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 A Columnist Insults Tolkien Fans
whiteladyeowyn
Posted: Jan 24 2009, 12:54 AM


Shieldmaiden of Rohan
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http://www.timeout.com/newyork/events/city...he-20th-century

The part about helping to create D&D and spawning things probably like Harry Potter is not insulting.

The part that ticks me off is saying that Tolkien helped to create "A new lower rung on the social ladder"
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maura labingi
Posted: Jan 24 2009, 03:10 AM


uke & flute-playin' fool
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Yes, that insulting remark must be based on jealousy, I think. Some of the most amazingly intelligent people I ever met were big D&D fans and/or players.
-Debbie/primmy
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Everon_Gamgee
Posted: Jan 24 2009, 05:20 PM


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Well, if this new "lower rung on the social ladder" refers to people who love literature for what is says and not how it looks on their coffee tables, count me in. If it involves folks who reach out a hand in friendship to those with diverse literary opinions rather than looking down their self-aggrandizing noses at them, I'm there. And if the one offering the rather trite and mundane criticism of the most widely sold authors of all time, is some puffed-up half-baked newspaper literary critic, I just consider the source. :green dragon:
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akasha
Posted: Jan 25 2009, 10:59 PM


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wonder if anyone showed up? would be cool to hear from a Tolkien fan what the professor at Georgetown really had to say and in what context.

akasha :grouphug:
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DaisyBaggins
Posted: Jan 25 2009, 11:57 PM


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Nicely said, Everon!
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Bramblerose
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 01:06 PM


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Reporters are suppose to be impartial does he sound impartial to you. But I have noticed a drop in integrity in the USA from Television to newspapers. So as Everon stated before just consider the source. I remember going to work after I had discovered Tolkien and telling one of my co-workers I had read the most wonderful book and when asked the name telling her LOTR and her looking at me like I was an alien and then in a patronizing voice saying well good for you. It is not only Tolkien it is the fantasy genre all together they assume that is literature for children. But we Tolkien fans know the magic ,the quality,the love and friendship,the journey that his books provide so I say to the Professor! :pen & paper: :tankard:
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DaisyBaggins
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 02:47 PM


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QUOTE (Bramblerose @ Jan 26 2009, 08:06 AM)
It is not only Tolkien it is the fantasy genre all together they assume that is literature for children.

Yes! You hit on something that I can totally relate to! Why is it that fantasy is so frowned upon by pseudo-intellectuals? I find it amazing how good fantasy/sci-fi authors are not only capable of telling a darn good yarn--which is great in itself--but are also able to create entire worlds around their story. I am doubly-awed by this feat!

Personally, I think that critics tend to be wary of anything that "appeals to the masses," believing that anything that does must, by definition, be crap. This is so crazy. You have to wonder what they think when they give a good review to a book and then the masses happen to like it. Does that make the book less good? Do they change their minds about it? Or do they pat themselves on the back, believing they've influenced a bunch of folks into knowing what the good stuff is?

It reminds me of Jane Austen, who, for the longest time, was thought of as a lightweight author of mediocre, if enduring, stories. Her novels were so appealling that, of course, we shouldn't consider them real lit. Ha!
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pattibaggins
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 06:18 PM


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The people who are most likely to sneer at fantasy in general and Tolkien in particular usually have not read the very works they call inferior. I quite like showing them the error in their thinking when the opportunity presents itself. When I got my MA in English, my thesis was on myth & archetypes in science fiction, another often-belittled field of writing. It was fun watching the faculty members scramble to re-assess their ideas as they worked their way through my arguments; and when it was over, the head of the English department told me it was one of the most literate defenses he had ever chaired in his tenure at the university. If only I had been confident enough at the time to have chosen Lord of the Rings as my topic!

Of course, many of the self-proclaimed experts used to look down on Beowulf as an unworthy bit of primitive poetry, too. But thanks to Tolkien and the people he influenced with his writing, most folks know better nowadays. We should feel sorry for the poor uninformed critics, I suppose. Being an elitist snob can't be much fun! But one day, if they're lucky, they'll get over themselves and learn what they've been denying themselves.

Patti
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DaisyBaggins
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 08:46 PM


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Bravo, Patti! That's fantastic!
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dora_took
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 11:07 PM


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Patti, I had similar trouble at my college. As an english major Ihad to take a number of courses in American lit and English lit. At no time would any of my professors allow me to do any of my papers on any fantasy or SF author! they couldn't really give me an explanation, other than a sneer about it not being 'real literature' (which is part of why I so love all the times LotR is listed as Best Literature of...). Yet, one time I think I might have been allowed to write a paper on Italo Calvino's book of Italian Folktales(which I couldn't get hold of). that was ok - but not even a Hugo or Nebula winning author... nope, not real literature. :blink: Only my children's lit teacher (who sometimes taught a course on Tolkien) didn't have a problem, but that was 'children's' literature, not 'real' 'adult' literature.

Kudos to you, Patti, for getting through the blockheads!!

-Dora Took :hobbit lass: :sewing:
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maura labingi
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 11:27 PM


uke & flute-playin' fool
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QUOTE (Everon_Gamgee @ Jan 24 2009, 09:20 AM)
Well, if this new "lower rung on the social ladder" refers to people who love literature for what is says and not how it looks on their coffee tables, count me in. If it involves folks who reach out a hand in friendship to those with diverse literary opinions rather than looking down their self-aggrandizing noses at them, I'm there. And if the one offering the rather trite and mundane criticism of the most widely sold authors of all time, is some puffed-up half-baked newspaper literary critic, I just consider the source. :green dragon:

I agree with Daisy, Everon! Well said!
-Debbie/primmy
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maura labingi
Posted: Jan 26 2009, 11:34 PM


uke & flute-playin' fool
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QUOTE (dora_took @ Jan 26 2009, 03:07 PM)
Patti, I had similar trouble at my college. As an english major Ihad to take a number of courses in American lit and English lit. At no time would any of my professors allow me to do any of my papers on any fantasy or SF author! they couldn't really give me an explanation, other than a sneer about it not being 'real literature' (which is part of why I so love all the times LotR is listed as Best Literature of...). Yet, one time I think I might have been allowed to write a paper on Italo Calvino's book of Italian Folktales(which I couldn't get hold of). that was ok - but not even a Hugo or Nebula winning author... nope, not real literature. :blink: Only my children's lit teacher (who sometimes taught a course on Tolkien) didn't have a problem, but that was 'children's' literature, not 'real' 'adult' literature.

Kudos to you, Patti, for getting through the blockheads!!

-Dora Took :hobbit lass: :sewing:

Yes, Dora, I agree that its not only wonderful to see Tolkien's works not only listed among the most popular literature of the 20th century, its even more gratifying that it is now generally recognized that "LOTR" and his other works are worthy of scholarly study, and that there are now so many scholarly works examining the many facets and layers, structure, languages, and characters of his stories. (And it shows what good taste us fans have!)
-Debbie/primmy
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Melilot Fields from Deephallow
Posted: Jan 31 2009, 03:38 PM


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QUOTE (akasha @ Jan 25 2009, 05:59 PM)
wonder if anyone showed up? would be cool to hear from a Tolkien fan what the professor at Georgetown really had to say and in what context.

akasha :grouphug:

I would imagine the event was well-attended, and Prof. Solti's presentation fantastic! I watched a DVD series he taught on Western Art for The Teaching Company ("The Great Courses--Teaching that Engages the Mind" -- basically, college courses on DVD) and his work there was very good -- thoughtful, careful to present both sides objectively, and very detailed. While the course was about Western Art, he spent a lot of time explaining the derivations of various words used in the arena of Fine Art, which at the time made me wonder if he was a secret philologist. And now to hear that he is giving a lecture on Tolkien... well, he probably is. ;-)

I wish I could have seen it.

Re: News media sensibilities -- It seems these days that many journalists feel they must prove themselves very clever; unfortunately the technique used to prove such is ridiculing whatever subject matter is assigned. This is obvious in any media, whether print or electronic. I see it most in print media, but then that's what I read most. What little electronic media I've seen trends toward being even worse. And they wonder why news circulation is dropping.......

Wonder if this is why I prefer fantastical literature............?

:book:
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maura labingi
Posted: Jan 31 2009, 05:12 PM


uke & flute-playin' fool
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Hi Meli,
I bet you are right about the lecture being well-attended. The various talks/seminars I've been to in my area by other Tolkien scholars are always packed. Perhaps Prof. Solti will include his Tolkien material in a The Teaching Company DVD series sometime in the future, so we can all hear what he has to say. I like the idea that Prof. Solti might be attracted to Tolkien because he is a philologist, too!
-Debbie/primmy
:pen & paper:
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