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Old 11-22-2014, 07:17 PM   #3
jallanite
Shade of Carn Dm
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 479
jallanite is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
The essay mentions pipeweed as an hallucinogen as you mention. The Lord of the Rings claims instead that pipeweed was “a variety probably of Nicotiana”. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotiana .

So was Tolkien pushing consumption of tobacco as a good thing? Probably not. Tolkien himself was a user of tobacco, and was writing at a time when smoking tobacco was the norm. Tolkien in The Hobbit had made Gandalf a smoker, probably because in folktales smoking had also become a norm. Consider in particular the Grimm fairy tale “The Blue Light”. See http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-48.html . Merlyn is also a tobacco-smoker in T. H. White’s novel The Sword in the Stone.

Nor despite indicating that his hobbits were fond of beer, is Tolkien really pushing beer drinking.

But there is more indication in The Lord of the Rings that Tolkien was pushing tobacco-smoking and beer-drinking than that he was fond of rock music or the Beatles or Led Zeppelin or drug use.

What happened is that Tolkien’s books were popular because of their excellence, not because they partially agreed with the supposed sentiments of those who read them. The essay is, as indicated, “lightweight and insubstantial”. Nowhere does The Lord of the Rings put forward any “alternative lifestyles or radical activism”.

The writer then puts down Jackson’s films, but does so for no reason that makes sense to me. I personally dislike parts of Jackson’s films, but not because the “narrative arc has been scaled beyond its original humanity and reduced to CGI eye-candy.” An essay could be written explaining where Jackson has ignored the “original humanity” of the tale, but the writer does not even try to do this. Is the “original humanity” ignored when Gandalf is rescued by a giant eagle or when Gandalf comes back to life? If the “original humanity” is so important, then is Jackson’s omission of Tom Bombadil a good thing? I suspect that by “CGI eye-candy” the writer means merely “CGI that I dislike”. Personally if by “CGI eye-candy” the writer merely means CGI that is pleasing to the eye, then what is he complaining about? Would the films have been improved by less CGI that was pleasing to the viewer?

The writer claims:
This ground-breaking music mirrored the mind-expanding drugs, magical excursions, pagan celebrations and Bohemian lifestyle associated with the counterculture – and characters in Tolkien’s books.
Where in the books or in real life does Tolkien or “characters in Tolkien’s books” push “mind-expanding drugs” or “pagan celebrations” or “Bohemian lifestyle associated with the counterculture”?
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