11 thoughts on “Leftism’s Entertainment Recipe Book

  1. I’m afraid the great Tolkien was also a Catholic, a double-whammy.

    A fascinating element of Tolkien’s life, his Catholicism, has been described at length by his friend C.S. Lewis in many of Lewis’ books. They both hit it big in Hollywood. Or should we say their next-of-kin hit it big in Hollywood?

  2. I have the biography by Garth that is mentioned in the article; it is very good and enlightening. It’s a little cliched to describe WWI as the end of an age, but the high-minded and romantic literary imaginations of chivalry, honor and noble causes envisioned and espoused by Tolkien and his pre-war, four-person literary fellowship were savagely shattered by the war – as they were for the rest of the country. The trauma of the war was felt far beyond those who were on the battlefield, and was brought home to the public not only in the deaths of family members, but also in the writings and sufferings of their poets such as Owen and Sassoon. In the face of brutal reality, hope and optimism are dealt wounds as mortal as the ones suffered by two of Tolkien’s four friends. Many men – and the nation – grew cynical and detached. Others – like Tolkien – looked into the abyss and found renewed faith despite the suffering and horror. Such miracles are illogical, and anathema to the Spirit of the new age which will do all in its power to steal and diminish that hope in order to control and dominate its subjects.

    It’s remarkable that this movie was made in the first place, but not surprising that such a crucial element was excised. Some truths, though, don’t need the eyes and the brain in order to be perceived.

  3. NW, in a literal sense it was because trench warfare met its match with poison gas and tanks. It was so bad there was a literal war crimes convention set up (you might have heard of it, called the Geneva convention) so wars were never fought like that ever again. Even Hitler didnt break it (on the front lines at least… we all know he used gas in other, more horrid, ways) and now with the the US emerging as a world power we were forced to show the Europeans to, eventually, play nice with each other after basically a millenia of killing each other because… I actually dont know the answer to that one.

  4. Also I was very excited to see this movie before this post, after this post… not so much.

  5. I’m very curious how the movie might deal with the discrimination against Catholics that Tolkien found so early in his life. His mother’s conversion led to them being ostracized by his father’s family and drove them into poverty. His mother’s death from Type I diabetes at 12 and adoption by a priest was a formative event in his life.

    Given all that happened in his early life, the fact that Father Morgan interfered with his romance with Edith, almost fatally, and the events of WWI and the loss of many of his friends, it’s fairly remarkable that he became *more* religious rather than less. But that was a different era when faith wasn’t denigrated in popular culture like it is now.

  6. I’m not really religious, so I don’t have a dog in that hunt except that I can see that Christian societies are head and shoulders above those based on other faiths. I think that link text should be Christianity and not “faith in a higher power”.

  7. Oooh, I wrote “*hr*stian” and “*hr*stianity. Please moderate me, oh great Aksimet.

  8. jdm
    I can’t believe that akismet is a one-size-fits-all tool, it has to have different “settings”. Mitch must have left it at the default setting, which is “Snowflake“.

  9. Tolkien converted C.S. Lewis. Lewis went on to become the most influential Christian apologist of the 20th century. You would think that would be worth mentioning in a film bio of Tolkien.
    Some of the imagery in LOTR came directly from Tolkien’s memories of WWI (the journey through the Dead Marshes in particular). But the theme of LOTR has nothing to do with WWI. Frodo & Sam preserve the traditional world of LOTR by refusing to despair. That is not how World War One and its aftermath unfolded. WWI destroyed the civilization of the Old World, and no amount of hope and striving could have kept it alive.

  10. MP, no doubt. Worth noting is that a key part of Tolkien’s life–as well as Lewis’ and a bunch of others–was routine informal meetings to discuss history, theology, and more at the “Bird & Baby” (Eagle and Child) pub. And I’ve got to admit that I think it would be very healthy for both Christians and skeptics alike to see those scenes, but for obviously very different reasons.

  11. Faith is often built within community (fellowship, joining and knitting), and war destroys community. WWI was likely the first time the brutal reality of war was brought home to the public not actually on the battlefield.

    It was a traumatic clash of beauty and horror, and a searing coming to grips with man’s technological capacities for good and ill, and the need for reason (or something more) to control it. This is so well described in another book, Mark Helprin’s “A Soldier of the Great War”, who’s hero loves beauty but is confronted with a series of almost unimaginable horrors – yet still chooses beauty. Few – on the battlefield and at home – would be able to make the same choice by the end of the war.

    So many great quotes in that book. Here’s one of my favorites: “Reason excludes faith,” Alessandro responded, watching the blood-red mite as it made a dash for the rim. “It’s deliberately limited. It won’t function with the materials of religion. You can come close to proving the existence of God by reason, but you can’t do it absolutely. That’s because you can’t do anything absolutely by reason. That’s because reason depends on postulates. Postulates defy proof and yet they are essential to reason. God is a postulate. I don’t think God is interested in the verification of His existence, and, therefore, neither am I. Anyway, I have professional reasons to believe. Nature and art pivot faithfully around God. Even dogs know that.”

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