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Old 11-20-2014, 11:16 PM   #1
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 728
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Vaguely interesting BBC Culture article
Has anyone read this? It's pretty lightweight and insubstantial as they go, mostly just cataloguing a bunch of references to The Lord of the Rings in 60s and 70s culture (it also erroneously assumes that pipe-weed was a hallucinogen rather than ordinary tobacco), but it raises a couple of curious points.
It’s hard to imagine anyone today watching The Lord of the Rings or Hobbit films and thinking of alternative lifestyles or radical activism. What happened?

Tolkien himself would possibly be horrified by the multiplatform industry built upon his work. Today his saga is best known through Peter Jackson’s multi-billion-dollar-grossing movies. In these blockbuster films, Tolkien’s intricate narrative arc has been scaled beyond its original humanity and reduced to CGI eye-candy. The spirit of his work remains, in his original texts.
As my PhD thesis nears its completion I've been considering some elements of Professor Tolkien's relationship to "alternative lifestyles" or "radical activism," largely in terms of how his work does what I think was a rather bold thing for his context by critiquing modernity, which seems to have been (and still is in some quarters) a bit of a sin in academic discourse, where any criticism of modernity automatically makes you "nostalgic." People always seem to miss the completely overt criticism of the pointlessness of nostalgia in the books too. I am somewhat intrigued by the idea that Professor Tolkien argues in favour of alternatives to modernity rather than a regression from it, which was a proposal firmly made by his literary precursor, William Morris.

At the same time, it's not as if The Lord of the Rings is some kind of manifesto for a better society, although it may suggest better ways of being as individuals and communities.
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
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