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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:07 pm 
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*groan*

I didn't know how else to put it. The alternatives were even more technical.

Clearly, I need to get out more. :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:09 pm 
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No, you just need to learn to stop thinking and writing with precision. It's a terrible habit, really it is.

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


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:09 pm 
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soli (and Carl). There are two places where I use the word "systematically" and in both cases it is modified by the words "appears" or "seemingly" ("This small but significant change is the first of a number of occasions in which it appears that the roles of female characters are systematically lessened" "another small example of the seemingly systematic weakening of female characters".) In the conclusion where I discuss the pattern as a whole, I simply state that the net result of the edits is a significant reduction of the female presence in the book. Can I see why you (or Carl) would come away with the believe that I meant to imply that Christopher intentionally reduced the female presence? Yes. But I was very careful to state that this was the impression that the edits give, not that it was Christopher's intention to set out and purposefully reduce the female presence. And I think that is made clear by a careful reading of what I wrote.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
No, you just need to learn to stop thinking and writing with precision. It's a terrible habit, really it is.


B-b-but that's part of my job... *whimper* ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:55 pm 
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Christopher Tolkien is a product of his environment, meaning he is what a man of his sort, brought up in that manner in that era, would be. I doubt that he was intentionally "misogynist", but in fact the prevailing view of women led to misogynistic attitudes and behaviors. It would have been surprising, to me at least, if he had been otherwise than he was.

I have long admired Tolkien, meaning J. R. R. Tolkien, despite what I saw as his views on class, and about women. Those views do not lessen the value of his work, merely place it quite firmly in its era or rather its author's era. It is foolish, and wrong, to see LOTR or any other work of art with modern eyes and be irritated or offended by what was unintentional and "natural".

The same mindset that produced centuries of medical texts, for instance, with the male body as "the norm" and the female body as a mere afterthought also produced centuries of art wherein women were accessories to men or unimportant except as objects. Nothing could be wrong, therefore, in ignorning or reducing a woman's part in anything, nothing of importance was being touched.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:58 pm 
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Quote:
also produced centuries of art wherein women were accessories to men or unimportant except as objects.


Except that the single most popular subject of painting in those centuries was the Virgin Mary.

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It is foolish, and wrong, to see LOTR or any other work of art with modern eyes and be irritated or offended by what was unintentional and "natural".


Amen.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:59 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
Quote:
also produced centuries of art wherein women were accessories to men or unimportant except as objects.


Except that the single most popular subject of painting in those centuries was the Virgin Mary.

Quote:
It is foolish, and wrong, to see LOTR or any other work of art with modern eyes and be irritated or offended by what was unintentional and "natural".


Amen.


Thank you for making my point, solictr. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:02 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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I know next to nothing about this stuff, never having read HoME or other "outside" books, indeed only having a vague idea (and nearly no interest) about what it is. But it seems to me like the debate is not a statistical one but, as it should be, a literary one: upon reading HoME (and whatever else), do you get a significant impression of feminine presence, yes or no? How does that impression compare to the feminine presence of the Sil? Does the Sil give a significantly smaller impression of feminine presence? If so, why do you think that is?

Those are all literary questions, not statistics questions and as such are very much open to subjective opinions. What Voronwë sounds like he did was what many of us do when looking at a painting: "I get the impression the artist was trying to do X, Y, and Z." Since most of us don't know the painter we likely have no idea if we're right, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about it. I think it's called art criticism.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:08 pm 
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[This was written and posted before I saw that Doug had made another post, which I've only skimmed, so please don't interpret this post as a response to Doug's most recent post preceding this one. Carl]

Doug, I do accept your claim that you did not mean to imply deliberateness. But I nonetheless maintain that what you wrote in your book does in fact imply deliberateness, and very strongly, even though that was not your intent. This is the point that you have yet to either agree with or refute. Instead, when I gave the reasons why I read it as meaning something other than what you intended, your only reply was: "I understand that that is your opinion. You have made it abundantly clear", which was designed only to end discussion.

And that is also your prerogative; but when you then offered another statement the plain meaning of which was (as is my still unanswered contention) at odds with the plain meaning of what you wrote in your book, I felt entitled to point this out and to ask once again exactly how the two statements can be reconciled (or, if you agree that they cannot, to at least acknowledge that it is not unreasonable for me to see a discrepancy in them, again, even if unintentional). That is the point still under issue (because still unaddressed), not the issue of intent.

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
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 agree, and I do so precisely because the word "systematically" implies deliberateness. I accept that you intended no such implication. But I nonetheless maintain that it will be read to imply that, and that it is not unreasonable to do so.

Unpacking this a bit: it is certainly uncontroversial that some of the editorial changes Christopher made were to descriptions of females, and to plot elements in which female character were solely or prominently involved. You've clearly established that as a fact.

Arguable, but certainly possible (and in certain cases undeniable), is the claim that these changes reduced the role of female characters. But I don't see this, either, as at all "controversial", nor do I see any reason anyone should get "upset" about it. It simply boils down to which of the (unquestionable) changes in fact represent reductions in role.

But once you add the qualifier "systematic", then we have controversy, because it implies deliberateness: even though unintended, I maintain that it very clearly does imply it.

So I locate my own expectation for controversy fully in that one word: "systematically".

So I ask:

Where do you locate the controversy in this statement?

What did you mean by "systematically"? Did you perhaps only mean "uniformly" or "consistently" (which could indeed arise without intent; though as you know neither I nor "soli" agrees that there is a uniform reduction of female roles, for reasons stated; though again not a point that should or, I think, will "upset" anyone.)

Do you think it was/is unreasonable for someone to interpret "systematically" as implying deliberateness (again, while granting that you nonetheless did not intend it)? (And whether you do or not, I think you should be prepared to make a case for it, because I won't be the only one to interpret it that way.)


Last edited by Aelfwine on Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:19 pm 
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:bang:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:39 pm 
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Carl, I think I have answered you in the post that I made that you had not yet read when you made your last post as much as I am going to be able to answer you. I'll wait until you have had an opportunity to read and comment on that post before saying anything further.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:10 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
soli (and Carl). There are two places where I use the word "systematically" and in both cases it is modified by the words "appears" or "seemingly" ("This small but significant change is the first of a number of occasions in which it appears that the roles of female characters are systematically lessened" "another small example of the seemingly systematic weakening of female characters".)


Yes, I noted both qualifiers (and I think I have quoted the "appears" pretty uniformly). I don't think it was ever disputed that your opinion that "it appears that the roles of female characters are systematically lessened" derives from your interpretation of your catalogue of changes. But it remains the case that your interpretation is (twice, and earliest) described as a systematic lessening/weakening of female characters. Again, I maintain, this is not the same thing as saying that:

Quote:
the net result of the edits is a significant reduction of the female presence in the book.


I do not and cannot agree with the former statement, whether "systematic" is taken to include deliberateness or not; but (setting aside the qualifier "significant" as an at least arguable subjective), I could agree to the latter statement. So had this latter statement been what you wrote throughout, I might still have had qualms about it, but I would not have taken so strong an exception as I did to your first two claims.

But I am satisfied now that you do in fact understand, and accurately, precisely why I took strong exception to the first form of your claim, that you accept that it was not unreasonable for me to do so, and why it will not be surprising to see others do the same. (Though as we see from this thread there will also be those who will read it as I did and be more than happy to accept the implication....)

So (and speaking of which), I'm going to spare poor "vison"'s head and leave it at that.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:25 am 
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Well, at the risk of causing a few more bumps on vison's head (since I happen to know that she is a very tough lady), I'll venture one more brief response.

Quote:
But I am satisfied now that you do in fact understand, and accurately, precisely why I took strong exception to the first form of your claim, that you accept that it was not unreasonable for me to do so, and why it will not be surprising to see others do the same.


I think I actually made it pretty clear in my very first post in response to this issue that I understood why you took exception to what I wrote, that I didn't think it was unreasonable for you to do so, and that I expected that others would do so as well. Nonetheless, I think that this dicussion (while uncomfortable at time for me) has been valuable, and I hope that you feel that it has been as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:36 am 
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Oh, Doug Doug Doug....

Yes, you said in your first post that you understood and accepted etc.; but the rest of that first post showed me that you really didn't. What's more, if you actually had understood and accepted my precise reasons and basis for objecting, you would not have then gone on to write:

Quote:
In regard to your substantive comments, nowhere to do I express an opinion that Christopher is misogynist, only that the net result of the edits give the affect of reducing the role of women in the book. I understand that it is your opinion that such is implied between the lines, so to speak, and I don't challenge your right to express that opinion, but I don't think it is supported by the facts.


I maintained against this then (and still) that my opinion (that your actual statement implied deliberateness, and so misogyny -- again, even though you did not intend to do so) was (and is) "supported by the facts", and that you in fact did not say "only that the net result of the edits give the affect of reducing the role of women in the book". And I've been trying to establish just these things ever since.

And I thought I had.

Man, even I'm tired of this now.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:26 am 
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Then stop. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:31 am 
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Must ... resist ... responding ... further.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:35 am 
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Look . . . it's Halley's comet. . . .

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


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:43 am 
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No, no, it's not. :shock: It's Morgoth, waving his flashlight around. :D

First impression: an excellent layout, clear charts, etc. Since it is meant to be a reference work, it is, in fact, easy to refer to. I like that. I also like the pictures.

But then, I used to love the log tables, so I might be sorta biased.

I read about half of it while Oz practiced baseball. I admit this is a very quick read and the information is a blur, but I can see that if I was to sit with my copy and read the Silmarillion this book would make some previously muddled bits less muddled, in one sense. In another . . . . well, we shall leave it at that for now.

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Last edited by vison on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:46 am 
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Darn. And here I was hoping for a Silmaril.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:56 pm 
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I have two comments about this discussion. The first concerns CT's work on The Sil. As I stated in my post about AR in the "Woohoo" thread, after I waded through HoME I was (and remain) tremendously impressed by the job CT did in constructing the published Sil out of the enormous amount of (sometimes conflicting) material his father left and working it into a consistent coherent whole (even if after reading AR, I wish he had retained some of the things he left out). I believe that just about anyone who has read HoME would share this opinion.

Second - Aelfwine has argued strongly about Voronwë's statements on the reduction of female characters in The Sil. After reading AR 10 days ago and before the disagreement between V and Aelfwine was raised this week, my impression of what V said was - he was implying that CT reduced the role of females on purpose, particularly by the word "systematically", even if it is modified by "appears" or "seemingly". V may not have actually meant that CT did this intentionally but the overall impression I got from the language used was that it was (probably) intentional. I understand that V has said that he did not really mean it that way but that is the general impression I got.


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