Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tolkien studied

Found in some of those journal articles I was perusing yesterday:

Gay landsmanship argument no. 1: When Sam finds Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, Frodo has been stripped naked by his captors. Nudity = sex, therefore Sam and Frodo are gay.

Gay landsmanship argument no. 2: W.H. Auden was wildly enthusiastic for The Lord of the Rings. Auden was gay, therefore - since he liked it so much - The Lord of the Rings must also be gay.

Gay landsmanship conclusion: Tolkien may have been married for decades to a woman and had four biological children, but either 1) he was gay; 2) he was subconsciously gay; 3) since he was writing a mythology for England, he realized that England was gay.

Moooviefan argument: Tolkien's dialogue is stiff, wordy, and antiquated. It's boring for Eowyn to say "But no living man am I," but when J-Eowyn says "I am no man!" instead, that's hot stuff, and the audience cheered because Jackson's dialogue is so much better, not because of the exciting plot crux. (You don't hear them cheering when they read the book, do you?)

Moooviefan misprision: OK if you want to write an article about Jackson and not about Tolkien. You are, after all, writing in a film studies journal. But in that case, why put Tolkien's name in your title, and not Jackson's?

On the other hand, I was convinced by the proposition that George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire owes less to The Lord of the Rings than to Lord of the Flies; and I chuckled at this anecdote (unrelated to Tolkien, but good) from an interview with Peter Beagle in Foundation:
I can remember being the middle man on a panel in Oregon State. Lord, this would have been 1975–76, with Ursula Le Guin on one side of me and Vonda McIntyre on the other; they’re both old friends, both marvellous writers. For me, Ursula is still the master. And I was enjoying myself immensely just listening to the two of them, but there got to be rustling and grumbling in the back of the hall, a number of male students complaining they had come to hear talk about some good ol' rocket-jockeying science fiction, and not all this 'shrill feminism'. I remember the phrase. And as though they had been planning for it, Ursula peered around me and said, 'Vonda, I don't know how many times I’ve told you about being shrill.' And Vonda, without missing a beat said, 'No, Ursula, dear, I’m strident. You're shrill.' I remember that as a great moment in show business, me in the middle just listening.

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