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  • Good and Evil in Stark Contrast

    Posted by demimasque on August 4th, 2006 (All posts by )

    For generations, fantasy literature had been thought of as a not-very-worthy genre. Lumped together with that, perhaps, are science fiction and superhero comics. However, all three have hit the big screens with astounding success in recent years. Fjordman has some ideas as to why that is:

    Maybe I�m reading too much into it, but is the sudden reappearance of superheroes exemplified by Superman, Spider-Man and swarms of other similar characters a sign of a renewed sense of vulnerability and insecurity in the West following the Jihad attacks of 9/11? Another closely related meta-trend is the renewed popularity of fantasy literature. In online magazine The American Thinker, blogger Bookworm has some interesting comments to the surge in fantasy literature and some of the values we are presented there. J.K. Rowling�s enormously successful books about teenage wizard Harry Potter have been belittled as merely �silly books for children.� But as Bookworm notes, some of the later books such as Order of the Phoenix are much darker than its predecessors. It �centers on Harry�s desperate efforts to convince the Powers That Be that evil once again walks among them. Only with tremendous effort is he able to rally some believers to his side and prepare them for war.� Sounds familiar, doesn�t it?

    Indeed it does! Fjordman also takes a shot at academics for their relativistic attitudes, by postulating how they might have psychoanalyzed the fantasy world:

    In this age of Multiculturalism and cultural relativism, the only places we can identify evil and fight it are in fictional worlds, be that the Middle Earth of Tolkien or the Hogwarts of J.K. Rowling. Maybe that is why it is such a relief to visit them, if only for a few hours. In the real West, our Universities would advise us to negotiate with Sauron and identify his legitimate grievances. Our media would say that the real reason why the Orcs kill people is because they suffer from institutionalized racism and Orcophobia. We would all get sensitivity training, invite Orcs to settle in our major cities by the millions and teach our children about the richness of Orc culture.

    Isn’t it our educated betters that first pooh-poohed the genre? Fortunately, all is not lost. After all, both J.R.R. Tolkien, and his colleague and compatriot C.S. Lewis, were academics themselves. Proof, perhaps, that in a world with many fake knock-offs and mediocre wannabes, there can still be found brilliant diamonds in the rough.

    (Hat-tip: Mad Minerva)

    [Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

     

    3 Responses to “Good and Evil in Stark Contrast”

    1. david foster Says:

      I wonder if Lewis and Tolkein could have succeeded as academics in the current climate…or, indeed, if they would have even been interested in pursuing careers in today’s academia.

    2. Jim G Says:

      I wonder if perhaps a large part of Tolkien’s and Lewis’ motivation to create their fantasies was the opportunity to escape from the the academic world of relativity, compromise and pettyness into a world with honor, courage and worthy battles. Perhaps the difference is that they were able to get their work published before it was nitpicked to death.

    3. Bruce Chang Says:

      Perhaps. Tolkien and Lewis thrived in a time when academia was finishing its transition to its modern decay. This was a time when social Darwinism had only barely been exposed for the load of shite it is; and yet Communism, another pseudo-scientific sociological creed, was thriving.