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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectoh, there's nothing accidental about it.
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=33408&mesg_id=33417
33417, oh, there's nothing accidental about it.
Posted by Mr. Wednesday, Sat Dec-17-05 07:16 AM
it's no accident when artists' prejudices pop up in their work.

was he completely aware of what he was doing with his art and the underlying racism? i'm not going to argue on Tolkien's behalf on this point because a) i don't know if he ever spoke on it, and b) it's an essentially indefensible position and one that i definitely do not share. i do know that he was consciously trying to create a new English mythology, was mostly conservative and even anti-modern. he probably would have thought that although it was specifically English (read: white English) his mythology did not degrade other races. mostly i think that due to his white privilege he was probably never forced to confront the racist implications of his work and thought.

i never claimed Tolkien was a great artist, just that LOTR is a great fucking story. i'm talking about what i consider "story" elements - plot, character, pacing, structure, the scope, completeness and detail of his imagination, escapism value, etc. this is completely subjective, but to me the story still stands on its own. of course, i'm white and i read LOTR for the first time when i was 12, so i fully acknowledge my bias.

i don't know what it means for artists to be "in complete control of their art and the direction it is going in." a) this is really impossible to determine in any objective way, and b) once an audience starts interpreting a piece of art, it's anybody's game.

one more thing i will add that i don't think has been mentioned yet: there is a case to be made that LOTR supports harmony between races as well as appreciation, even celebration, of difference. see the relationships between hobbits, "men", elves and dwarves, best exemplified in the friendship built between Gimli and Legolas. perhaps the closest analogy here is to harmony between different European cultures, but it's open to debate.

finally, refer to posts 26 and 27 if you haven't yet.

good discussion.