4 thoughts on “Episode 51.5 – J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Two Towers” with returning guest Daniel J. Bishop”

  1. Love your podcast. Keep it up, guys.

    However, I do want to comment on Moorcock’s critique of Tolkien. I think you guys might have minimized this issue.

    I grew up on Tolkien, from the age of ten, on. Tolkien was my religion for many years of my life, but, I think that Moorcock is absolutely right. I don’t believe that Tolkien was a malicious racist, but his work was nevertheless imbued with it. He obviously was not a literal Fascist, but race as a vector of good and evil pervades his work from beginning to end.

    Racism can be found in much of the literature of the era, but Tolkien, I believe, did a great disservice to his fans by cementing cosmological good and evil into his concepts of race. In an era when the real world was struggling with and coming to terms with our history of racism and it’s consequences, Tolkien gave us a fantasy world where we could freely indulge our basest xenophobic impulses in imagining a world where there is a race that is nearly all good and superior and there is another race that is nearly all bad and inferior.

    As a mixed race person, I probably have a harder time dismissing this. I loved Tolkien as a child, but as an adult I can see the deep harm of his mythology.

    I cannot agree that Tolkien’s token “humanizing” of one or two individuals of a race he created as demonized inferiors in any way absolves him. It does not.

    He promotes the idea of racial superiority and belief in racial good and racial evil. He aimed to fuse his love of pagan myth with his Christian beliefs, but in the process, I believe, he created a socially irresponsible nightmare. The old pagans may have believed in might makes right but they did not imbue it with this Christian idea cosmological good and evil.

    As a person of Eastern extraction, I find his denigration of Easterlings to be offensive, but I can forgive him that as the bias of his time and place. I actually believe the good and evil imbued in his fantastical races to have had a far more problematic influence on ensuing generations of fans. What justifies guilt-free murder hoboism more that totally demonizing a “race” of sentient beings?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since we are going to have Daniel J. Bishop back to discuss The Return of the King, do you mind if we read your comment on the air? I think your perspective is important to share.


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