Questions for the Lore Masters.

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Post by Mrs Figg Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:37 pm

David H wrote: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.

It certainly is complex and tricky to navigate, and what I think I am saying is that trying to cancel or censor things is one end of a slippy slope because where do you stop once you start to censor things, it could snowball out of control. Say for example you show the kids Dumbo, maybe a few kids won't notice anything wrong and just take it at face value, just a couple of black birds singing a song, maybe one kid will question something and ask if this is ok, maybe another will be offended and tell you he/she is not cool with it, but its important for the kid to decide whether to watch it, not the adults. The kid needs to grow up questioning things and having choices, difficult things from the past are important lessons to learn imo, to learn how much things have changed yo need to know how bad they used to be.
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Post by David H Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:06 pm

I agree that censorship is a very slippery slope, but I'm still unclear on what "cancel" means these days. The definition seems to be changing faster than I can keep up!
And even within censorship, there are certain things that most people agree shouldn't be out there: child porn, how-to videos on terrorism/murder/rape/suicide, etc.
Then the question becomes, is it up to the State to restrict these things, the media platform, or the individual?
And what about an individual bookshop? Are they required to buy and sell material that they find personally abhorrent and disgusting in the name of other people's free speech? Would such a requirement conflict with their own free speech?
These are the sorts of questions that keep supreme court justices up at night! study Nod

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Post by Mrs Figg Fri Jul 09, 2021 1:03 pm

I agree with you obviously about the defined definitions of harmful content, our common moral codes prohibit overtly violent/sexual/deviant content being available for vulnerable minds to be corrupted, but at the moment I think its swung too far down the micro-offence road, especially on social media, where every last word is analysed and held up as 'racist' or whatever. innocent peoples lives have been ruined. If J K Rowling dares to challenge the 'new normal' because she is a gender critical feminist then immediately a swarm of hate-filled and derogatory Tweets are sure to follow, with a vocal minority 'offended' and on the attack, which is bullying and very aggressive. If I was in the public eye I would never use social media, its a nest of vipers. Its just asking to be abused. If I was Rowling I would delete all my accounts, stop making comments, and just get on with writing books. Some would say that she would have been 'cancelled' in that instance, her voice cancelled, but i think they tried to cancel her on social media, and failed, but she did feel the need to defend herself and explain and apologise, but why put yourself in that position? its bonkers.
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Post by David H Fri Jul 09, 2021 4:24 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:If I was in the public eye I would never use social media, its a nest of vipers. Its just asking to be abused.

I couldn't agree more! I'd never want to be in the public eye in the first place, and I've learned to avoid social media almost entirely. It seems to bring out the dark side in people, including neighbors, friends and family members that I genuinely like and admire in person.
As for celebrities such as JK Rowling who've chosen to speak out on political and social issues and suffered for it, if that's cancel culture it's a very old story! I'm thinking of people like Charlie Chaplin and all the other actors and musicians blacklisted as communist sympathizers during the McCarthy witchhunts. And of course John Lennon was an extreme case of cancel culture, wasn't he? pale

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Post by Orwell Mon Jul 12, 2021 4:37 am

John Lennon got seriously cancelled. All jokes aside, it’s one of the saddest days I can remember.

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Post by Mrs Figg Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:01 pm

yep No
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Post by Eldy Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:09 pm

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

Twisted Evil

Pettytyrant101 wrote: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

The Tolkien Society Seminar picks a different Tolkien-related theme every year. This particular installment is for papers touching on concepts relating to "diversity" (broadly defined); there have been a wide variety of other themes since they started in the 1980s. There's no reason to think the seminar will consistently dwell on this topic in the years to come.

https://www.tolkiensociety.org/society/events/seminar/

Pettytyrant101 wrote: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.

Well then, considering that the call for papers refers to Tolkien's concept of applicability, as do at least two of the individual abstracts, I'm not really clear what your objection is. Smile

Mrs Figg wrote: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.

The abstract for "Gondor in Transition" (link) is pretty vague. Since I didn't watch any of the presentations, I'm unsure how "Denethor, Finduilas of Dol Amroth, the Ruling Stewardship of Gondor as a concept, and the trajectory and timeline of Gondor’s development" relate to "the presence and function of transgender realities within Tolkien’s work." That said, I've read some seemingly out there papers about Tolkien that ended up raising insightful points, so I'm not willing to dismiss out of hand something I know almost nothing about. A different paper refers to "cishetero amatonormativity," which perhaps sets off alarm bells because of the stereotypes associated with people who use such terms, but I think the basic observation that Tolkien's works include non-normative (to 21st century understandings, at least) depictions of relationships, families, and gender presentation (eg, bearded Dwarvish women) should be uncontroversial. I'm sure not everyone would agree with the conclusions drawn by this presenter—not that I know for sure what those are—but scholarship would be a pretty boring thing if people weren't allowed to propose non-traditional interpretations.

I have a hard time understanding why many of the other listed abstracts would be bothersome, other than knee-jerk reactions to people mentioning "woke" topics. For example, disability simply is a theme that comes up in Tolkien's works, and I see nothing wrong with examining it closely. The Lossoth are self-evidently based on indigenous Arctic peoples; again, what is the problem with talking about this in some degree of depth? There was a presentation about how LGBTQ people of varying religious backgrounds relate to Tolkien's works and literary interpretations thereof, which is a perfectly legitimate line of scholarly inquiry only somewhat related to the question of Tolkien's own creative goals. The same can be said of the paper about varying perspectives on representation within the Tolkien fanfiction community, or the papers about Eastern European illustrators and Chinese translators of LOTR. A couple presentation titles include the word "queer," and maybe that gives some people hives, but if you read the abstracts, one of those papers is about parallels between The Silmarillion and archetypes in Primary World mythologies, with an eye towards the relationship between mythic archetypes and human psychological needs. I didn't read/watch this one either, but it sounds like pretty classic Joseph Campbell stuff to me (and well-trod ground for Tolkien studies as a field). I don't see a problem in analyzing Tolkien's invented mythology through a lens we use to look at other mythologies. If anything, that indicates respect for Tolkien's accomplishments and a belief that he succeeded in one of his most important creative goals.

David H wrote:I agree that censorship is a very slippery slope, but I'm still unclear on what "cancel" means these days. The definition seems to be changing faster than I can keep up!

It's most commonly a word people use to complain about being criticized and/or others not wanting to associate with them after they express views said others find distasteful. It can refer to more serious actions, but its meaning has been hopelessly diluted through overuse.

This is not in any way meant to excuse online harassment, but that's something endemic to Twitter and various other platforms. It's routinely sparked by controversial statements made by people all over the political spectrum, as well as non-political speech. Harassment is reprehensible, and an unpleasant commentary on group psychology, but if it was grounds to dismiss any group that includes harassers, it would mean dismissing every group whose members have opinions about anything that can spark disagreement.
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Post by halfwise Tue Jul 13, 2021 12:06 am

If they get through the entire topical conference without mentioning the relationship between Frodo and Sam, I think they'll have fairly earned a stinking medal, and pulled the plugs on many of the alarm bells.

When I attended the Tolkien Society, I didn't see tinderbox woke types. I saw people that may put "cishetero amatonormativity" in their abstract with a twinkle in their eye just to see who might come rustling out of the bushes. Seems like plenty from all the sturm et drang going on. In fact I'm thinking they may have put the whole conference together with a twinkle in the eye, but addressing serious scholarship.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Jul 13, 2021 11:05 am

This particular installment is for papers touching on concepts relating to "diversity" (broadly defined); there have been a wide variety of other themes since they started in the 1980s. There's no reason to think the seminar will consistently dwell on this topic in the years to come.- Eldy

{{ Problem here I feel is that nothing exists in a vacuum and they are having this choice of discussion at what is a frought time for these very topics in broader society. My fear therefore is for the 'broader travel of thought' that the choice of these particular topics are part of themselves, and that it will therefore feed into other areas of Tolkien. Both in accusations and accolades falsely attributed to Tolkien, or in how his work is treated when adapted for other medium.
The upcoming Amazon series will be a indicator of the direction of travel and how far it has permeated.

'that the call for papers refers to Tolkien's concept of applicability, as do at least two of the individual abstracts, I'm not really clear what your objection is.'

Its sort of an empty topic it seems to me. Applicability recides solely in the reader. It is neither put there by the auther nor could he possibly have any prior knowledge of what it is from your own life which will resonate or how any individual will respond. So turn the quiestion backwards on the author seems a pointless endeavour. It will either judge him by present standards as many already have as being racist and anti-semetic, and with the ability to look at Tolkiens own words in Letters and interviews that support such a viewpoint, or he can praised for how progressive he was on women and how pro-jewish he was, and support that too with Letters and interviews. And neither matters because applicability is brought solely by the reader to the table, not the author.
So to use applicability as an excuse for a subject like 'Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack’'
doesnt make sense. Tolkien wasnt writing about dwarf women and wrote about women in a very specific fashion and type. But he wrote Aragorn in a very specific fashion and type too. He wasnt interested in the question of the femnine lack, he was interested in the languages and the events that shaped them and the notion of sub-creation combined with a love of old tales and sagas.
The person who is giving the speech on this topic is bringing the idea of their being a femine lack to the table because that is their applicability to the text, thats what has resounded and stood out for them. But its all on their side. Tolkien has nothing to do with it.
He never intended it to be read that way, nor did he set out to write a story in which women played powerful but often offpage roles, and were often still not fully independent by modern standards.
By the standards of his own time he probably thought he was writing strong women, and that for them to have as many freedoms and liberites of even a woman of his own time would not fit the setting or time period or the old sagas he wished to evoke.
All this gender stuff, that comes from the fact what he wrote is applicable.
But the worry that it will be used as a reason to beat the auther, to blame them for such a perceived lack, to damage reputation, and in the worst cases of what 'cancel culture' is to blacklist I feel can be very real when applicability is mistaken for author intent. }}


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 13, 2021 3:00 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Jul 13, 2021 12:28 pm

"The person who is giving the speech on this topic is bringing the idea of their being a feminine lack to the table because that is their applicability to the text, that's what has resounded and stood out for them. But its all on their side. Tolkien has nothing to do with it.
He never intended it to be read that way, nor did he set out to write a story in which women played powerful but often offpage roles, and were often still not fully independent by modern standards.
"By the standards of his own time he probably thought he was writing strong women, and that for them to have as many freedoms and liberites of even a woman of his own time would not fit the setting or time period or the old sagas he wished to evoke.
" Petty.

I agree with your points Petty, and I would add that Aowyn was not only strong by the standards of his time it would have been strong by the standards of 'Mediaeval' times in the real world. Women never fought in battle, ever, unless she was Joan of Arc, dressed as a man, or a female camp follower who nursed and fed the soldiers. (There have been real world historical cases where women went to sign up as soldiers and were only discovered when they were injured.)
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