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Movie Tainting

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  • spark654@aol.com
    In a message dated 1/1/03 4:14:26 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Excuse me: You re the one going on and on about how the existence of the films is haunting your
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1 1:59 PM
      In a message dated 1/1/03 4:14:26 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      mythsoc@yahoogroups.com writes:

      > Oh, come on. Are you being deliberately obtuse? First, the "stuck in my
      > head" does not mean obsessing about the film, it means an inability to not
      > think about the film when reading the book, as I discuss later on in this
      > post, and discussed in an earlier one in this thread also.

      Excuse me: You're the one going on and on about how the existence of the
      films is haunting your mind, not me. You're the one who said it takes an
      iron will to ignore them, so please don't accuse me of being obtuse when I'm
      only taking you at your word. If the existence ofthese images that you
      dislike isn't bothering you so much, why are you going on and on about the
      way they make your life miserable? I mean, you DID say it's taken you
      decades to get the Bakshi images out of your head, correct? That sounds
      pretty obsessive to me.

      > Second, my initial post was about how being a Tolkien scholar FORCES me to
      > be a Jackson scholar also, _if_ I'm to comprehend and talk intelligibly
      > with people who know the film better, think it represents the book, or are
      > apt to confuse the two. This is the real world, Sparkdog: these people
      > exist, and I'm going to be talking to them. I'm talking right now to a
      > person in the first and possibly the second categories.

      Relax. This isn't life or death. I don't think I'm confusing the book and
      the movie, as I haven't read the book so I have only others' opinions to go
      on. I make no rock-solid assumptions about something I haven't read!

      Maybe you should look on me as a test case. If this is how you deal with
      others when trying to make points about the book, well...

      (clip)> >most adults learn to shut out things they deem
      > >unimportant. Not entirely, of course, but...well, Britney Spears is all
      > over
      > >the place, and I don't think of her when I am reading about a woman her
      > age.
      > Few adults learn to shut out things that are constantly blasted at
      > them. That's why I used the case of annoying catchy songs, a common
      > complaint out here in the real world - Dave Barry wrote an entire book
      > about the subject. And when something is central to your life, as Tolkien
      > is to mine, mutilations of it are going to be especially painful.

      Dave Barry's opinions are his, and I wouldn't call him an expert on anything.

      I couldn't more strongly disagree with your sentence that few adults learn to
      shut out things that are commonly blasted at them. I think it's a basic sign
      of BEING an adult, to let things slide off. I'm constantly being bombarded
      with people and ads telling me to buy a pager, get married, have kids, buy
      car A, B and/or C, etc. I ignore them, and don't think about them.

      More to your point, my work means I have to be exposed to what the majority
      of the public considers the models to base my owrk on--I'd bet most people
      here would agree with those models. I see them and do my own thing.

      Your work is about Tolkien's literature. In my limited exposure to his
      autobiographical and shorter works, all after seeing the first film, I've had
      no problem thinking about and imagining his characters according to his
      descriptions. I would venture that someone who has been reading Tolkien for
      years before the film came out would have established his/her own imagery,
      and Jackson's would be no great intrusion. I don't understand where you are
      going that you are constantly bombarded with photos and film of the work.
      > Not all young women are inaccurate film adaptations of Britney Spears, and
      > I beg leave to doubt how ubiquitous she is: I've heard of her, but though
      > I've probably heard her songs (on store muzak, which is the only place I
      > hear popular music these days) I've never _knowingly_ heard any, and I
      > wouldn't recognize her on the street. Possibly if I neither knew nor cared
      > about Tolkien I'd be equally oblivious to ads for Jackson's film, but as it
      > is they draw themselves to my eye without any desire on my part.

      Spears is a lot more visible than LOTR imagery.

      > > > The James Cain story you present in another post - "The book is still
      > on
      > > > the shelf" - is a tired old argument that completely and utterly misses
      > > the
      > > > point. Here's what I wrote about that in _Beyond Bree_:
      > >
      > >Just because you don't like it, that doesn't make it untrue. What he says
      > is
      > >absolutely true: the existence of a movie in no way affects the books
      > already
      > >out there.
      > It's still untrue, despite assertions to the contrary. That's why I
      > mentioned novelizations of the movie: they may be rare, but they do
      > happen. Their mere existence, however rare, falsifies the general truth of
      > Cain's argument.

      That's simply silly. I can't think of more than three such novelizations,
      while there have been literally THOUSANDS of literary adaptations without
      "fake" versions being written. How do three books falsify that argument,
      while thousands of books that remain in print after a film adaptation mean

      Then there are movie tie-in covers: maybe not a big deal,
      > but they most emphatically affect the books on the bookstore shelves. And
      > there are other ways to affect the books than physically. Onward:
      > >To be frank, the "novelization" boogeyman is the true "tired old
      > argument."
      > >I never read them, but those (mostly young) people who do read them are
      > being
      > >drawn to a book by a film. In the overwhleming majority of the cases, the
      > >novelization is new, not the replacement of a novel already in existence
      > >(though again, that has happened).
      > No, it's not a tired argument: it's a side point, but it's necessary to
      > make because it proves the general Cain argument to be untrue as a
      > universal. And these novelizations are dangerously misleading: I've seen
      > warning labels on bookstore shelves: "This is not the original novel!"

      Again, thousands vs. a few.

      > (clip--you repeat the points below)
      > 1. Novelizations (of films made from a novel) and film tie-in covers affect
      > the PHYSICAL book. They are a minor case, and don't affect it often: but
      > they prove the physical book CAN be affected.

      But in such a puny, insignificant way. So what if a picture of Ian McKellen
      is on the cover? Do you honestly think that a reader, seeing the
      description, imagines a different face, he/she will think "Nope, that's not
      how the cover says he looks"?

      > 2. Reading a book in the wake of the film affects one's PERCEPTION of the
      > book, and thus affects the MENTAL book, even if you're reading a copy that
      > existed before the film was conceived. And I don't want to hear any
      > arguments about how the film doesn't affect your perception: ANYTHING can
      > affect your perception of a book, most notably the age you read it at.

      I can see where you might have trouble convincing Tolkien neophytes of
      anything with this attitude: you don't want to hear an opposing argument, so
      I should be quiet?

      I'll take your point that ANYTHING can affect perceptions. Fine; so the old
      man I see on the street, the grass at my grandmother's home, the mood I'm in
      when opening a book, the music I'm playing, the look of furniture in my old
      home...all of these affect my interior world. When I read Tolkien's words,
      all of these and a million other things will color my mental picture of the

      Yet all are swept aside because of one movie? Says who--you? Maybe in your
      case, butplease don't presume to think for the rest of us. If you can't get
      images of a movie out of your head, that's your cross to bear. Just don't
      think the rest of us share your particular quirk, because we may not.

      > LOTR I read today is not the same book I read at age 12, even though the
      > text is unchanged. The LOTR first read by people raised on a diet of D&D
      > and Tolclones is not the same book as the LOTR first read by people who'd
      > never encountered anything like it before. (Jokes in which youngsters
      > claim Jackson's film to be a ripoff of earlier fantasy films are
      > legion.) These differences are so obvious as to be platitudes; only a >
      > epic, detailed, captivating film dramatization of a book is somehow claimed
      > to have no effect whatever on the mental state or image of the reader. You
      > told me I was "very odd" for finding that it does have an effect. That's
      > absurd.

      Please have the courtesy to not reduce my arguments to an oversimplification
      to fit what you want to say about them. You are claiming the adaptation has
      an overwhelming affect that in the earlier case took you a decade to erase.
      That's odd.

      > In the wise words of Alexei Kondratiev, "It is entirely possible that
      > readers who come to the book after the movie will be unable to imagine
      > those characters as looking like anything other than those actors, and that
      > this will eventually become a convention -- a built-in tradition in Tolkien
      > illustration, perhaps. The movie will definitely have restricted the
      > potential scope of a reader's spontaneous imaginative response to Tolkien's
      > words."

      That's his opinion, and yours. Fine. It sounds like something someone who
      has enormous contempt for the intellectual capacities of someone who doesn't
      share his personal quirks. To say such a thing "definitely" is beyond
      ridiculous, it assumes an ability to see into the brains of every single
      person who will read the books in the future.

      > >The original Wizard has so many scenes that were not translated to the
      > screen
      > >that it indeed has survived. How many times has one heard the phrase "The
      > >book was better than the movie"? Enough to convince me that, your own
      > >situation notwithstanding, most people have no trouble separating the two.
      > I've not heard that phrase very often at all about "The Wizard of Oz",
      > actually. Nor can I think of anything in the book alone that has the kind
      > of popular survival value of the movie's famous catch-phrases. The book is
      > buried beneath the film, and that despite the fact that it is a relatively
      > famous (in its own right) book that is relatively often-read. If it were
      > obscurer on its own than it is, but if there were no film, it would not be
      > buried this way.
      > Despite the ability of people to separately evaluate books and movies,
      > they, or at least many others, often confuse elements in them. Lastly, I
      > object to your referring to my own situation as confusing book and
      > movie. I said only that I might run that risk if I don't keep my
      > familiarity of the book up to speed. It was the web commentator I linked
      > to who actually confused them. I've seen many such confusions in the past,
      > and many more attempts to resurrect books from underneath better-known
      > films of them.
      > - David Bratman

      I just think you're taking this idea to an absurd length. The "book was
      better than the film" line was not meant in reference to OZ, and I apologize
      for causing cnofusion, because my point was that Oz was an exception, yet the
      book survives.

      But the remainer of that paragraph holds: Are you seriously trying to say
      that the phrase "it was better than the movie" is NOT the most common
      response upon seeing a filmed version of a book? Then I guess I see our
      problem in communicating over this: we definitely live in two different


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