Questions for the Lore Masters.

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Post by halfwise Tue Jun 29, 2021 9:08 pm

I think it was mentioned somewhere in the Hobbit that orcs liked fire crackers.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Jul 03, 2021 2:19 pm

{{ any Lore Masters attending this years Tolkien society Semminar?- did you not go before Halfy?

Because if you are could you do me a favour and every speaker you see, give them a damn good slap and stop them being so bloody stupid? Please.

Apparently this years discussions include -

Day 1

Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings
The Problem of Pain: Portraying Physical Disability in the Fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien
“The Burnt Hand Teaches Most About Fire”: Applying Traumatic Stress and Ecological Frameworks to Narratives of Displacement and Resettlement Across Cultures in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
The Invisible Other: Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack’
Projecting Indian Myths, Culture and History onto Tolkien’s Worlds
The Lossoth: Indigeneity, Identity, and Antiracism
The Problematic Perimeters of Elrond Half-elven and Ronald English-Catholic
Hearkening to the Other: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth

Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
Desire of the Ring: An Indian Academic’s Adventures in her Quest for the Perilous Realm
Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
Hidden Visions: Iconographies of Alterity in Soviet Bloc Illustrations for The Lord of the Rings
Questions of Caste in The Lord of the Rings and its Multiple Chinese Translations
Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fanfiction and Representation within the Tolkien Fan Community
“Something Mighty Queer”: Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien
Translation as a means of representation and diversity in Tolkien’s scholarship and fandom
CLOSING COMMENTS

If at closing comments you could just requests all the speakers stand in a long handy row you can just go along it like Theoden in the film before the charge of the Rohan and slap some sense back into them all one by one. Nod }}

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Post by halfwise Tue Jul 06, 2021 4:51 am

What the hell? It's not a huge conference, so what you listed strikes me as being a sizeable fraction of the talks.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:36 pm

{{ From what I could tell Halfy thats all the talks! I dont find it encouraging if thats the direction of travel of thought in the Tolkien world, or for Amazons upcoming seriers not being a woke fest more concerned with addressing and picking sides in todays social and moral wars than it is in representing Tolkien or telling a good story.
Ive had to suffer through this sort of political/social  messaging being delivered with all the nuance and subtley of a brick to the teeth completely ruining Star Trek, Star Wars and Doctor Who for me, it will be a huge shame if they do same to Tolkiens legacy and works too.  Mad }}

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Jul 06, 2021 1:43 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{ any Lore Masters attending this years Tolkien society Semminar?- did you not go before Halfy?

Because if you are could you do me a favour and every speaker you see, give them a damn good slap and stop them being so bloody stupid? Please.

Apparently this years discussions include -

Day 1

Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings
The Problem of Pain: Portraying Physical Disability in the Fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien
“The Burnt Hand Teaches Most About Fire”: Applying Traumatic Stress and Ecological Frameworks to Narratives of Displacement and Resettlement Across Cultures in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
The Invisible Other: Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack’
Projecting Indian Myths, Culture and History onto Tolkien’s Worlds
The Lossoth: Indigeneity, Identity, and Antiracism
The Problematic Perimeters of Elrond Half-elven and Ronald English-Catholic
Hearkening to the Other: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth

Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
Desire of the Ring: An Indian Academic’s Adventures in her Quest for the Perilous Realm
Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
Hidden Visions: Iconographies of Alterity in Soviet Bloc Illustrations for The Lord of the Rings
Questions of Caste in The Lord of the Rings and its Multiple Chinese Translations
Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fanfiction and Representation within the Tolkien Fan Community
“Something Mighty Queer”: Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien
Translation as a means of representation and diversity in Tolkien’s scholarship and fandom
CLOSING COMMENTS

If at closing comments you could just requests all the speakers stand in a long handy row you can just go along it like Theoden in the film before the charge of the Rohan and slap some sense back into them all one by one. Nod }}


This is fucking embarrassing to humanity, let alone Tolkien. 'Gondor in transition'? is this a piss take or what? This really is 2021 and I hope this nonsense doesn't get any worse. Otherwise Woke is going to destroy Western civilisation, culture and art.
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Post by halfwise Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:29 pm

Eldy is best positioned to comment on this, see if she pops in.

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Post by halfwise Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:32 pm

It IS all the papers by intention, this is a one off. Here's what the introduction says:


While interest in the topic of diversity has steadily grown within Tolkien research, it is now receiving more critical attention than ever before. Spurred by recent interpretations of Tolkien’s creations and the cast list of the upcoming Amazon show The Lord of the Rings, it is crucial we discuss the theme of diversity in relation to Tolkien. How do adaptations of Tolkien’s works (from film and art to music) open a discourse on diversity within Tolkien’s works and his place within modern society? Beyond his secondary-world, diversity further encompasses Tolkien’s readership and how his texts exist within the primary world. Who is reading Tolkien? How is he understood around the globe? How may these new readings enrich current perspectives on Tolkien?

Representation is now more important than ever and Tolkien’s efforts to represent (or ignore) particular characteristics requires further examination. Additionally, how a character’s identity shapes and influences its place within Tolkien’s secondary-world still requires greater attention. This seminar aims to explore the many possible applications of “diversity” within Tolkien’s works, his adaptations, and his readership.

Papers may consider, but are not limited to:

Representation in Tolkien’s works (race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, religion, age etc.)
Tolkien’s approach to colonialism and post-colonialism
Adaptations of Tolkien’s works
Diversity and representation in Tolkien academia and readership
Identity within Tolkien’s works
Alterity in Tolkien’s works

I doubt they will do this again, but felt they should do it at least once.

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Jul 06, 2021 4:08 pm

Fuck 'diversity' in Tolkien. People moaning about no Black dwarves or gay Elves, FFS!

(I mean no disrespect to diverse people btw)
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Post by David H Wed Jul 07, 2021 3:00 pm

To put this in historical context, remember that Tolkien's popularity exploded within 1970's counter-culture largely because of pipes and pipe-weed. Rolling Eyes

Every generation seems to be able to reinterpret Middle Earth and make it their own, and that's why the books have never gone out of print. How is that a bad thing? Shrugging

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Jul 07, 2021 3:08 pm

{{ Ive got no beef with folk who find something on a personal level which they feel relates to them and their lives, thats Tolkiens applicability. That can be enviomentalism, war, friendship, love, even dope smoking, anything in fact. My issue with current wokeness is that it does not let the freedom reside in the mind of the reader/viewer, it puts in a clear and delibrate meaning then tells you what it is and that you have to agree with it.
You can read what you like into Tolkien, or any work for that matter, thats what makes reading so personal and intimate, but you cant impose it on Tolkien just because you want it to be there or to reflect exactly your own beliefs.
Its one thing for example to look at the history of Numenor and see commentary on empire, slavery, greed and power, but its another to explicitly make it a reflection of real world empire and only that and to make that the main point and thrust of the narrative. Its trying to make history, real or feigned, agree with personal current reality. At the expense of everything else.
The strength of Tolkien is in creating a detailed subworld that can be aplicable to anyone and everyone. The weakness of current media is its a detailed belief system shoehorned onto things with no room for applicability or freedom of choice. Current trends are the exact opposite of what Tolkien created.}}

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Jul 07, 2021 4:26 pm

I agree Petty, the beauty of Tolkien is being able to see your own emotional journey through the stories. It can also be hi-jacked by reactionary forces. In Italy in the 70s Tolkien was taken up by neo fascists called 'CasaPound' they twisted it to their twisted ideology. Therefore there are limits, and shoehorning the BLM or LGBTQ political issues of 2021 is pretty disingenuous and dangerous way to teach literature. Petty mentioned broad themes within Tolkien, like love, war, friendship, the little guy winning over power etc etc, but that doesn't give people licence to co-opt Tolkien for their own woke agenda. It would take some serious retro fitting to find any references to todays issues around gender, race or trans rights ie the current fashion for inclusion at any cost at the expense of a hugely large representation of a white Northern European culture with Mediaeval values of chivalry and codes of honour. Its like they are saying this story is not good enough, they are saying that it lacks other minority voices, it is therefore 'racist, sexist, transphobic etc etc.. I object to that mindset. Tolkien is NOT racist, sexist, transphobic, islamophobic, homophobic, or any other phobic. Leave it alone please.

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Post by halfwise Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:17 pm

I doubt you will see the Tolkien Society criticizing or trying to rewrite Tolkien.  I think this thread is getting too reactionary it's own self.   I predict the Tolkien Society will do it's thing, say "been there, done that, watched it fizzle" and largely be done with it.

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Jul 07, 2021 6:49 pm

reactionary? ok fair enough I wont discuss this topic here any more.
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Post by malickfan Wed Jul 07, 2021 10:37 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:Its like they are saying this story is not good enough, they are saying that it lacks other minority voices, it is therefore 'racist, sexist, transphobic etc etc.. I object to that mindset. Tolkien is NOT racist, sexist, transphobic, islamophobic, homophobic, or any other phobic. Leave it alone please.


I.m.o every reader is of course entitled to read Tolkien's works through their own individual viewpoints, and looking at his writings from a more modern/under-explored context could prove an interesting experience every time I re-reader LOTR I notice new things...that said Tolkien was a 19th century devoutly religous Oxford scholar his writing shouldn't be expected to reflect modern attitudes or culture (e.g. regarding the representation of minority groups-Homosexuality was decriminalised in england in 1967, the total non-white european population of the uk in the 1940's has been estimated at 20-50,000) , readers should remember the authors's own viewpoints/history when reading a book through their own 21st century perspective.

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Post by David H Wed Jul 07, 2021 11:25 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:This really is 2021 and I hope this nonsense doesn't get any worse. Otherwise Woke is going to destroy Western civilisation, culture and art.

OK I want to make it clear that I'm not challenging this statement Mrs Figg, but I really need a definition for "Woke" in this context. The only person I hear this word from around my community is a crusty old guy uses it mostly as an attack on having women in the workplace. He'd be happy to explain to you how our economy went to hell when women started leaving the home and having careers (other than nurses and elementary school teachers of course Rolling Eyes ) {{{I suspect he was following QAnon for a while....}}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Jul 07, 2021 11:38 pm

{{ Dunno about Figg but I'd define it as a movement which strives to force particular social and political messages to the forefront across media. The messages being promoted always have primacy and this will be at the expense of everything else, in film and tv usually narrative, character and story, as everything that happens every character that exists, all anyone says only has the one primary role to serve of furthering the messaging. It also serves to rewrite and undermine existing media which it perceives as 'problimatic'- see SW, ST, Doctor Who all for examples of where the messaging and primacy of the messaging has destroyed what was originally good about those things in the first place. But the destruction of such things is still seen as a win for those promoting the messaging as what was important was not that the show was good, well written and serving its fanbase, but that it was 'corrected' to tell the right approved messaging. And that the old orignal version of it was demonstrated to be 'bad' and needed reclaimed by the new messaging.
Its second characteristic is anyone who disagrees with any of the messages, or who feels the messages are coming at the expense of other more important things are shamed into silence through group bullying and attacks, and by name calling as applicable- racist, homophobic, msyoginsitc, ani-trans whatever it might be. In extreme cases pressure from this public shaming of alternate ideas can and has led to loss of jobs and careers. }}

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Post by Mrs Figg Thu Jul 08, 2021 12:08 am

The problem with the term 'woke' Dave is that it has been hi-jacked by the extreme right to attack anything slightly liberal. Having said that, I am a socially liberal person but even I am losing patience with the so called woke agenda, normally on Twitter, of a small but vocal minority who tries their best to shut down any debate, and cancel anything that doesn't fit their narrow agenda. In the UK there is now a cultural war between what is seen as the 'woke brigade' and the right wing. Bit its a phoney war with rational debate the loser. A bit sweary and shouty but Pie explains it better than me.

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Post by halfwise Thu Jul 08, 2021 1:03 am

I think you said it quite perfectly, Figgy.

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Post by David H Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:34 am

I agree with Halfy that your explanation is clearer, Mrs Figg. "Hi-jacked" by the conservative press and social media would explain most of what I think I've seen of the word. That's enough of a reason to steer clear of it for me. Better discussions if you don't start off with partisan language.

Regarding the Pie rant, I had a picture book of Dumbo when I was little and I loved the story, but when I finally bought the film years later to share it with some kids who I thought would love it too, I just couldn't show it to them. The crows doing their parody of a Vaudeville Blackface routine was just WRONG even 40 years ago. It's still a great work of old school animation, and some of its messages are still very relevant (which is why I bought it,) but in other ways it hasn't aged well.

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Post by halfwise Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:20 am

Had to go back and look that one up. On the fence: that song is done so well and with obvious appreciation of the art form, though the art form itself is fraught. Either the crows are being cast as a caricature of black culture (though with appreciation for it), or they are representing the blackface caricature of black culture - which of course is inauthentic at its heart.

I think it would be appropriate for kids 7 and under who are completely innocent of cultural currents and hence able to appreciate the performance as it is, but problematic for older kids who can see what is going on.

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Post by David H Thu Jul 08, 2021 3:34 pm

I think that's pure Al Jolson minstrel show stuff. Al Jolson would have been at the peak of his career when Dumbo was being made, and I'd have to guess the writers and performers of the crows were all coming from the blackface tradition. That doesn't mean it's not good music or great animation, it's just complicated to explain to kids.

Here's Al:


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Post by Mrs Figg Thu Jul 08, 2021 4:04 pm

As regards Dumbo and books that were written 100 years ago, they may be uncomfortable reading nowadays but I would defy anyone the right to 'cancel' them. For example there is a classic Hollywood film The Dambusters based on real events and real people. One of the Dambusters had a black dog called N*****, now it was a real dog and its name was that. Its an uncomfortable watch but I wouldnt want it censored no matter how much people howl that its racist. It wasnt racist when he called his dog N, he didn't mean it to be racist 80 years ago therefore context is everything and should not be whitewashed or blackwashed to suit.
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Post by halfwise Thu Jul 08, 2021 4:05 pm

But what Al Jolson is doing doesn't capture the same spirit that real African American performers have from the time.  Here's a compilation - Al Jolson simply can't compare.  The Crows are doing an authentic rendition, not Al Jolson. I'm a bit uncomfortable making black crows into black people, but I'm not uncomfortable with the musical rendition.


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Post by David H Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:23 pm

The dog named N**** reminds me of the neighbor who uses "woke" i mentioned. He's got a black dog named Sambo. Another neighbor nearby who the dog visits regularly has mixed race grandchildren and they just call the dog Sam. There's nothing else to do {{short of shooting the dog or shooting the neighbor}}. It's all complicated in real life, but people seem to be able to navigate it.  It's social media that concerns me more.  People don't seem to be navigating the complexities, just calling each other names.

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Post by David H Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:46 pm

Halfy, I think you and I both respect the music, and I even think there's a good case to be made that Jolson played an important part in bringing the music to a much larger audience, but it sounds like you might have made a different call than I did about sharing it with kids (not that I necessarily wouldn't in different circumstances, but I'd feel like I had to give a lecture with it to put it in context, and that would have spoiled some of the magic of the film I wanted to share.)
Anyway it's complicated, at least for me.

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