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A furor in Italy

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  • Michael Martinez
    Hello, I have been lurking for a while and hadn t really intended to do more than that, but something came to my attention. I ve been asked to help spread the
    Message 1 of 7 , May 11, 2001
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      Hello,

      I have been lurking for a while and hadn't really intended to do more
      than that, but something came to my attention. I've been asked to
      help spread the word, so I'm spreading it. I received an email this
      morning with a disturbing topic. An apparently well-known Italian
      journalist reporting from Cannes has associated Tolkien and The Lord
      of the Rings with Nazism. Her views are not universally shared. And
      though it may seem to some that Italian Tolkien fans could deal with
      this, for reasons not made clear to me, I was included in a
      distribution asking for general support from fans world wide.

      After giving the matter some thought, I posted the following to
      Xenite.Org's Middle-earth mailing list a short while ago. I'm
      reposting this to a number of mailing lists and forums I participate
      in or lurk on.


      Okay,

      I have read the email and I have looked at the Web sites and I have
      come to the realization that...I don't read Italian. I honestly have
      no idea of what to do about this. Is it worth generating a huge
      furor over? Maybe. I'm not sure that blasting Natalia Aspesi for
      calling Tolkien's book "A little bit Naziskin" is the answer.

      Her original article is posted here:

      http://www.repubblica.it/quotidiano/repubblica/20010511/spettacoli/60a
      spesi2.html

      Will flooding the Web with outrage garner a retraction? I have no
      idea. How big are these guys who have taken up Tolkien's cause? I
      have no idea.

      Still, much as I'm tempted to sit on the whole thing, I really don't
      have the right to decide for the rest of you whether to launch the
      ships of war or not. And maybe all the other big Tolkien fan sites
      have been contacted anyway.

      I tried to read a translation of the Aspesi article. Unfortunately,
      online translators don't do a very good job.


      From: "Robert Bernocchi" <r.bernocchi@...>
      Subject: The Lord of the Rings is a nazi book???
      Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 17:13:09 +0200

      Today (11/5/2001) the very important italian newspaper La Repubblica
      published an article from the Cannes Film Festival by big Italian
      journalist Natalia Aspesi who insulted: 1) the memory of J.R.R.
      Tolkien 2) his best literary work The Lord of the Rings 3) the huge
      mass of fans who, in each part of the Earth, love this book since its
      first edition in 1956.

      Writing about the LOTR Cannes Day Natalia Aspesi used these words:
      &this fantasy saga, A LITTLE BIT NAZISKIN, written by the English
      philologist J.R. Talkien (you read it right, she wrote J.R. Talkien,
      N.d.R.) whose book, for his celtic mythology passion, will be used in
      the formigonbossiane schools (Formigoni and Bossi are two
      conservative Italian politicians who want, especially Bossi, to
      separate Lombardia country from the rest of Italian nation. Bossi is
      a friend of Austrian politician filo-nazist Haider, N.d.R.) as basis
      text . We suppose that Natalia Aspesi didn t read the book. The
      article is full of other mistakes as Jan McKellen instead of Ian
      McKellen and wickednesses as describing Liv Tyler as fat and LOTR
      fans as a sort of maniac, psychopathic persons who will go crazy if
      the costumes of the movie won t be the same described in the three
      books. She attacks also the New Line budget strategy. Can you imagine
      anything more offensive?

      For now we are the only journalists who took position against Aspesi
      words on our LOTR Italian site
      (http://www.caltanet.it/frm/cinema/home.html?../../html_pag/spettacolo
      /cinema/eventi/signoreanelli_indice.htm) with an article of our
      director Francesco Alò. Aspesi is one of the biggest Italian
      journalist and La Repubblica is the second Italian newspaper for
      readers and sales.

      If you want to protest with us, please publish this mail and invite
      your readers to send their opinion at our dedicated e-mail address
      tolkien@.... We will collect all the letters and we ll write
      to La Repubblica . Please join us.

      Robert Bernocchi, web journalist
    • Michael Martinez
      ... more ... this ... Lord ... Tolkien Online has posted a translation at: http://www3.tolkienonline.com/docs/2565.html
      Message 2 of 7 , May 11, 2001
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        --- In mythsoc@y..., "Michael Martinez" <michael@x> wrote:
        > Hello,
        >
        > I have been lurking for a while and hadn't really intended to do
        more
        > than that, but something came to my attention. I've been asked to
        > help spread the word, so I'm spreading it. I received an email
        this
        > morning with a disturbing topic. An apparently well-known Italian
        > journalist reporting from Cannes has associated Tolkien and The
        Lord
        > of the Rings with Nazism.

        Tolkien Online has posted a translation at:
        http://www3.tolkienonline.com/docs/2565.html
      • David S. Bratman
        ... I m not fluent in Italian either, but by comparing the web translation and the original side-by-side I was able to make most of it out. (Which is what web
        Message 3 of 7 , May 11, 2001
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          At 01:26 PM 5/11/2001 , Michael Martinez wrote:

          >I have read the email and I have looked at the Web sites and I have
          >come to the realization that...I don't read Italian. I honestly have
          >no idea of what to do about this. Is it worth generating a huge
          >furor over? Maybe. I'm not sure that blasting Natalia Aspesi for
          >calling Tolkien's book "A little bit Naziskin" is the answer.

          I'm not fluent in Italian either, but by comparing the web translation and
          the original side-by-side I was able to make most of it out. (Which is
          what web translators are good for: cribs for languages you already have a
          vague knowledge of.) My reaction is that it's simply a rude little
          typo-ridden squib, nothing more. Your last sentence strikes me as reaching
          towards the best reaction.

          David Bratman
        • Michael Martinez
          ... Reactions have been mixed. I wrote my message several times before settling on what I finally posted here and elsewhere. When the brouhaha over a
          Message 4 of 7 , May 11, 2001
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            --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:>
            > I'm not fluent in Italian either, but by comparing the web
            > translation and the original side-by-side I was able to make most
            > of it out. (Which is what web translators are good for: cribs for
            > languages you already have a vague knowledge of.) My reaction is
            > that it's simply a rude little typo-ridden squib, nothing more.
            > Your last sentence strikes me as reaching towards the best reaction.

            Reactions have been mixed. I wrote my message several times before
            settling on what I finally posted here and elsewhere. When the
            brouhaha over a Hollywood Reporter columnist's calling us all Geeks,
            I felt that fans were overreacting. I've talked to a lot of media
            about Tolkien over the past year-and-a-half and they mostly think any
            Tolkien fans are a close-knit bunch of nut-cases.

            On the other hand, these guys were asking for help in spreading their
            message, nothing more. So I decided to share it and let people
            decide for themselves.

            I really have my hands full with other matters and don't want to get
            any further involved with this than I have, unless everyone in Italy
            starts talking about Tolkien's American skinhead fans. :)
          • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
            Going to the translation, it seems the reviewer has not only never read the books, she was snubbed and wasn t invited to the special showing by New Line. The
            Message 5 of 7 , May 11, 2001
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              Going to the translation, it seems the reviewer has not only
              never read the books, she was snubbed and wasn't invited to the
              special showing by New Line. The Horror of it, I must write
              something nasty! I will show those twits! All she did really is
              show how petty she is. She is less than clueless, if that is
              possible. Frankly, I think the editorial board of the newspaper
              should take her off from writing such a bit of drivel in her snit
              like fashion, but she probably used that newspapers favorite
              buzzwords in an article that says and means absolutely nothing in
              a fashion that they approve of, and so nothing will happen to
              her. Glad I don't have to depend on that newspaper for
              information.

              Mythically yours,

              Lisa

              Michael Martinez wrote:

              > --- In mythsoc@y..., "Michael Martinez" <michael@x> wrote:
              > > Hello,
              > >
              > > I have been lurking for a while and hadn't really intended to
              > do
              > more
              > > than that, but something came to my attention. I've been
              > asked to
              > > help spread the word, so I'm spreading it. I received an
              > email
              > this
              > > morning with a disturbing topic. An apparently well-known
              > Italian
              > > journalist reporting from Cannes has associated Tolkien and
              > The
              > Lord
              > > of the Rings with Nazism.
              >
              > Tolkien Online has posted a translation at:
              > http://www3.tolkienonline.com/docs/2565.html
              >
            • Stolzi@aol.com
              It looks to me like just light film gossip, with only a passing reference to the politics of Tolkien s work - would right-wing be too light-hearted a
              Message 6 of 7 , May 11, 2001
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                It looks to me like just light film gossip, with only a passing reference to
                the politics of Tolkien's work - would "right-wing" be too light-hearted a
                translation of "Naziskin?" I have no idea.

                Of course this is annoying, when you think of what Tolkien and his family had
                to suffer from the war aims of =real= Nazis, or of his reply to German
                publishers who wished to vet him for Aryanism.

                Anyway, when I read "elfi, orchi, maghi, principesse, nani e ovviamente
                Hobbit" I do get the strongest feeling that the plural =should= be "Hobbitti."

                Dolce far niente,
                Mary S
              • Steve Dufour
                I found out about this through theonering.net. I m thinking about responding. For one thing people need to know that Tolkien s message was about love and
                Message 7 of 7 , May 12, 2001
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                  I found out about this through theonering.net. I'm
                  thinking about responding. For one thing people need
                  to know that Tolkien's message was about love and
                  understnding between different peoples, the opposite
                  of racism. For another that most of his fans are
                  thoughtful, intelligent, well meaning people; and
                  mostly liberal too, at least on this issue. This same
                  thing will come up again and it's important that we be
                  civilized in our responses. For one thing it's not
                  going to do any good to tell a journalist he or she is
                  ignorant or dishonest, even if it's true. Thanks,
                  Steve Dufour

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