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  1. #1
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    Tolkien contrasted with Orwell in the context of Homeland Security

    Neat article.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ty-kjnjrNgIAAA

    (Ouch, sorry about the length of the URL. I assume you can just click on it.)
    Eruanne - Shards of Narsil-1 - Elendilmir -> Arkenstone

  2. #2
    Thanks for that link! It WAS an interesting read. Enjoyed the part where TSA agents were likened to Orcs of Mordor.

    Tolkien stated that he hated allegories and that his work shouldn't be read that way, but that doesn't mean he saw his work as having no relevance to the state of the real world as he saw it.
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0b20c00000005f578/01000/signature.png]Karaoke[/charsig]

  3. #3
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    I'm sorry, but I must vehemently disagree. The authors of that article compare the U.S. to Sauran's realm in terms of being a totalitarian, surveillance state, and while there may be specific instances (sometimes very significant instances) that justify such a comparison, the corollary to that comparison is entirely fallacious. In no way, shape or form should Frodo, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship be equated with modern day terrorists such as the 9/11 hijackers ("a small group of dedicated subversives willing to sacrifice their lives slips in under the surveillance system of a great power, blends in with an alien population, and delivers a devastating blow to the heart of its empire, leaving its security forces in disarray and its populace terrified. Even a tower or two crumbles to dust.") Tolkien would be sickened by the thought. LOTR was written during the WWII era, and the equivalent of Mordor was Hitler's Germany (although I recall Tolkien denied that analogy as well), not the United States, then or now. The authors of the article do a huge disservice to Tolkien's works, but of course, anything goes if it means more clicks and advertising revenue.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedros_the_First View Post
    I'm sorry, but I must vehemently disagree. The authors of that article compare the U.S. to Sauran's realm in terms of being a totalitarian, surveillance state, and while there may be specific instances (sometimes very significant instances) that justify such a comparison, the corollary to that comparison is entirely fallacious. In no way, shape or form should Frodo, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship be equated with modern day terrorists such as the 9/11 hijackers ("a small group of dedicated subversives willing to sacrifice their lives slips in under the surveillance system of a great power, blends in with an alien population, and delivers a devastating blow to the heart of its empire, leaving its security forces in disarray and its populace terrified. Even a tower or two crumbles to dust.") Tolkien would be sickened by the thought. LOTR was written during the WWII era, and the equivalent of Mordor was Hitler's Germany (although I recall Tolkien denied that analogy as well), not the United States, then or now. The authors of the article do a huge disservice to Tolkien's works, but of course, anything goes if it means more clicks and advertising revenue.
    Yes and no.
    Mordor *was* the equivalent of Hitler's Germany.
    But Hitler's Germany is now gone, and the U.S. has taken over its role as the totalitarian surveillance state (without the expansion part except for Iraq).
    The idea of this sort of totalitarian government is a timeless concept. We saw it in Germany, we see it now in the U.S., and I'm sure we'll see it again in the future with some other country. While Tolkien may never have intended it to be an equivalent of anything in the real world, it is certainly something that drew inspiration from something in the real world, as does pretty much everything in fantasy.
    Last edited by BirdofHermes; Jul 18 2013 at 10:35 AM.

  5. #5
    "In no way, shape or form should Frodo, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship be equated with modern day terrorists such as the 9/11 hijackers ("a small group of dedicated subversives willing to sacrifice their lives slips in under the surveillance system of a great power, blends in with an alien population, and delivers a devastating blow to the heart of its empire, leaving its security forces in disarray and its populace terrified."

    One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Because you believe you're on the side of good and right, doesn't mean everyone else does. In this context (and to avoid any uncomfortable real world arguments), imagine you were a servant of Sauron, that is all you had ever known....life may not be fair, easy or pleasant, but it's your life. Then some 'foreigner', some little dudes from a far off land, perform a raid to destroy something that disrupts and destroys your entire world...that ultimately is an act of terrorism to the Servant of Sauron.

    During the American war of Independence, The British viewed George Washington and his 'guerilla's' as nothing more than terrorists...Americans call him Freedom Fighter.

    Frodo is a Freedom Fighter of the West, but a Villain to the South...so I get the analogy (even though I think the whole idea would make Tolkien scoff)....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    Yes and no.
    Mordor *was* the equivalent of Hitler's Germany.
    But Hitler's Germany is now gone, and the U.S. has taken over its role as the totalitarian surveillance state (without the expansion part except for Iraq).
    The idea of this sort of totalitarian government is a timeless concept. We saw it in Germany, we see it now in the U.S., and I'm sure we'll see it again in the future with some other country. While Tolkien may never have intended it to be an equivalent of anything in the real world, it is certainly something that drew inspiration from something in the real world, as does pretty much everything in fantasy.
    While I find a certain fascination inherent in this line of discussion. Might I suggest that, as Tolkien was not living during this current era of govt. surveillance, this particular forum is particularly unsuited to this discussion. Add to that the fact that many of the members of this community are patriotic Americans, this topic w/ it's incendiary comparisons between the U.S. and totalitarian states (not to mention Mordor) cannot but be insulting to some. I know Bird' does not speak English as his native tongue, because he's said so, but I do not know his native land. I wonder how he or any of the non-American members of this community would feel if other members compared their nations to evil regimes real or imagined.
    Last edited by Duathrandir; Oct 28 2013 at 08:54 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Duathrandir View Post
    While I find a certain fascination inherent in this line of discussion. Might I suggest that, as Tolkien was not living during this current ere of govt. surveillance, this particular forum is particularly unsuited to this discussion. Add to that the fact that many of the members of this community are patriotic Americans, this topic w/ it's incendiary comparisons between the U.S. and totalitarian states (not to mention Mordor) cannot but be insulting to some. I know Bird' does not speak English as his native tongue, because he's said so, but I do not know his native land. I wonder how he or any of the non-American members of this community would feel if other members compared their nations to evil regimes real or imagined.
    I'm English and happy to discuss the short comings of my Government with anyone although I do appreciate it is an incendiary subject (as would be Religion) and maybe not wholly appropriate (or even within the Forum rules) to pursue at length.

    All I can say from my side is offence can only be taken, not given. No offence meant on my part from having an opinion on the matter. I'm sure there are many more books out there with a more overtly political motive that best suit the proposed analogy and to be quite honest, I do not see LOTR in the light of the article at all. I merely commented on the role of Frodo as it was used in the article and the perceptions of that can be taken from what side of the world you view it from.

    And, as much as I do admire in most cases your average American's zeal for Patriotism, I also admire the Free Speech that our Western Democracies constantly tell us to be grateful for and remember those who died for it. I suppose it's like that old quote that it is not unpatriotic to question your Government if it is for the good of your country, but it is unpatriotic to say nothing when something should be said (or something like that!).

    Having said all that - 'nuff said on the matter for me. I don't want to come here for a raging political debate, there's plenty of places for that elsewhere

    Cool Runnings - Peace be the journey

  8. #8
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    I edited my post because I do not want to violate the Community Guidelines by posting something political.

    But I think that link should have never been posted here. And before anyone asks, no, I am not reporting it. It's not that serious.
    Last edited by Nymphonic; Oct 28 2013 at 09:45 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjdobs View Post
    I'm English and happy to discuss the short comings of my Government with anyone although I do appreciate it is an incendiary subject (as would be Religion) and maybe not wholly appropriate (or even within the Forum rules) to pursue at length.

    All I can say from my side is offence can only be taken, not given. No offence meant on my part from having an opinion on the matter. I'm sure there are many more books out there with a more overtly political motive that best suit the proposed analogy and to be quite honest, I do not see LOTR in the light of the article at all. I merely commented on the role of Frodo as it was used in the article and the perceptions of that can be taken from what side of the world you view it from.

    And, as much as I do admire in most cases your average American's zeal for Patriotism, I also admire the Free Speech that our Western Democracies constantly tell us to be grateful for and remember those who died for it. I suppose it's like that old quote that it is not unpatriotic to question your Government if it is for the good of your country, but it is unpatriotic to say nothing when something should be said (or something like that!).

    Having said all that - 'nuff said on the matter for me. I don't want to come here for a raging political debate, there's plenty of places for that elsewhere

    Cool Runnings - Peace be the journey
    I can easily accept that neither Bird', nor anyone else in this thread intended offense. I'm just saying why engage in political debate in a forum for discussing J.R.R. Tolkien and his works. And I would add that perhaps it takes two (or more) to have a misunderstanding, and while you cannot force another to take offense, you can most certainly offer offensive rhetoric and/or invective. So yes, you can give offense.
    Peace out all

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duathrandir View Post
    While I find a certain fascination inherent in this line of discussion. Might I suggest that, as Tolkien was not living during this current era of govt. surveillance, this particular forum is particularly unsuited to this discussion. Add to that the fact that many of the members of this community are patriotic Americans, this topic w/ it's incendiary comparisons between the U.S. and totalitarian states (not to mention Mordor) cannot but be insulting to some. I know Bird' does not speak English as his native tongue, because he's said so, but I do not know his native land. I wonder how he or any of the non-American members of this community would feel if other members compared their nations to evil regimes real or imagined.
    I'm afraid you've lost me here.
    Why would anyone be offended for comparing certain aspects of their country's government to aspects of another government, real or imagined? Good or evil doesn't come into it, it's just that every government in the world had and has its good and bad sides, but if someone thinks theirs is perfect in every way then they are delusional. I know discussing politics is a taboo on the forums, but I have no interest in discussing it. I would however like to clarify my previous post on the subject of a totalitarian government like Mordor;

    First off, yes fine, I know the US have been slowly walking down the path towards totalitarianism since the cold war, but so have many other nations (see China and the old USSR for instance). It's not unique nor new. One shouldn't feel offended by this, it's simply the way most governments work after a power struggle has taken place in the world; grab as much power while you can from the fallen nations, and try to seize more control in your own. In other words; those in charge, the people with power, want more power. It's an ever-returning historical occurrence that we see in both real life as well as featuring in fantasy realms (like Mordor), and I really don't think this should cause offence. It's not as if I compared Mordor's Orc inhabitants with US inhabitants or something ludicrous. Tolkien indeed didn't live in the current age of government control, but that doesn't mean he didn't have his own form of it. He saw the end of the industrial age, he witnessed two World Wars and the start of the Cold War, there was plenty control there.

    As you have probably guessed I am by no means an expert in US politics and you may disagree with that notion, I don't mind. I've never even lived in the US, all I've ever done is go on holiday and visit friends there a few times. But the one thing that always struck me is how the media there is run, sometimes withholding and even twisting information to paint a different picture than what you get in most other countries (I'm fortunate to live in Belgium for that, we get televisional news feeds from our own country's channels, from the Netherlands, France, the UK, Spain and Germany. We also get a Swedish one but I don't understand Swedish. And thanks to the internet it's even easier to compare countries' media as long as you can read the language).
    Now if it were just a slight media distortion it wouldn't be so bad, there are other countries that do this. Just look at Egypt and again China. It's common for a government to try and paint a better picture of itself through media, and it's not nearly as bad as Orwell's Ministry of Truth.
    However, in recent years they have gone through a rapid acceleration of this process with tapped phones, cameras on nearly every street corner, restricted and surveyed internet surfing, and being able to arrest and detain suspects of terrorism without charge or trial. New times, new methods. And that is a more dangerous situation than just fiddling with media. That is going towards a more Mordor-like state and it is very unsettling watching it unfold.
    I said earlier that it's not nearly as bad as Orwell's Ministry of Truth, but I feel that I should add "yet". It's not nearly as bad yet. You and your fellow citizens are the ones to keep it from escalating further.

 

 

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