I hope you will write to her, Susan, and attempt to correct some of her
misapprehensions about Tolkien. It would command more attention coming
from you: an academic and a humanities person rather than a "techie", and a
woman. (One of Turkle's misapprehensions is that LotR is unattractive to
women. Her reason is that there are no female protagonists, an example of
the attitude of "I can't like a book unless the protagonist is just like
me" that I was decrying in an earlier post. Turkle seems also say that
there is no typically female thinking in LotR, which is completely wrong:
Frodo and Sam are peaceful, not warriors, and fight only by necessity;
Aragorn is a healer as much as a warrior; and I've heard fans of Mighty
Barbarian Heroes complain about LotR for being full of wussies instead of
LotR can be read as a fantasy adventure game, but not without squeezing the
life and all the point out of it. It's no more accurate to blame Tolkien
for this attitude, which he expressly disavowed, than it is to blame
Heinlein and the Beatles for Charles Manson.
If you have Le Guin's critical books handy, a few quotes would go down
well. This one, which I have handy from a post I made recently to another
list, isn't directly addressed at Turkle's point but is useful anyway:
"I shall never cease to wonder at the critics who find Tolkien a 'simple'
writer. What marvelously simple minds they must have!" - Ursula K. Le
Guin, "Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown"
Feel free to borrow any or all of the above points. I don't want to write
myself: I'd just be taken as one of a chorus of male (presumed)
computeroids. I looked up her academic e-mail address anyway: it's
At 07:41 AM 3/7/2002 , Susan wrote:
>Yes, very awful. "The black and white world of fantasy." Grrrr! Have you
>READ any, Ms. Turkle?
>What would she make of Gollum, one wonders?