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October 24, 2006

Comments

J.R. Stoodley

Colbert pronounces "Sauron" and "Gollum" strangely. Funny stuff in any case. Dumb thing for Santorum to say though. He's gone.

J.R. Stoodley

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the real meaning of the analogy is that Iraq keeps the mind of the terrorists off the United States right? Stupid.

bill912

I think what he meant is that we're going to be fighting Islamo-fascists somewhere and that its better to fight them in Iraq rather than in the USA. He'd have been better of just saying that.

Bill

I think the real meaning of the analogy is not that the war in Iraq keeps the terrorist's minds off the U.S., but that it keeps the terrorists themselves off U.S. soil.

I thought the analogy was fine, as far as it goes. But like most analogies it breaks down beyond a certain point and this one was ripe for picking so it may have been a misstep. If Santorum loses, however, it certainly won't be because of that. He (Santorum) has quite a ways to go before he gets as dumb as his opponent.

JoAnna

His analogy is flawed, though, because if the U.S. = Mordor, then logically George W. Bush = Sauron.

Which brings to mind this photo...

Bill

bill912 is too fast for me!

Mary Kay

Joanna, Colbert misreads Sanctorum's analogy although I'd have to have it in front of me to say where specifically.

I am voting for Santorium! He is the solid Pro-life and Catholic choice....!

Alberich

In the past, I noted an implicit analogy - people who said Iraq "distracted" us from the GWOT were treating the U.S. government as Sauron, whose Great Red Eye could only focus on one thing at a time (his captains quailed at Udun when he turned his eye to Mount Doom...)

JoAnna

The full quote is:

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It’s being drawn to Iraq and it’s not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Rereading the quote, it sounds like he's saying the U.S. = Mount Doom, since that's what the Eye is being drawn away from. Mount Doom is in Mordor, so U.S. = Mordor. Ergo, Bush = Sauron.

Mary Kay

Joanna, thanks, now I see where he got that. Since Sanctorum used a geographic reference, it's fair that Colbert did also.

But both of them are those Tolkien referred to when he said in the Forward of the trilogy: "Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations..."

As usual, I think Tolkien the wisest of those quoted.

Mary Kay

That didn't sound quite right. I was referring to people using LOTR to make a point on somethign topical. That Sanctorum meant that if our troops weren't fighting in Iraq, there'd be more attacks on US soil makes sense to me.

Paul H

I think that Colbert and JoAnna are reading more into the analogy than Senator Santorum likely intended. I think he simply meant that Iraq keeps the terrorists distracted, so that they focus on our troops in Iraq, rather than focusing on the U.S. homeland. I don't think that he meant for any further analogies to be drawn, such as equating the hobbitts with actual political figures, equating the U.S. with Mount Doom, etc. That's the way I understood it anyway.

Though I have to admit that Colbert's identification of John McCain as Gollum was pretty funny. :-)

Bill

As long as we're being mean: Gollum = James Carville. And the cave troll as Ted Kennedy was just masterfully wicked.

bill912

"Gollum=James Carville"? I'm not sure Gollum would like gumbo.

bill912

"Give us fish now! Keep stinking okra!"

Michael

That Sanctorum meant that if our troops weren't fighting in Iraq, there'd be more attacks on US soil makes sense to me.

Ok. What would Catholic teaching tell us about the morality of destroying another country which was not directly threatening to draw an enemy into that struggle and keep them away from its own territory...assuming that were even true?

Esau

"Ok. What would Catholic teaching tell us about the morality of destroying another country which was not directly threatening to draw an enemy into that struggle and keep them away from its own territory...assuming that were even true?"

You might want to consult with the 'Just War' theory on this.

However, in terms of the Iraq War, mind you, I am not saying I am in favor of it nor am I saying I am against it here, but simply that there are those who would say to your destroying another country, that the U.S. was there to actually liberate it from a tyrannical government (albeit, the pretext then was one revolving around the combat against terrorism). If you might recall, the several horrific atrocities committed by Hussein to his fellow countrymen including members of his own family.

J.R. Stoodley

I havn't been following the Pennsylvania campaigns much since I don't live there, but isn't the Democratic candidate (I forget his name) also pro-life? Does anyone know how pro-life compared with Santorum?

I also saw a sort of debate between the two on a news program and I was very impressed with the other guy and dissappointed with Santorum. Santorum also made an ass of himself on The Daily Show. His appearances on EWTN were good but I'm afraid his main concern there was getting the Catholic vote, though maybe I'm being too cynical about that. In any case the last numbers I saw showed almost no chance of him winning.

J.R. Stoodley

Regarding Tolkien and allegory, while he disliked allegory in all its manifestations he believed in aplicability. His story could be applied to any situation the reader wanted it to be applied to. This was the freedom of the reader not the tyrany of the author over the meaning of the story. Thus I don't have a problem with Santorum, or Colbert in jest, applying the story to a modern-day situation, except that Santorum's comparison was bone-headed.

The war in Iraq was not waged to distract the attention of the terrorists or to make them all go to Iraq instead of America. It was waged because President Bush falsely believed that Iraq was a major threat to our national security. It continues to be waged now because we don't want Iraq to have a civil war out of which would emerge a regime worse that Saddam ever was. Focus on the reality Santorum, not some mythology that the war in Iraq is actively making America safer (except again by preventing a probebly Iran-like state from forming). The war in Iraq has pissed the Muslims off even more and made the world even more dangerous.

Michael

If you might recall, the several horrific atrocities committed by Hussein to his fellow countrymen including members of his own family.

A number of excuses were presented for the invasion both before and after it occured to provide some cover of justification. Those are irrelevent to Santorum's argument for why the war must continue. My question really only addressed the narrow application of Catholic moral theology to his justification. Giving Senator Santorum the benefit of doubt as to sincerity, the question can perhaps be more succintly phrase as, "Is it morally acceptable to sacrifice foreigners, perhaps a large number of them, to distract an enemy away from attacking targets closer to home?"

I ask this because it seems to me that Santorum, who is portrayed as an icon of Catholic morality, is making a morally abhorent argument.

Mary Kay

Such strong reactions for comments made in keeping with Colbert's humor.

Michael, I made the comment that you quoted, but I'm not going to get drawn into a political discussion.

JRS, perhaps I did not explain clearly enough. My comment had less to do with either Sanctorum or Colbert and everything to do with bemusement that a comedian's use of LOTR is understood by everyone in the audience.

I read LOTR at a time when it was almost a secret world to escape to, that others knew and many more did not. Perhaps I was bemoaning Middle Earth becoming a mass appeal phenomenon. In one of his letters, Tolkien wondered how people read into his story what they did.

Esau

"Those are irrelevent to Santorum's argument for why the war must continue."

I was simply just addressing the part destroying another country in your statement (nothing else) and saying that there are actually certain individuals out there who would say that the U.S. didn't destroy the country (i.e., Iraq) but rather liberated it from tyranny.

Justin

The war in Iraq has pissed the Muslims off even more and made the world even more dangerous.

The world was dangerous before we even realized we needed to start defending ourselves and others.

The terrorist threat to our Nation did not emerge on September 11th, 2001. Long before that day, radical, freedom-hating terrorists declared war on America and on the civilized world. The attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, the hijacking of the Achille Lauro in 1985, the rise of al-Qaida and the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the attacks on American installations in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996, the East Africa embassy bombings of 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, these and other atrocities were part of a sustained, systematic campaign to spread devastation and chaos and to murder innocent Americans. -Dr. Condoleezza Rice's Opening Remarks to Commission on Terrorist Attacks


Yes... justin you are right.

I am just sorry that (then) soon to be-Nat'l Security Advisor Dr. Rice missed the evening news in the late 1990's when al-Quida guys on trial for the above mentioned attacks said that they were going to fly jet airplanes into buildings.

I saw and heard it but I didn't have authority to do anything and the guys who did were on vacation for four of the first eight months leading up to 09.11

yes... we are doomed... Bush did find the ring... D'oh! Frodo!

Santiago

when you have time, could you post your opinions on the lastest BSG episodes?

David B.

" isn't the Democratic candidate (I forget his name) also pro-life?"

He is also pro-homosexual unions.

Martin

"Tolkien wondered how people read into his story what they did."

Does this mean his story isn't really an allegory of the Bible?

Mary Kay

Martin, no not an allegory of the Bible, but Tolkien's Catholicism was so much a part of him that it just naturally shows up in the story.

Esau

"Martin, no not an allegory of the Bible, but Tolkien's Catholicism was so much a part of him that it just naturally shows up in the story."

Mary Kay has a very good point here since:

"...But, at the end of the day, we may, with Tolkien’s approval, speak of the saga as a Catholic masterpiece. A postscript to this might be the observation that no Protestant could conceivably have written this saga, since it is profoundly “sacramental.” That is, redemption is achieved wholly via physical means–cf The Incarnation, Golgotha, the Resurrection, and the Ascension–and the tale is sprinkled with “sacramentals,” such as lembas, athelas, Galadriel’s phial of light, mithril, etc."

http://www.traces-cl.com/feb02/inmiddle.html

Jamie Beu

I havn't been following the Pennsylvania campaigns much since I don't live there, but isn't the Democratic candidate (I forget his name) also pro-life? Does anyone know how pro-life compared with Santorum?

Maggie Gallagher had a good answer for this question in her article, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucmg/20061018/cm_ucmg/whyelectingricksantorummatters>"Why Electing Rick Santorum Matters". She says:
If Bob Casey is so pro-life, why is it so hard to find something on his Web site or someone from his campaign headquarters -- the janitor, maybe? I'm not proud -- willing to blurt out what he means by it?

J.R. Stoodley

I would recommend Steve Greydanus' analyses of the LOTR movies (and book). He does a great job of pointing out the typology in the books, often brought out even more in the movies, without falling into the trap of saying anyone or anything actually represents a Biblical figure or sacrament.

For instance there are definite connections to be drawn between the Priestly, Prophetic, and Kingly missions of Christ and the characters of Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragorn, and all three (Sam too) have distinctively Christlike qualities, ant events hinting at death and resurrection but none actually is or represents Christ. Frodo for example is also a poor sinner who basically fails in the end, the victory only comming essentially through a providential "accident".

Similarly lembas is not the Eucharist, but it is hard to believe Tolkien did not have the Eucharist somewhat in mind when he wrote about it.

Also neither Galadriel nor Elbereth (Varda) are Mary (the former is far from sinless especially in the distant past and the latter is ultimately an angel) but both reflect Tolkien's devotion to Mary.

David B.

"Frodo for example is also a poor sinner who basically fails in the end, the victory only comming essentially through a providential "accident"."

Tolkien rejected the idea that Frodo sinned in his failure, but suggested that Frodo carried the ring longer and farther than anyone else could have, and that in the end Frodo actually enabled the destruction of the ring.

David B.

That is not to say that Divine Providence didn't take over in the end, but that Frodo, even in his failure, completed his part in the quest.

Esau

That is not to say that Divine Providence didn't take over in the end, but that Frodo, even in his failure, completed his part in the quest.

All but by the Grace of God, no doubt. A kind of Pauline message, don't you think?

J.R. Stoodley

Esau, I think you're on to something. Ultimately no matter how much natural effort we put forth the great quest will never be accomplished without the grace of God.

However, I can't accept that Frodo did not sin in at the end not only failing to throw the ring into the lava (that may well have been beyond his mental capablity) but claiming the ring as his own and putting it on. If Tolkien really said that this was not a sin then I think he made a mistake.

Yes, once the story left his pen to some degree the author can not say anything he wants about it and have it be true. As a clearer example he could not say Sauron was really the protagonist of the story and have that be true. If he wanted Frodo not to sin he shouldn't have had him sin. Sure Frodo may have been sufficiently affected by outside forces (the ring), under sufficient stress, etc. for the sin not to have been mortal (and I'm not sure it would constitute grave matter anyway, were the situation real) but I think some degree of sin was commited. He finally gave in to the overwhelming temptation and aligned his will to that of the Ring.

I prefer the books, but the movie version of the episode, with Frodo almost falling into the lava with Gollum and the Ring, definitely suggests (quite deliberately I suspect) that the claiming of the Ring as his own was the equivalent of a mortal sin (though in another way you could see the entire bearing of the Ring as mortal sin). He is headed for the firey pit and it would be just if he fell into it (and from his facial expressions he seems to know that) but after making a final desperate decision in his weakness to try to live he is pulled out by a friend.

Esau

Actually, J.R., you're reading of this makes sense in a way that even in Scripture we find where it tells us that we must persevere to the end.

Mt:24:13: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Mt:10:22: And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mk:13:13: And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Heb:3:6: But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Heb:3:14: For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Heb:6:11: And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

1Pt:1:13: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Publius

and I'm not sure it would constitute grave matter anyway, were the situation real

Attempting to claim demonic power (the Ring contained Sauron's power and essense, and we know what he was) as one's own might not constitute grave sin?

Esau

I think J.R. was trying to point out mitigating factors sufficiently affected by outside forces (the ring), under sufficient stress, etc that from his view might make this somewhat of an extenuating circumstance as far as Frodo is concerned.

My take from J.R.'s last post was the importance of persevering to the end.

Publius

Esau,

Re-read what he wrote: Sure Frodo may have been sufficiently affected by outside forces (the ring), under sufficient stress, etc. for the sin not to have been mortal (and I'm not sure it would constitute grave matter anyway, were the situation real)

It is clear that the parenthetical remark is apart from external circumstances.

Publius

Incidentally, in the previous post I should have written "grave matter," not "grave sin" at the end.

Esau

Point taken -- although, as I've said, the final episode as regards Frodo, for me at least, all the more accentuates the importance of persevering to the end. But, then again, it is fiction! ;^)

WOW! It's amazing how this thread suddenly went from a serious political discussion about Santorum to strictly about LOTR!

David B.

J.R.,

Tolkien is the most qualified (created)person judge the moral state of a hero he himself created. I qoute from page 233 of "the letters of J.R.R.Tolkien," Houghton Mifflin, edited by Humphrey Carpenter, in which Tolkien discusses Frodo's failure:

"'Sacrificial' situations, I should call them: sc. positions in which the 'good' of the world depends on the behavior of an individual in circumstances which demand of him suffering and endurance far beyond the normal - even, it may happen (or seem, humanly speaking), demand a strength of body and mind which he does not possess: he is in a sense doomed to failure, doomed to fall to temptation or be broken by pressure against his 'will': that is against any choice he could make or would make unfettered, not under duress."

Mary

Tolkien's own analogy was to someone who has spent years in a concentration camp and comes out, brainwashed, singing his captors' praises.

David B.

FWIW,

The letter I've quoted was written in answer to Michael Straight, editor of "New Republic" in the mid 1950s, who had asked Tolkien about the meaning of Frodo's failure.

Cajun Nick

Okay, maybe I'm a little behind the times on this Michael Moore-style LOTR/9-11 film , but I just saw it for the first time this morning, and I LOVED it.

Brilliant parody!

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