The LOTR Movie Site
November 14, 2000

Responses to Max B.
Brian M.

Greetings. Thanks for the response Max. I'll have to beg everyone's pardon myself. I just spent the last eight hours reading 19th century scribble and my brain is fried.

Since Max responded by points, I'll do the same:

1. "If I overlooked your response..."--My apologies. I was trying to be witty and failing miserably. They say there's nothing like a little humor...and that was nothing like it.

2. "As for your Smurf's line of reasoning, must it always comes down to people presenting ridiculous extremes to make their point?"--To which I respond, "Must it always come down to people ignoring the logical conclusion of their position when it happens to indeed be ridiculous?" You called it, "an extreme", but I challenge you to define what "an extreme" is in a coherent way and not contradict the philosophical prescedents you set for us so far. No, adding women to the trilogy is not tantamount to having Hefty go toe-to-toe with Sauron. But the same arguments you've given can be used to justify either.

3. "I see the text as wonderful, but nowhere near perfect. I don't worship it or the author."--You're right, this is a simple matter of disagreement, but on a more fundamental level. I think Tolkien's idea of man as a "sub creator" in literature, that is, worshipping God by imitating His creative actions in a microcosm, is right on the mark. As such, its not a issue of a "textual artifact", but more one of intellectual rights. Tolkien created Middle Earth and all that's in it. "Inherently wrong" are the only words I can think of to describe willfully manipulating his creations in a way that thei creator would not agree with. Simply because you don't worship the author does not necessity his/her death. BTW, you seem to leave open the possibility that a text can be "perfect." What sort of criteria would sucha text have to meet?

4. "But she isn't even allowed to go on the journey? Surely she could pick berries or something on the way?"--Please tell me you're trying to do what I was earlier with the "ridiculous extremes". For someone who thinks that women need a more active role, isn't this a little bit patronizing? No, Arwen isn't allowed to go on the journey. Its got nothing to do with what she's capable of, and everything to do with the fact that, like it or not, Tolkien didn't write her into the party himself.

5. "If you want to take issue with definitions of masculinity , we can start a new thread.... What I suggest is that men are allowed to act as (per the definition used) "women" and "men", while women are only to act as "women"."--I would indeed enjoy embarking on this tangent, but wouldn't feel comfortable doing so without the webmaster's permission. Its so broad that we could go entire posts without even mentioning the trilogy.

6. "Now, while you may continue to argue that females have wonderful roles in the book, it's not hard to see that in the movies...those roles would amount to all of 10 minutes film time."--My point is this: If the roles are already there, why do we need to "reinterpret" anything? It would make more sense and be more consistent to bring out the existing examples more fully, rather than cut them out and jam in something new.

7. "What it comes down to in many cases, is the person who fears that environment always seems to look to history and the past (and origins) for what is better than what we have now or could posssibly ever develope."--One could easily respond that those who oppose it simply realize that simply because its the lastest rage, doesn't mean it is therefore intelligent and worthwhile. Students of history may remember how Reformed Darwinism (the idea that human can control evolution) used to occupy a position similar to that you now afford PPM. They will also remember that it ended up providing philosophical justification for the Holocaust (Its just an analogy, so don't take it too far). I have problems with PM and PPM that run deeper than your response seems willing to admit. Once again, I won't go there without an OK from the webmaster, for the same reasons I mentioned in #5.

8. "Hence, Tolkiens' work in it's original format is perfect, ancient races were more pure and noble than today, etc et al."--If you believe that, I've got some beach front property in Oklahoma to sell you. That last broad brush stroke may apply to romantics, but I'm not one of them. Anyone who knows anything about history won't fall for it. My arguments can't be answered by that approach. Its a question of rights, right back to his "author as sub creator" point. Tolkien didn't relinquish his when he died, and is still the creator of Middle Earth. I think that if we're going to discuss the point further we'd best take up the issue of "sub creator" v/s "death of the author". Everything else will just be scratching the surface.

9. "And fear this, PJ may not actually be making the movie specifically for you or other people on this site."--I really don't care who he's making it for. It doesn't change the dynamics of the situation in the slightest. If he felt like directing his version towards the bushmen of the Kalahari, I would still argue that he should stay as close the the original as possible. Anything less, and it ceases to be Tolkien and it becomes Peter Jackson standing in front of the Trilogy shouting "Weee! Look at me!"

Ah well. Hope someone finds something in that worth chewing on. Best regards all.