The LOTR Movie Site
November 29, 2000

Sandboxes Responses
Brian M.

Greetings. Thanks for your response; I definately appreciate your taking the time to include the excerpts.

1. "To be honest, I'd thought I had pointed it out in my first response. There is no 'logical conclusion' in following on from the developing of women's roles in LOTR and the sudden inclusion of Smurfs."--Let me elaborate. I agree that Smurfs and developing women's roles are two dramatically different examples, and at first glance don't seem related. But for our purposes here we simply need to allow that they are both CHANGES. The real difference between the two is a matter of degree, the former is much more drastic than the latter. Now, before we make any changes at all, we must have some underlying principle by which to judge the alterations. Which ones are allowable and which ones are out of bounds? The trouble is, (apologies if this is an oversimplification) your stated standard, death-of-the-author/text-as-an-artifact, does not in itself supply ANY limits on what kinds of changes can be made. The justifications that you give to allow a greater role for women can just as easily be used in and of themselves to add the smurfs. The thrust of my line of reasoning is that you can't just say "Smurfs are silly and I would never put them in!" and be done with it. That statement by itself can easily be tantamount to "I choose not to put them in, but have no real reason to prevent their inclusion." What if someone comes along and wants to make a change that we all agree is ridiculous? What would you say to them? I don't think that you can prevent it and stay consistent with your line of reasoning thus far. As such, I think you have do do more to defend your position than to point of a difference of degree. You have to point to consistent reasons why your argument can't go there.

2. "The fellowship is a major chunk of plot and screentime, the addition or alteration of a member is no true problem as I see it, not for the audience and not for the movie."--Which is where we continue to differ. You're right, it is a major chunk of the plot, and altering in such a way would recreate the story rather than interpret it. The more inportant the chunk, the less it should be touched.

3. "email, perhaps?"--You'll find a working secondary e-mail address on my old web site (that hasn't been updated in more than a year!): I'm afraid I can make no promises on how often I'll be able to reply though. I'll do my best.

4. "Again, I am not a PM theorist."--I read that after I sent the essay in! ;) I'm a little behind in my philosophy, but I assume that PPM is still based on relativism. If so, I would still argue along the same lines as I do. Still, I see this issue as tied into the debate. Its likely a relativistic presupposition that underlies your method of textual criticism. Until we deal with that, we're operating on two different wavelengths. And unlike others I've met, I think we actually can hack this out as long as both of us are willing to concede the possibility that we can be wrong.

5. "If the reconstructions to the castle are not that monumental...I have no qualms. I also find that I do not believe that the transfer of a work from one medium to another...need keep so stringently to the original architecture of the design."--I'm rapidly running out of time, but I think this is one of the most useful threads you and I have hit on so far. We agree in that some changes are necessary, but still disagree in what qualifies as "monumental". I think that we should use the author as our guide, through his/her expressed will in the text, and you don't feel bound by that. I want to keep running with this, if you're willing, but I have to go.

Please pardon errors, but I must be off rapidly. Best to all.