- Aug 21, 2010
...The bohemian middle class have a snobbish disdain amounting to disgust, directed against the old English hard-working and (mostly) clean-living 'bourgeoisie'; and always they side with tramps, prostitutes, muggers, thieves and beggars; their values are aristocratic: amoral and hedonistic; their gods are style and cool...
...The irony is that Moorcock's brand of middle class moral rebelliousness is now the official ethics of mainstream bureaucracy and civil service; his transgressive sexual practices and orientations are now taught and advocated in primary schools; his once-edgy feminist privileging is now enforced by everybody including the Royal Mail, the Royal Mint, the Royal Society and the Royal Family...
So, from Moorcock's perspective; virtue is wickedness, courage is cowardice, deep scholarship is criticized as populist, everything beautiful is named ugly, truth is put down as evasion - and all the opposites.
Tolkien's values of Christianity and traditional morality cannot legally be expressed either in public or in private.
At the least I thought I'd stir the pot a little.
Which isn't a bad thing per se, because most people aren't looking for gritty, realistic fiction, they're looking to get away from the gritty, realistic world for a few hours.
OTH there is Urban Fantasy and Post Apocalyptic.we take the overriding appeal of escapist, romantic, anti-modern fiction for granted.
People can be affluent (relatively compare to 80% of world) and be stressed out by pointy haired boss, cow-orkers*, house mates, parents, siblings, partners etc ...It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
Tolkien is fantasy with no "edge" to it. It's cozy. Its values are Victorian, middle-class, and traditional. It's fantasy you can lend to your great grandfather.
I'd actually disagree. The Hobbit is a fun adventure, but by comparison Lord of the Rings is grim and dark - heck, that's how my friends at school described its appeal to me. The undertones of LoTR are of genocide and the end of innocence...and every hero in the story fails and then dies. It's an incredibly pessimistic story. I'd be tempted to suggest that The Lord of the Rings was the original grimdark novel - but I'd probably get lynched if I did.
I don't want to get into the exact nature of Victiorian values, but they aren't about the world being a bright, sunny place.
Though perhaps not as much as H.P. Lovecraft. Been reading him for research purposes... I can't imagine HPL fans will like my views, esp. on the quality of the actual writing of late 1920s works.Lord of the Rings has far darker undertones than many people give it credit for
There were more than one set, and some very much in conflict with each other. For example Christmas Carol, (Dickens) is NOT a Christian story and as well as annoying money grabbing materialists would ALSO have annoyed a wide spectrum of Victorian Christians (which had about as many conflicting world views and the three main incompatible Anglican factions existed then). There is no doubt that Dickens was a reformer.I don't want to get into the exact nature of Victiorian value
With all respect to Moorcock, Elric’s singing slaves just sounds kind of silly to me. It’s arch-villain stuff (Wuh-huh-huh!). I find Tolkien’s view – effectively, that all things are moving towards their end – far more unsettling because it’s not there to show how “dark” one character is – it’s basically true.
To be fair, Moorcock was portraying a decadent civilization, in the tradition of sword and sorcery authors like Howard and Leiber. And his Melniboneans are a memorable invention.
And I'd say for me, one of Tolkien's biggest weaknesses is the blankness of his villains. Sauron is about as textured and memorable a villain as Skeletor from the He-Man cartoons.
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