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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, the movie made me giggle like a maniac, because seeing all those hobbits being affectionate (even if they were cousins) just triggered my gaydar so bad. I suppose Mannish cousins eventually outgrow the rough-housing, but Hobbit cousins never do.

Though I kept snickering at the Merry/Pippin, Pippin/Gandalf, Sam/Frodo/Gollum, and all the male elves who were not main characters. I mean, seriously. For someone who grew up during the latter parts of the 20th century, those buttons do get pushed.

Not that I didn't have fun watching the movie and talking about it to friends afterwards, especially my girl-friends, who twigged the perceived subtext.

The whole ethnocentricity claim... you know, the story was told from the Western / Num?nor?an perspective. I don't think Tolkien saw the point of representing the other side of the conflict, since he presented the tale as a myth, and he probably didn't have the time or the expertise to craft an alternative viewpoint.

Remember. myths aren't global or accurate tales of what happened, and they always tell one side of the story, often demonizing their opponents.

If anything, the tales of the Easterlings and the men of the South were never told. It's certainly is very tempting to actually tell the tale of Middle-Earth from an Easterling's perspective. Maybe someone who's was Tolkien's counterpart in Indic and Asian languages could have a go.

Hell, I'd read it out of curiosity.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
If anything, the tales of the Easterlings and the men of the South were never told. It's certainly is very tempting to actually tell the tale of Middle-Earth from an Easterling's perspective. Maybe someone who's was Tolkien's counterpart in Indic and Asian languages could have a go.


As I recall the Easterlings appear more in the Simarillion than anywhere else, and even then that's not saying much. A few brief mentions here and there, mostly involving their abortive invasion of the Western kingdoms (secretly assisted by Sauron). I always pegged it as parallel to the Mongol invasions of Europe.

The other two of the five Istari (read 'wizards' - - who were both blue I think?) went into the lands of the Easterlings, accompanied by Saruman, to perform some unspecified quest. This might or might not have anything to do with the failure of their invasion since it has been speculated that even early on Saruman had become corrupt and possibly killed them both once they left western kingdoms.

As to the other anonymous one's comment that I must have been watching the sci-fi channel. Above examples of geekishness aside, I haven't tuned into that channel in some time. Hell, I wasn't even aware they still actually played the classic trek episodes.

Anyway, since the post wherein I mentioned the Evil Kirk/Apathetic Kirk thing I finally picked up the extended version of the Two Towers and it occurred to me that Smeagol/Gollum is an equally (if not more, considering LotR is the topic) appropriate example. Quoth evil Gollum to nice Smeagol in that whole talking to himself bit:

"We survived because of me!"


Heh. I wanna live! *pops the Ramones into the cd player*
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:

If anything, the tales of the Easterlings and the men of the South were never told. It's certainly is very tempting to actually tell the tale of Middle-Earth from an Easterling's perspective. Maybe someone who's was Tolkien's counterpart in Indic and Asian languages could have a go.

Hell, I'd read it out of curiosity.


Ah, if only. Alas, The Wind Done Gone teaches us that this sort of experimenting with viewpoints is a fast track to copyright woes. Pretty much the same idea, too, looking at a romantic world from the side of the unfortunates.

And, if it matters, the "other anonymous" who mentioned the Sci-fi channel was myself. I forgot to log in and figured it wasn't worth the effort to make another post explaining that. I just made that comment because the epside that was mentioned had been on Sci-fi that very day, and I had watched it. I assumed that it wasn't a coincidence.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyborg Caveman wrote:
Anyway, since the post wherein I mentioned the Evil Kirk/Apathetic Kirk thing I finally picked up the extended version of the Two Towers and it occurred to me that Smeagol/Gollum is an equally (if not more, considering LotR is the topic) appropriate example.
Hmmm, I don't remember the scene where Stinker-Gollum tried to rape Yeoman Rand.

"Let's us stops pretending, pretty Janice, we wills!"

Connor Moran wrote:
I just made that comment because the [Star Trek episode] that was mentioned had been on Sci-fi that very day, and I had watched it.
Personally, I can't watch Star Trek on Sci-Fi Channel anymore. They just butcher it so badly, it ain't funny. They snip out bits and pieces here and there (I'm such a TOS nerd - been watching since I was 4 years old - that I can spot an edit a mile away), and stick commercial breaks where they don't belong. Even worse, they DON'T go to commercial where the original commercail breaks belong. They cut it up worse than WPIX here in New York ever did; when they used show it. To the people at Sci-Fi Channel, I say, "Gey kaken yam!"

BTW, what time is Star Trek on Sci-Fi, now? They moved it around on the schedule so many times, I lost track.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rip Tanion wrote:
I think peace and love are noble concepts to aspire to, but it's childish to think the bad people will go away if we just close our eyes and wish it.

It's not just childish, it's pretty stupid. Fortunately, there have been a handful of sensible people who have aproached nonviolence with creativity, determination, and genius. Your statement resonates with a popular sentiment that the only alternative to violence is submission. This sentiment is patently false.

Peace and love have no value if confined to the realm of noble concepts. Peace and love are only meaningful if they are manifest on the battlefield of every-day-life.

Rip Tanion wrote:
There can be no utopia of peace and love until we rid ourselves of evil.

I agree. Each of us can only rid ourselves of the evil running around in our own hearts. Then we can uplift our families and communities with simple living and loving service.

Cyborg Caveman wrote:
However, that said, when I see scapegoating of any kind [...] used as a means to explain the ills man inflicts upon himself - - well, it makes me alternately grit my teeth or just roll my eyes. [...] Whereas I see it as individuals must safeguard their right to express themselves as they please. It's not the "freedom hating terrorists" that can curtail my civil liberties on a whim, but the government that is "fighting" them. Society is merely a tool for organizing large groups of people and, like most other tools, its uses can be bent and twisted. The two edged sword as it were. Guns don't kill people, people kill people, etc. The same society that protects our rights can take them away. It is simply a matter of the quality of the people who are administrating it and, in a broader sense, the people composing the society.

If you remove the blame from the "freedom hating terrorists" but place it on the government, that seems to me like another kind of eye-rolling scapegoating. Protect your own civil liberties!

Sorry all, feeling surly today. ;^)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
Cyborg Caveman wrote:
However, that said, when I see scapegoating of any kind [...] used as a means to explain the ills man inflicts upon himself - - well, it makes me alternately grit my teeth or just roll my eyes. [...] Whereas I see it as individuals must safeguard their right to express themselves as they please. It's not the "freedom hating terrorists" that can curtail my civil liberties on a whim, but the government that is "fighting" them. Society is merely a tool for organizing large groups of people and, like most other tools, its uses can be bent and twisted. The two edged sword as it were. Guns don't kill people, people kill people, etc. The same society that protects our rights can take them away. It is simply a matter of the quality of the people who are administrating it and, in a broader sense, the people composing the society.

If you remove the blame from the "freedom hating terrorists" but place it on the government, that seems to me like another kind of eye-rolling scapegoating. Protect your own civil liberties!


Isn't that what I just said? Note the bit about 'individuals must safeguard their right to express themselves as they please'. Another comment which you edited out also asks "Whatever happened to personal accountability?".

Also I clearly point out that, to me anyway, the government is a tool and bears no more blame for the ills of the world than a gun used in a murder - - rather it is the people administraing the government and those composing the society the government serves, the people employing the tool, that bear the brunt of the responsibility. As a memeber of that society I bear no more nor less blame than any other citizen.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyborg Caveman wrote:
Another comment which you edited out also asks "Whatever happened to personal accountability?".

I didn't mean to "edit" that out. That was the main idea that I was trying to credit to you in the first part of the quote.

Cyborg Caveman wrote:
Also I clearly point out that, to me anyway, the government is a tool and bears no more blame for the ills of the world than a gun used in a murder - - rather it is the people administraing the government and those composing the society the government serves, the people employing the tool, that bear the brunt of the responsibility. As a memeber of that society I bear no more nor less blame than any other citizen.

I didn't mean to rile you. I just thought that the apparent change of tone was funny in an ironic way. It's obvious now that you had no intention of placing blame on the government.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rip Tanion wrote:
I think peace and love are noble concepts to aspire to, but it's childish to think the bad people will go away if we just close our eyes and wish it.


Rip's point here is very well taken and represents one of the very sizeable differences between conservatives and liberals. That is the way they approach dealing with evil in the world. I don't know whether the rest of you will agree or not (doesn't really matter-disagreement appears to be a constant around here ), but I believe that many conservatives see people having the possibility of being good, but possessing a bent for evil that must be controlled through law and order and other tools of society for the safety and continuity of civilization.

John Stephens wrote:

Fortunately, there have been a handful of sensible people who have aproached nonviolence with creativity, determination, and genius. Your statement resonates with a popular sentiment that the only alternative to violence is submission. This sentiment is patently false.


John Stephens wrote:

Each of us can only rid ourselves of the evil running around in our own hearts. Then we can uplift our families and communities with simple living and loving service..


John's points are good and I agree with them mostly-but I believe they are an example of the liberal view about good and evil. That is the idea that people are basically good, and that any evil they do isnt because they are evil in their hearts, but misguided in their actions. But that they were put in bad situations, or taught the wrong things, or not given enough opportunities to become good members of society.

My own belief is that there is a built in inclination in people to do evil. I also believe that in most cases that inclination towards evil must be stopped by either a fear of some type of punishment for wrong actions or by, as John said, ridding the evil from our own hearts. But it will not be done without by personal improvements or education alone without some type of societal muscle to back it up.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

icepick wrote:
My own belief is that there is a built in inclination in people to do evil. I also believe that in most cases that inclination towards evil must be stopped by either a fear of some type of punishment for wrong actions or by, as John said, ridding the evil from our own hearts. But it will not be done without by personal improvements or education alone without some type of societal muscle to back it up.

I too believe that everyone struggles with the yetzer ha'rah - the "evil inclination." Having struggled with it personally, I understand how subtle and insidious it can be. The LOTR trilogy is a beautiful metaphor for this struggle, depicting in vivid imagery its ability to corrupt the heart, clouding the mind with self-righteousness. Even when the end is noble, self-righteousness destroys the soul.

I agree that force is sometimes necessary to avert catastrophe; if we refer to Gandhi we can see the monumental impact of a societal force that admits violence under no circumstances. This force, according to Gandhi, is not derived from brute strength but from a will that cannot be dominated, devoted to Truth. In fact, he refused the term "passive resistance" becuase it conveyed weakness - instead, he preferred the term satyagraha from agraha "firmness" or "force," and satya "Truth" [which in sanskrit implies also ahimsa, "love"].
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gandhi [for folks who may not have read a biography or seen the movie] wasn't just a sedentary philosopher. He was often on the front lines of a very deadly conflict in which India overthrew the British Empire. Without, I might add, lifting a finger in violence. In the end, he did wind up losing his life, assassinated durring prayer.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 11:25 pm    Post subject: Gandhi and Jesus Christ Reply with quote

Now Gandhi is a great example of the best that non-violent methods brings about. I think that he is an example of how his resistance caused a type of "forced education" to the British that changed their hearts and minds. That while they believed in the concepts of freedom and liberty, it wasn't a guiding, concrete truth in their lives the way the administered their empire.

Many people compare Gandhi and Jesus Christ as the champions of non violence. They seem to forget that when Jesus saw the money changers in the temple he realized that he could not persuade or educate them to give up their wrongdoing and proceeded to kick their collective butts out of the temple with a whip. This were not inconsistent with his teachings on loving your enemies, and turning the other cheek. It was that Jesus saw both ministering the love of God through your actions, but still not allowing actual evil to reign physically in the world. It's a hard concept to wrap your dogma around, and I still havent figured out all of the ins and outs of making that work in the everyday life .
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rip Tanion wrote:
I guess you must have read the Silmarillion, Greg.

I actually have a copy of it (complete with full color illustrations by Ted Naismith) but I never got around to reading it cover to cover.


The Silmarillion has been called "the least-read bestseller of all time." It was published during an upsurge in the Tolkien craze, right? And, like you said, it's not as strong on narrative as the others, since it's background work in a way...Tolkien was world-building, after all, so he allowed himself some indulgences that a novelist wouldn't usually allow. So everyone bought it, no one read it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Each of us can only rid ourselves of the evil running around in our own hearts.
We can rid ourselves of evil by taking the clowns who run Sci-Fi Channel, and putting them against the firing wall.

Quote:
The Silmarillion has been called "the least-read bestseller of all time." So everyone bought it, no one read it.
Somtimes I think I bought it more for the illustrations. "Duh, look at the purty pictures, George."
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 9:26 am    Post subject: Re: Gandhi and Jesus Christ Reply with quote

icepick wrote:
Many people compare Gandhi and Jesus Christ as the champions of non violence. They seem to forget that when Jesus saw the money changers in the temple he realized that he could not persuade or educate them to give up their wrongdoing and proceeded to kick their collective butts out of the temple with a whip. This were not inconsistent with his teachings on loving your enemies, and turning the other cheek. It was that Jesus saw both ministering the love of God through your actions, but still not allowing actual evil to reign physically in the world. It's a hard concept to wrap your dogma around, and I still havent figured out all of the ins and outs of making that work in the everyday life .

As far as I can tell, this story is not included in the Gospel attributed to John; the synoptic gospels pretty much agree on all the details:

Mark 11:15-19 wrote:
Then they came to Jerusalem. Jesus entered the temple area and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts. He turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Then he began to teach them and said, ?Is it not written: ?My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations??30 But you have turned it into a den31 of robbers!? The chief priests and the experts in the law heard it and they considered how they could assassinate him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed by his teaching. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

Matthew 21:12-17 wrote:
Then Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying in the temple courts, and turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. And he said to them, ?It is written, ?My house will be called a house of prayer,? but you are turning it into a den of robbers!?

The blind and lame came to him in the temple courts, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the experts in the law saw the wonderful things he did and heard the children crying out in the temple courts, ?Hosanna to the Son of David,? they became indignant and said to him, ?Do you hear what they are saying?? Jesus said to them, ?Yes. Have you never read, ?Out of the mouths of children and nursing infants you have prepared praise for yourself??? And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and spent the night there.

Luke 19:45-48 wrote:
Then Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling things there, saying to them, ?It is written, ?My house will be a house of prayer,? but you have turned it into a den of robbers!?

Jesus was teaching daily in the temple courts. The chief priests and the experts in the law and the prominent leaders among the people were seeking to assassinate him, but they could not find a way to do it, for all the people hung on his words.

What happened to the whip? We've all seen the paintings. I'm not a scholar on this, but I imagine the whip was created by an artist long after the incident was recorded, much like the nativity scene, which was created in the twelfth century by Saint Francis of Assisi.

What do we have without the wip? He drives people out, overturns tables and chairs, teaches, and heals. In other words, he walked into a heavily guarded temple complex and put his life on the line. You'll have to forgive me if I don't see this as a militant gesture. It was very serious, and very dangerous, but I tend to think that his only weapons were his love and integrity.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Gandhi and Jesus Christ Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
I tend to think that his only weapons were his love and integrity.
in addition to his unwavering faith in the sovereignty of GOD.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My chief weapon is love. Love and integrity.

My two weapons are love and integrity. And an unwavering faith in the sovereignty of God.

My THREE weapons...

Sorry. Guess I have Python on the brain lately. But yeah, I don't recall ever hearing that he actually physically whipped people; he just gave them a good tongue-lashing and flipped over all their tables. The whip, as you say, was probably added for texture.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:36 pm    Post subject: Jesus in the market with the whip: John 2:15 Reply with quote

Quote:
13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting,
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Many people compare Gandhi and Jesus Christ
Hmmm, do folks in India drive around in cars with bumper stickers that read "What would Gandhi do?"
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Scourge of small cords," huh. Yeah, I guess that does sound familiar. Still, "drove them all out of the temple" doesn't necessarily mean "smacked them around" with it. If one fires a gun into the air, most people will clear out pretty fast. If some crazy hippie starts flipping over tables and shaking a cat-of-nine-tails around, I imagine he'd get a similar result.

So at the very least we do have a threat of violence.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like I didn't search the Yohanine text thoroughly enough. In any case, YC is entitled to a few mistakes living in a world of fragmentation, suffering, and confusion.

The reason I tend to use the Gandhi example is that it shows us what is humanly possible - I think everyone agrees that Gandhi was thoroughly human. There is very little agreement on the nature and message of Yeshua bar Yosef, even among Christians.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a very interesting translation note from the New English Translation:

Quote:
Instead of making a whip of cords, Jesus made ?[something] like a whip of cords.?

The translator is careful to note that this may have been a scribal error. But "something" like a whip of chords could be just about anything.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 2:46 am    Post subject: The Jesus whip Reply with quote

Are you saying Jesus was into S&M?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
The reason I tend to use the Gandhi example is that it shows us what is humanly possible - I think everyone agrees that Gandhi was thoroughly human. There is very little agreement on the nature and message of Yeshua bar Yosef, even among Christians.


Man, you said a mouthful there. As far as his message, Jesus is one of the people in history that many people quote and say that he represents their viewpoint. Besides myriad of differences in the way people interpret the bible. Some people take everything very literally up to the point where they believe the King James Bible is the only real bible, and some people see the whole bible as containing purely figurative truths and stories that are all open to individual interpretation.

As for his nature, thats been contested for centuries. Some people didnt even believe he was here in a physical body, and some believed he was tottally human with no trace of divinity. I believe he was totally human , but had the spirit of God inside without measure.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

icepick wrote:
Jesus is one of the people in history that many people quote and say that he represents their viewpoint.

I couldn't have said it better, and this isn't the forum for me to say that my views are endorsed by any prophet, messianic figure, or mysterious incarnation of the almighty.

That reluctance may change when my daughter is a teenager, understanding that she won't be listening to me anyway; I kind of look forward to being a crazy old codger.
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