Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tolkiens Connection with ‘60s Counter Culture.

To understand Tolkiens connection to the 60’s we must look at the times themselves. When people talk about the 60’s they are generally speaking about a time between 1963 and the early part of the 1970s, David Carridine in the film Ringers: Lord of the Fans says the 60’s started when Kennedy was assassinated. At the time of Kennedy’s assassination the nation is embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. Three months earlier Dr. Martin Luther King had given his I have a dream speech. Protests over civil rights and the war come to define the 60’s as a decade of unrest. Much of America felt as if the world was not as it should be and tried to change it in their own way. This much dislike of the status quo led to the rise of a counter-culture who often used psychologist and LSD advocate Dr. Timothy Leary’s phrase of “turn on, tune in, drop out.” as a guide to life.

This contrasts nicely with Tolkien himself who was a stout catholic conservative. Born in 1892, he would have been 71 in 1963 and very much part of the old guard. he was classically educated and graduating oxford in 1915, he immediately headed off to war to fight World War I feeling it was his patriotic duty.

First published in the summer of 1954 The Fellowship of the Rings first printing had only 3500 copies, It opened to mixed reviews but enough of the reviews were positive that the publishers “ began to not think of losing a thousand pounds, but perhaps of making a thousand pounds, but all on this kind of scale.” These sales remained steady until the early 1960’s when in 1965 Ace books published the first paperback editions of the book in the United States. While Ace Books was the first to publish the books, they didn’t actually own the rights to do so. They claimed that the British copyright law that the original hardback publisher Houghton Mifflin used did not apply to the publications in the United States. Ace Books published and sold these books without permission or paying anything to Tolkien for his work. The unauthorized versions featured trippy, psychedelic images on the covers that were completely unrelated to the contents of the books. While Tolkien may not have approved, The covers of the unauthorized versions certainly spoke to the youth of the time. On college campuses across the country students were flocking to the now 12 year old Lord of the Rings. These new fans were rabid, They sent many fan letters to Tolkien. Tolkien had always responded to fan mail personally and with much joy and thanks. With the new found popularity of the books came a flood of new fan mail, however since these paperbacks were unauthorized no additional flow of revenue came. Tolkien was somewhat uncomfortable with his popularity in the United States, saying “I observe in general that North America has been much more easily kindled” than Britain or other European countries. When Ballantine Books finally released the authorized version later in the year; Tolkien took to responding to these fan letters by telling the reader the story of the unauthorized versions and asking the readers to spread the word and tell their friends to buy the authorized versions. Surprisingly enough this worked, with sales exploding in the later part of the 60’s. While the authorized paperbacks did at least provide Tolkien with income, the printing itself was still not something Tolkien was entirely satisfied with. The covers again featured art unrelated to the plot of the book, but current to the times. The Hobbit in particular featured a cover that included a lion and emus. In a letter to Rayner Unwin in Sept. of1965 Tolkein says this of The Hobbit cover “ what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus?”

In an article from Time magazine published July of 1966 “The hobbit habit seems to be almost as catching as LSD. On many U.S. campuses, buttons declaring FRODO LIVES and GO GO GANDALF—frequently written in Elvish script—are almost as common as football letters.” By the end of 1968 more than 3 million copies of the authorized Ballantine Books version of The Lord of the Rings had been sold and Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings were ingrained in the counter culture which began the pop culture that turned The Lord of the Rings into one of the best selling books of all time.

What sparked this hunger for The Lord of the Rings? I think that there are several key themes that must be examined to see why Tolkiens work became so popular with the counter culture of the 60’s.

The first I will look at is the idea of Fellowship. Fellowship for this purpose is defined as a group of people meeting to pursue a shared interest or aim. We see fellowship in Tolkien when the free people are all united against the forces of Mordor. In the Fellowship of the rings at the Council of Elrond It is no coincidence that representatives from many races are chosen to try and destroy the ring. I think this really spoke to the youth of the 60’s. The Idea that together we are stronger, that our differences can actually be a strength when working together to try and accomplish something is a very central theme to both the counter culture revolution and the Lord of the Rings. I think you see fellowship reflected in the civil rights and anti-war movements in that people are starting to see that in order to get any change to occur in our world, they must band together towards a common goal. Together we can save the world was a driving idea behind a lot of the movements in the 60’s. The thought that ordinary people when placed in hard situations can do something extraordinary and cause change is seen throughout the 60’s. Another thing that would have attracted the hippie generation to the Lord of the Rings would have been The Hobbits themselves. The Hobbits while small in stature and not physically powerful, but they managed to save the world. With protests of all kinds coming to define the era, we see “little” people with no political power joining together with peoples of all races, to change and perhaps even save the world.

Another of the ideas that the counter culture of the 1960’s really identified with in Tolkiens works were his environmentalist ideas and even some of the anti-technology messages in The Lord of the Rings. With the Cuban missile crisis and China's development of atomic weaponry, nuclear war was a real possibility. Protests on college campus across the nation against the threat of nuclear arms coincided with Tolkiens rise in popularity. Tolkien’s introduction of the ents foreshadows the concerns for the environment that resonated with the hippies by pitting the technologically inclined goblins and orcs led by Sarumon and their destruction of the forests against the forest itself, He shows the conflict between advancement of society through technology and the whether that is truly progress. An allegory is seen between The Lord of the Rings and the nuclear arms race; with the ring being the ultimate in destructive technology, ala the atomic bomb. The youth of the era saw themselves as a simple people caught up in a great conflict, much like the hobbits. The ring and the atomic bomb can be seems as advancements of technology that are abominations of the natural order, and exist only to destroy. The fellowship of the ring are people of all races banding together to destroy the ring. In the 60’s people of all races were banding together to try and stop the threat of nuclear war. The advancement of technology was being questioned by the counterculture, was it a good thing? It seemed to be causing nothing but tensions in the world. Some sought the return to simpler times, represented by the shire and a simpler way of life. Others choose to escape, Some did both.

Escapism is the desire to retreat from reality, while not one of the real elements from the Lord of the Rings story, It is certainly seen in a lot of the actions and ideas of people of the 1960’s. What better place to escape from reality than the massively detailed world that Tolkien has created. All the ideas of fellowship and environmentalism seen in the book drew people to leave their world and enter Middle Earth. This escapism took many forms. LSD users would go on “trips” to alternate realities; there senses, exaggerated and distorted led their imagination to run wild. A potent combination when combined with the detailed world that Tolkein provided. In the movie J.R.R. Tolkien, Jenny Fabian Author of GROUPIE says “ A lot of us did use Tolkien as a guide almost through the journey of life and acid trips were very similar to the journey that’s told in the story of the Lord of the Rings, Its a journey into the inner psyche... The club middle earth actually had a similar feel to it with the black walls...a lot of people took their acid down there because they felt they were in another world, that it would take them to other places.”
In the United states where large tracts of land are still available we see the establishment of communes. These communes were essentially a community separated from society at large. People at these communes would go and try and return to a simpler form of life. People would work together for the common good, and try to create a Utopian society were the ideas of freedom and love could reign free. In Britain where creating your own community was out of the question due to land constraints, people escaped with music and drugs. A Popular rock club in London was called “Middle Earth”, that Pink Floyd played. there were underground magazines called Hobbit and Gandalf’s Garden that talked about drug lore and other counter culture topics. To help raise money to start Gandalf’s Garden, the founder had a benefit concert that featured many artists including David Bowie.

With drugs being a large part of the counter culture at the time, the fact that the hobbits smoke an undisclosed “pipe weed” and love mushrooms could not have been missed. “Many young Americans are involved in the stories in a way that I am not” Tolkien is quoted as saying. Undoubtedly Tolkien did not approve of the rampant drug use in conjunction with his book. Combined with rampant adoration from his fans which included late night calls from Americans unaware or unconcerned with the time difference, and people beating a path across his lawn and ruining his garden, you could see why Tolkien might declare that his fans were “deplorable cultists. Though Tolkien and his fans were not necessarily of the same mind, his fans in the counter culture propelled his work to fame.

In Ringers: Lord of the fans Dominic Monaghan says “ That counter culture was fueled by three main things, flower power, rock and roll and J. R. R. Tolkien. David Carradine says that the books were the “metaphysical statement of the times” As you can see the influence of Tolkien on the 60’s, and the influence of the fans from the 60’s on the popularity of Tolkiens work are intertwined. Without Tolkiens Lord of the Rings perhaps the 1960’s are defined by different ideas. Without the counter culture of the 1960’s Tolkiens great novels may have remained in obscurity.

Works Cited
Walmsley, Nigel. “Tolkien and the ‘60s.” J.R.R. Tolkien This Far Land. Ed. Robert Giddings. U.S.A: Vision Press Ltd, 1984. 73-85. Book.
Carpenter, Humphery. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000. Book
McClusky, Joan “J.R.R. Tolkien: A Short Biography.” A Tolkien Treasury. Ed. Alida Becker. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1989. 9-44. Book
“Students: The Hobbit Habbit” Time.com Friday, July 15, 1966. accessed Wednesday April 20, 2011. Web
Ringers: Lord of the Fans. Carlene Cordova. Narrated by Dominic Monaghan. Planet BB Entertainment, 2005. DVD
J.R.R. Tolkien. Julian Birkett. BBC/NVC Arts. 1998. DVD

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Everbody Draw Mohammed Day!

My Contribution(enjoy the l33t paint skills)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Craigslist is a crazy place.

I heard that some people liked to be punched in the stomach, for sexual purposes...
I think that is something I can do. Apparently Craigslist didn't look to kindly upon me trying to whore out my belly punching services.

Notice the "semi-professionally" something we always strive for here at LFTS.

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Date: 1260022278
PostID: 1495928158
Title: (casual encounters) Do you want to be punched in the belly? - m4mw
Do you like to be punched in the belly or know someone who does? Looking for a belly punching enthusiast? Then I am the man for you! I have been punching people on and off for a few years and the recent economic strugles have prompted me to try it semi-profesionally. For a minimal fee I will punch you in the belly. Face shots are extra. Punches to other locations are negiotiable. I am willing to punch both men and women. I am 6 foot tall 230 pounds so I can pack quite the punch if needed, Yet I can also take it easy for my more delicate clients. I have recently started offering a very popular new service I perfected. I have dubbed it "the afterslap" It involves a swift open hand slap to the face directly following the belly punch.

St. Louis Metro Area only. I have my own transportation and a location can be provided. We do offer after care featuring orange drink and cakes.

Group Rates available, Book today!

Serious offers only please.

Pictures available upon request.

* Location: St. Louis
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ln (e^mreah) = mreah

This does not make sense.Chewbacca

In the weeks and months since I last spoke to you, things have been crazy.
Not crazy in a bald Britney kind of way, more like crazy like the end of Fight Club where he shoots himself in the face and the city blows up but it all seems to be a good thing in the end. (ok maybe not exactly like that)

It has been a crazy Fantasy Football season so far. My team is in 6th place but has the 3rd most points total. I must have angered the fickle fantasy gods. I feel as if it has to even out in the home stretch and hopefully I can make a playoff run. I am 3-6 and yet the outlook is sunny. I still have players I believe in and a few weeks left to make up ground.

I have 2 bits of advice for those seeking some semi-professional fantasy advice.

1.) Do not. I repeat. DO NOT sleep on Calvin Johnson. He has underperformed much of this season (some of that is due to his missing some games). All I ask is that you remember that when healthy, Megatron is a transforming super robot playing among mere humans. It doesn't matter who is throwing him the ball, It doesn't matter the double and triple coverage. This robot in disguise has more talent and physical tools than any receiver in the league. Think of it this way. Some mad scientist went into a lab, mixed the genetics of Randy Moss and T.O with the most advanced nano-technology never created and 20 something years later we have Calvin Johnson.

I categorize Calvin Johnson under the Paul Kariya theory. You see back in the day, I was sure that Paul Kariya was actually a hockey playing cyborg built by Disney to draw attention to the under appreciated Mighty Ducks franchise. He never sweat, he played with pin-point precision. He never slept, just powered down at night.

The NFL needed something for the Detroit Lions, hence Megatron was created. Needless to say, with the trade deadline looming he is a great buy low candidate.

2.) Steven Jackson, while not a super human robot, is the 20 year old highschool senior dominating pre-pubcent boys with his pure power. In our sole win this season. Steven Jackson went back to his childhood and started dragging grown men around like they were rugrats. At the beginning of the season, If I were to ask you "How many touchdowns will SJ39 have at the end of the season?" you would have said 6 at least. I still think he finishes with those touchdowns, so be on the look out for a multiple game touchdown streak in the near future. I doubt you will be able to get him, but if you can snoozle Steven Jackson before the deadline you will not regret it

Check back for end of the season draft grades for our Point per reception point per completion league as the season closes.

Lack of updates

I suck, I know this.

In my defense my wedding is getting closer and things are starting to get a bit hectic. My math class is a little harder than I thought it would be and we are beginning the house hunt thanks to an extended tax credit for first time home buyers. I sure am going to need that honeymoon.

Till next time as Bas Rutten would say "God speed and party on!"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tom Brady: The Anti-Christ OR Bellicheat

If you are anything like me, you despise the patriots. If the anti-christ were to come to earth, I am sure he would look like this:

I admit to bias. Tom Brady beat my St.Louis Rams on the night Ricky Proehl accurately predicted "Tonight, a dynasty is born". To bad good ole Ricky got the team wrong.

So with this hatred of the Patriots in mind you need to read this article.

It's old for sure, but there is nothing like stirring that pot of hatred of the Patriots from time to time.

The link is basically a statistical break down of the patriots seasons and how they consistently performed higher than would have been predicted by their efficiency stats. Higher even than other teams that out performed their expected production. It's really an interesting read and It is very apparent from the blog "Advanced NFL Stats" that Brian Burke does his homework.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Podcast Episode 5 - Week 3 In Review

Week 3 in review plus Monday Night predictions with Dr. Wang and Tom Potts.

Topics include:

Tony Romo over under 39 points on Monday?

Stepdads vs T-baggn Whiteys
129 147
DeAngelo Williams
Jason Witten Roy Williams

18 point difference

Top fantasy producers:

Peyton 24 for 379 for 4 td's and 1 pick 60 points
MJD 35 points on 119 rushing yards 3 tds 4 recp 28 yards 35 points
Santana Moss 10 for 178 1 td 43points Bonus points
Vernon Davis 7 for 96 2 td's 28 points

Are Santana Moss and Vernon Davis for real?

Lock of the week: Giants only 7% picked them

Is Tampa Bay the worst team in the league?


Rams, Browns, Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Winless Titans

Notice we aren't mentioning the Lions

Undefeated teams

3-0 Denver Broncos


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Podcast Episode 4 - Week 3 Breakdown

Dr. Wang and myself break down week 3 Fantasy Football action.

We had a lot of fun this week. Tried to let a little more personality come through. We ramble on about non-football related stuff for a while and ask what people would like to hear about on the podcast.

Some topics include:
Pick 'em Debates
New England at Atlanta
Tennessee vs Jets
Buffalo vs NO

which Backup RB that is starting this week would you rather have?

Felix Jones
LeSean McCoy

Fantasy teams of the week

Chicago Bears

Baltimore Ravens

Houston Texans

Lock of the week
Giants at home vs Tampa Bay

Which Chicago WR would you rather have?
Devin Hester
Johnny Knox
Earl Bennett

Which Giants WR would you rather have?
Steve Smith
Mario Manningham

Which Ravens RB would you rather have?

Willis McGahee
Ray Rice


Friday, September 18, 2009

Podcast Episode 3 - Week 2 Predictions

Episode 3 in the books!
Did some work in the studio for an intro, I hope Goldfinger doesn't mind the sample =)

Week 2 Fantasy Football Predictions, Pick'em, Survival choices! Week 2 players to sit and start, Join The Doctor and I as we lay out our guide to week 2 NFL action.

Good luck in your games this week!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kanye is a D-Bag

If you haven't seen or heard about this check it out here

Basically Kanye comes up, takes the mic from Taylor Swift and proceeds to say Beyonce should have won. It's actually pretty funny. Beyonce is like WTF?!?!

Now this isn't the first time Kanye has stuck his foot in his mouth.

Case in point. Best part of the above video: Chris Tucker speechless when they cut to him after Kanye drops his "Bush doesn't care about Black People" bomb. (George W. Bush did not in fact care about black people, but that is beside the point.)

Back to the 2009 Video Music Awards...
The President thinks Kanye is a jackass. Even better than that, is what 50 Cent had to say about the situation.

"I wish he would come take one of my awards, so I could black his eye in front of everyone... He pick and choose who you feel safe doing that with... shit Pink was gonna get to him"

In the end though you have to feel sorry for Kanye. Must be hard to be a gay fish.

Requisite link to full gay fish episode.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fight Night 19, TUF 10

There are basically only two fights on this card that interest me.

1.) Nick Diaz v. Melvin Guillard. This should be an exciting fight. Melvin has always been a banger and Diaz has never backed down from a fight. Overall I think Nick Diaz is probably the more well rounded fighter but Guillard brings KO power to the table. Diaz should win this one easily if he doesn't let himself get drawn into a KO game. Seeing as how this would be Nick Diaz's third loss in a row, I see him staying within the game plan and doing away with Guillard by decision.

2.) "Hollywood" Roger Huerta v. Gray Maynard. Gone are the days of Gray Maynards lay and pray (hopefully) as he has developed a nice boxing game to go along with his wrestling background. Huerta after a long hiatus returns to the octagon for what could be the last time as he will try his hand in Hollywood. I do not see his head being in the game and I think if it comes down to losing his "Hollywood" good looks, and winning the fight, OR winning the fight and getting beat about the face. I think he chooses not to get beat about the face and gives up a "please stop hitting me in the face" rear naked choke.

TUF 10

I might be looking forward to this more than the fight night! Rampage has been a long time favorite of mine and I dislike Evans enough to tune in just for that. Add to that potent reality tv mix, Kimbo Slice. Kimbo is one of those guys that you either love or hate. I started out loving him on youtube, Hating him when I had to watch him almost get beat by cans. I think I am back to loving him now that he is trying to prove he is legit. If nothing else this guy garners viewers.

Another fighter I like to watch that is on the show is "Big Country" Roy Nelson. This guy has got to be the most experienced/technical fighter on the show, but looking at him you would not know he was supposed to be an athlete. In shape I doubt this guy is even a heavyweight (I have no facts to back that up) but hey, he kicks ass and takes names. I wonder if he got into top physical condition what kind of damage this guy can do.

Until next time, Enjoy the fights!