A furor in Italy
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.
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:
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
/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
- --- In mythsoc@y..., "Michael Martinez" <michael@x> wrote:
> I have been lurking for a while and hadn't really intended to do
> than that, but something came to my attention. I've been asked tothis
> help spread the word, so I'm spreading it. I received an email
> morning with a disturbing topic. An apparently well-known ItalianLord
> journalist reporting from Cannes has associated Tolkien and The
> of the Rings with Nazism.Tolkien Online has posted a translation at:
- 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 haveI'm not fluent in Italian either, but by comparing the web translation and
>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.
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.
- --- In mythsoc@y..., "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@s...> wrote:>
> I'm not fluent in Italian either, but by comparing the webReactions have been mixed. I wrote my message several times before
> 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.
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. :)
- 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
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
> > 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
> > morning with a disturbing topic. An apparently well-known
> > journalist reporting from Cannes has associated Tolkien and
> > of the Rings with Nazism.
> Tolkien Online has posted a translation at:
- 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,
- 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,
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