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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:20 pm 
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And I'm glad he did.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:29 pm 
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And does this fact have any bearing on your claim that "it appears that the roles of female characters are systematically reduced"? (Which was the point of "soli" citing it in the first place, not whether we should be glad of it or not.) And if not, why not? Does this not in fact expand the role of a female character? Again, if not, why not?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:55 pm 
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Does it have some bearing? I suppose so, to some extent. But I don't really see it as Christopher expanding the role of a female character. It was the final text that Tolkien wrote on the subject; it wasn't changed in any way by Christopher to expand Aredhel's role. Maeglin role is certainly expanded at least as much by this text as Aredhel's role.

If in fact it was my argument that Christopher deliberately set out to reduce the roles of women in the book, than his inclusion of this text might well have a fair degree of significance in combating that argument. But that is not my position, and it has never been my position. My position is only that a significant number of editorial choices together have the effect of reducing the role of women in the book. And I don't really see the inclusion of the chapter on Maeglin as significantly changing that opinion.

You know, we can go back and forth on this forever, and I will continue to respond to your questions and comments as best I can. But I think that we can both agree that it is unlikely that we are going to have a meeting of the minds on this issue.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:07 pm 
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Maeglin role is certainly expanded at least as much by this text as Aredhel's role.


There I disagree- Maeglin is really just along for the ride with his mother. She directs the action; her willfulness is the driving force and narrative center both on her trek to Nan Elmoth and again back to Gondolin. This text is about Aredhel, and to a somewhat lesser extent Eöl. Maeglin barely has a speaking part! His significance lies in the future. Despite his being the titular character, this chapter is no more 'about' Maeglin than the Tuor chapter is 'about' Eärendil.

BTW, in this chapter (as in fact you do point out) C T excised Glorfindel, Egalmoth, and Ecthelion- more pruning of minor characters, this time male.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:16 pm 
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Saying that "it appears that the roles of female characters are systematically reduced" (which you write at least twice in the book) is not the same thing as saying that "a significant number of editorial choices together have the effect of reducing the role of women in the book". The former implies deliberateness ("systematic") and comprehensiveness ("female characters" -- not, I note, "some female characters" -- and, again, "systematic"). The latter, while still arguable,* at least avoids those implications. It's a great pity that you didn't write the latter instead of the former.

* Sc., as to what constitutes a reduction in role, and as to whether this reduction is at all remarkable when compared with reductions made to male characters, or with reductions made to minor characters generally. Unless of course your argument is that reducing any female character in any way is wrong simply because they are female.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:36 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Aelfwine, I think you have made your point. I enjoy reading these discussions and learning more about Tolkien, but I do not enjoy the manner in which you are belaboring this issue.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:03 pm 
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Opinion noted. Please feel free to skip any and all posts you see with my name on it. I won't take offense.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:04 pm 
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This is indeed becoming tiresome.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:10 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Aelfwine, you are arguing about this with an aggresiveness that seems personal. Is there any particular reason this bothers you so much?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Actually, Aelfwine, I'm interested in your opinions and views, though I will skip your posts if you continue to post in such a belligerent manner.

Unfortunate, as I'm sure I'd learn quite a bit from you.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:28 pm 
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Aelfwine wrote:
Opinion noted. Please feel free to skip any and all posts you see with my name on it. I won't take offense.


:D

Sorta kills the ol' tone of the thread, though, chum. :D

No offense, you understand. :love: :hug: :love: :hug: :love: :hug: :love:

:D

Not too many hugs and kisses, I hope. :wooper: I don't know you very well as yet. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:41 pm 
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I don't think Aelfwine was being belligerent, and has continued to make interesting points IMO.


Last edited by Galin on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:52 pm 
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In Aelfwine's (partial) defense- he has on far too many occasions in the past had to defend CT from really, really malicious slanders and gutter vituperation from people who were, not to put too fine a point on it, right bastards. This I think has shortened the fuse.

There's no malice in Voronwë. In my opinion this particular hypothesis of his is in error, and I can see how some might take offense at it- but, Aelfwine, you've made your point. Hammering away in anger is the province of the Right Bastards whom we both scorn, no? Please don't take the road of Those Who Shall Remain Nameless.

:)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:52 pm 
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I don't think s/he's been belligerent either, just, as I said, oddly aggressive. It feels to me like Aelfwine is interrogating a witness in court, not having a conversation with some fellow Tolkien fans.


You want the truth!! You can't handle the truth!!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:49 pm 
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You know, if a statistical analysis is that important, how about this...

Someone give me the data and I'll run the numbers. I don't think what's being fussed about is going to be that hard to pull out. The null hypothesis is that all minor characters were reduced, the alternative is the women took a harder hit. It should be a simple test to run, assuming you can come up with a method of quantifying a character reduction that everyone agrees on. I have never heard of running stats on a work of literature (beyond, say, the best-seller lists and such) but humanities isn't my field.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:45 pm 
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While doing so will obviously be open to charges of "belaboring the point" or being "belligerent", I'll answer "yovargas" question (since s/he asked). After which, I'll ignore all posts that are ad hominem or otherwise irrelevant to the points at issue. Or, if asked by either Doug (as moderator) or "soli" (as friend) to depart the forum, I'll be happy to do that too. I thought it best to make my criticisms of Doug's claims here, where he and I and other interested parties can hash things out directly; but I can certainly do so elsewhere.

"yovargas", I consider it a very serious thing to publicly charge anyone with misogyny, unless there is very substantial, unambiguous evidence for doing so. Now, for reasons already explained (or "belabored"), I think it was quite reasonable for me to interpret Doug's statement that "it appears that the roles of female characters are systematically reduced" as implying that Christopher Tolkien deliberately reduced the roles of female characters simply because they are female -- which, I'm sorry, simply is a charge of misogyny. (Nor am I the only one to have interpreted it thus.) Given that, and given what I view as the gravely flawed basis on which he makes the charge, I felt (feel) fully justified to challenge him on it. And so no, "yovargas", I don't consider this aspect of the discussion to be just "having a conversation with some fellow Tolkien fans". Public charges of a serious nature invite serious and even contentious responses.

(I remind everyone that Doug himself wrote at the start of this discussion that "I for one understand Carl's indignation. I certainly expected that to be the most controversial part of my book, and I'm sure that Carl won't be the only person upset about it." I've told you why I consider this a serious matter; perhaps Doug will explain why he "expected [it] to be the most controversial part of my book" and that it would "upset" people, if in fact all he meant to say was that "the role of (some) female characters was reduced", which isn't at all controversial, unless one means that they were singled out deliberately.)

Now, Doug says he does not in fact think, and did not mean to imply, that Christopher deliberately reduced the role of females. But I only know that now because I questioned Doug's meaning (or as some would have it, "belabored the point") until he made that fact explicit.

Which brings me now to explain what I see as the basic form a discussion of contentious claims has:

1) Someone (A) makes a contentious claim.

2) Someone (B) contends with the point, by pointing out flaws and/or by asking relevant questions in order to probe the point further.

3) A can now respond in one of four ways:
a) Concede that the flaw exists and/or answer the questions
b) Disagree that the flaw exists and explain why
c) Disagree without explanation
d) Remain silent

If A disagrees and explains why, then B is entitled to respond to that and ask other questions, and the process continues.

If however A chooses any other response, such as silence or simply disagreeing with B without explaining why, then B is (I think) entitled to ask (once) for a response or an explanation, but if neither is forthcoming will then drop the matter (at least within that forum). HOWEVER, if A makes the same claim again within B's earshot (e.g., in a different thread and/or in response to a different party in the same thread), then B is perfectly entitled also to make again his criticism and/or pose his questions. And if he does so, it is both unfair and a distraction to accuse B of "belaboring the point" because of it.

Discussions then have one of three outcomes: mutual agreement that the contentious claim is in fact valid; mutual agreement that the claim is in fact invalid; or continued disagreement about the validity of the claim, but letting it lie until and unless the same contentious claim is reiterated. I've always considered the first two outcomes to be the most desirable and inherently worth pursuing, but the third is also acceptable given the proviso.

Now, I don't think that I have even once replied to anything Doug has written by simply reiterating my exact same points and questions, not even when Doug has responded to one of my posts by simply disagreeing without explanation. Every one of my posts either raises new questions, makes a new point, or responds to some new statement by Doug. When Doug has responded to a question or provided an explanation, there has always been an advancement in understanding (certainly on my part). Others may not see this, but I certainly do not feel obligated to give up my right to respond or question, or to ask (once) for a response or an explanation, simply because someone else doesn't like it.

I was in fact perfectly willing to leave the matter right where I left it, "Lalaith", in my last post before your first post (which was itself occasioned only by Doug's restatement of his own position without yet either acknowledging or refuting my claim that what he wrote in his book makes a quite different claim from what he wrote here) -- unless Doug responded with new points or questions of his own -- and even if all Doug did was to once again disagree without answer or explanation.

There. Since I was asked.

If you don't hear from me again, consider this goodbye, all.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:37 pm 
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Aelfwine wrote:
(I remind everyone that Doug himself wrote at the start of this discussion that "I for one understand Carl's indignation. I certainly expected that to be the most controversial part of my book, and I'm sure that Carl won't be the only person upset about it." I've told you why I consider this a serious matter; perhaps Doug will explain why he "expected [it] to be the most controversial part of my book" and that it would "upset" people, if in fact all he meant to say was that "the role of (some) female characters was reduced", which isn't at all controversial, unless one means that they were singled out deliberately.)


Carl, I said that I expected it to be the most controversial part of the book, because I do think it is controversial to say that the role of female characters was systematically reduced. I don't have any problem with you challenging me on the issue. The only post of yours that I felt was clearly inappropriate was the fake news release, which came across to me (and others) as very snarky. You assert that you did not intend it that way, and I accept that assertion. Perhaps there is a bit of irony here in that I assert that I did not intend to imply that Christopher deliberately set out to reduce the role of female characters, but you don't seem willing to accept that assertion. That, I think is what people (including your friend solicitr) are talking about regarding belaboring the point. It seems like you keep coming back to that point and repeating it in different ways, as if you expect me to have a different answer if you just ask the question a different way.

Well, I'm sorry but the answer is still the same. I make no pretentions to know what was in Christopher's mind when he produced the published Silmarillion. I only state what in my opinion the affect of the edits made is. That opinion is certainly open to challenge, and certainly a viable case can be made against it. But in response to your repeated statement that I imply that Christopher deliberately set out to reduce the roles of women, I can only say, again, that that was not my intention, that I don't know what his intentions were, and since I don't know him at all, I have no way of knowing what his intentions were. I know that you in fact know him well, and I am perfectly willing to accept your assurances that such was not his intention.

I certainly do not want you to leave. As I have stated before, I greatly value your knowledge, and I also value your passion. I have little doubt that you would have plenty of other worthwhile views to express about AR, some positive, some less so.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:50 pm 
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I did not intend to imply that Christopher deliberately set out to reduce the role of female characters


I'm not so clear on the distinction between "systematically" and "deliberately."

sys⋅tem⋅at⋅ic [sis-tuh-mat-ik]
–adjective
1. having, showing, or involving a system, method, or plan


Although I don't make the leap to 'misogyny', I can't see how the book can be read in any other way than as saying CT removed or reduced females on purpose. One doesn't proceed systematically by accident.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:53 pm 
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One can proceed systematically based on unconscious biases, however. I think that's what Voronwë is getting at.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:04 pm 
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"Bias" can be a loaded word to non-scientists. It's not synonymous with prejudice; it can just mean an experiment that comes out a little closer to one answer than another because of the person making decisions about the data, who often has no idea it's happening and would be shocked to be told of it. It can be entirely unintentional.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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