and politics
                              >--- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "David Bratman" <dbratman@...> wrote:
                              >>
                              >>the neo-Nazis... probably can't tear their eyes away
                              >> from the political spectacle of the destined and rightful monarch taking the
                              >> crown.
                              >
                              >I'm not sure what Nazism has to do with monarchism, except in some folks' vague sense that they're both "right-wing"; the Gestapo had a special office to monitor and control what they termed "reactionaries," and expressing monarchist ideas within earshot of the wrong people could put you in the camps- where in fact almost all the surviving German royal families wound up, if they hadn't left for exile.
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