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Friday, September 2nd, 2022

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The belief that Middle Earth is onlly populated by white characters is not only faulty, it misses the spirit of Tolkien entirely (hollywoodreporter.com)

This title is my modification on the article's subtitle section. It's an opinion piece which pushes back on the beliefs that Tolkien was racist and wanted only white characters.

Yet, there remains the idea that because Tolkien sought to create an English mythology that he intended Middle-earth to be comprised only of white people. This ignores the individuals of color who have populated England throughout its history, and that the first modern Britons had dark skin, based on DNA evidence taken from the Cheddar Man, a 10,000-year-old skeleton discovered in 1903.

And while there's no sense in speculating on the reactions of a dead man who could not possibly fathom the 21st century by the time of his death in 1973, Tolkien was notably anti-racist, even for the time period. Biographers have noted Tolkien was very much opposed to the Aryan ideology popularized by the Nazis, and of colonialism in South Africa. While there are those, as a number of Twitter accounts have to sought to remind me, who believe orcs are intended to be Tolkien's perspective on people of color, there's no evidence from Tolkien's writing or life to justify that (as opposed to, for instance, the wide array of evidence that speaks to the racism of his contemporary H.P. Lovecraft in both his writing and personal life).

But here's the thing: Even though Tolkien's early 20th century progressiveness was not analogous to the progressive attitudes of today, it has no bearing on an adaptation or extension of his works. Things change. The movies and television released in 1954, when The Fellowship of the Ring came out, obviously look very different in terms of casting choices than what we see today. As such, Rings of Power looks different from Peter Jackson's films from 20 years ago. Systems adapt, people formally denied opportunities to showcase their talent are afforded a spotlight in which they can and do earn it. Audiences of color, who have been asked to, and excelled at, empathizing with white people throughout the history of visual media, can wish to see themselves onscreen and see those wishes validated.

9/2/2022 4:41 pm | |
Tags: lord of the rings, rings of power, amazon prime, streaming

Rings of Power

I tweeted the following last night:

I am so excited to be back in Middle Earth and I am looking forward to this show. The first two episodes were great.

9/2/2022 5:19 pm | |
Tags: rings of power, lord of the rings, amazon prime, streaming

I continue to be fascinated by dolphins (smithsonianmag.com)

Not only do dolphins have wingmen, but they form the largest complex social networks of any non-human animal

9/2/2022 5:32 pm | |
Tags: dolphins, marine biology, zoology

"A.P. African American Studies Is Coming to U.S. High Schools" (smithsonianmag.com)

About damn time.

9/2/2022 5:42 pm | |
Tags: us history, black history, education

Interview with the Monopoly World Champion (theguardian.com)

Disclaimer: I work for Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, who are the makers of Monopoly.

People ask for tips and I tell them to buy three houses on each property when you own a complete set. Also, jail is your enemy at the beginning of the game, but your best friend towards the end. By then, if you go to jail, stay there for as long as possible because you can collect money off your properties but you don’t go around the board paying other players. There are also Monopoly “heat maps”, which show the places that are landed on the most.

9/2/2022 5:47 pm | |
Tags: boardgames

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