Ummm … thoughts … or something

Having a blog is a really interesting exercise. I thought it would be a great place to write, to think and share but I'm so very bad at any kind of journalling that I can't do it regularly. I have all kinds of witty, brilliant insights on the way to work, eating dinner or in the shower and I think "Oh man, I'll have to write about this!" Then I get here and …

*crickets chirp*

Nothin'.

I second guess whatever wit I thought I had, dismiss all those brilliant notions as foolish and wonder what to write about. So, today, I just threw all that out the door and decided to just write off the top of my head and see what happens. Does it come out beautifully? Is there anything interesting going on in the top of my head today? Hmmm. Remains to be seen.

I am writing an essay that picks up the topic of racism in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and finding that there isn't much out there in the way of academic opinions directly on this. People tend to mention co-operation between the races and the marriages of Elves/Men (3 of them) and dismiss the whole idea as non-existant. I too think it's non-existant but I think we need to look deeper. The mark of race politics has left deep, raw, oozing cuts in our modern psyche. Living in North America, it isn't easy or advisable to gloss over the history of slavery and injustice, but I'm also an Indian from the Caribbean. My grandmother, even my father, once lived in a society where the Indians and Africans did the labour on plantations owned by Europeans/British. You couldn't speak disrespectfully to a white person. You couldn't go into their neighbourhood unless you were a servant in their houses. Hindu marriages were not recognized a legal so Indian wives were not legally wives (so they were just whores?) and their children were all illegitimate.

Of course, this changed. Times changed and what was once accepted is no longer tolerable. Yet race politics is still prevalent in many places, and we see injustices all the time. Right now we have a situation with the Mohawk nation standing up for what is their right, their land. I always think of the Gondorians giving land to the people of Rohan, land that the Dunlendings lived on. I don't analyze it, I just think about it. If I was from Dunland, how would I feel? Wouldn't that alone set me up to be foes of the West? Of course there is other history to the Dunlendings to consider.

But does this kind of thing make Tolkien's work racist? He uses themes of light and dark, his invading nations come from the East and South. Does that make his work racially charged? I don't see how since the people he is writing about are based on people and cultures in Northern Europe. If that makes the work some example of race politics at play, then many, many world myths can be accused of the same. There's a difference between your cultural point of view and economic, social, and political subjugation for gain. The essays I've been reading don't really seem to get to the hydra-like heart of what racism is so that it can address what Tolkien was trying to do in his work. Hmmm … well a lot of thinking and reading to be done. And writing. Will let you know what I come up with.

Namaste.

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More thoughts

I just want to thank everyone again who felt Sean’s story and remembered him. I think it was important to mark that little life.

Sadly, exactly what I expected to happen, happened. Only one person from the Caribbean replied back to me when I sent out an email about discussing the future of the island – and this pal is not from Trinidad. Interesting and sad. Sad more than interesting unfortunately. I’m sure if I had sent out a note about a party, there would have been more responses. Just an observation, far from being scathing (for me). Ah well, I kind of knew that my life has taken me in other directions. I hope and pray that the folks down there can bring about some change and if I hear about it, you can be sure I’ll want to work with them.

Woot! A Toronto Tolkien Society!

After a few years of discussion and some back and forth about it. We finally got a smial off the ground here in T.O. It’s called “Wellinghall” and right now, there are about 6 or 7 of us. It’s kind of tough to meet up regularly (maybe we’ll get there in time) but we do meet up online here. It’s cool ‘cuz we’ve started a study group to go through The Silmarillion and we’ve had a few lunches together and Tolkien Reading Day!

Everyone, young and old, is invited to join Wellinghall. Memberships are $10 and entings under 12 are free. 🙂 All ideas are welcome as well either at the blog or here at the forum! Cheers and hope to see you there!