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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 06:15 PM
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Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs Tolkien verse Wagner Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #589 New September 25th, 2019 05:28 PM
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Tolkien and Wagner drank from the same public well, which is a very different thing than stealing one thing from another.

In fact, Tolkien, as a scholar of Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures (and who could read and write in both languages), drew from deeper material than Wagner did; so if anything, his story is a fuller and more authentic interpretation of the ancient Germanic legends than Wagner's version.
I really don't want to write another web log entry. The "Thanks" one was supposed to be my last, however, and where I do not want to write an apology for the Tolkien/Wagner thread, it's come to my attention in the last week or so that Wagner carries a huge degree of implied antisemitism.

I don't feel the need to prove my non-bigotry, nor otherwise apologize for any misinterpretation on my part that would lead people to think I'm a bigot. Quite frankly, I couldn't give a sh!t.

However, having said all that, I do think I should explain myself for those who are overly analytic of whatever I write.

I had the Hobbit read to me way back in 1974 or thereabouts by friends of the family. Years later I read it on my own, and the Lord of the Rings. It wasn't until the late 80s that I had heard about Wagner and the Ring. That's when my female guardian told me that a man she was spending time with said that Tolkien had stolen a lot from Wagner. She and I eventually went and saw The Ring Cycle at the SF Opera War Mem house. It's the absolute most lavish and visually impressive stage production of anything I had ever seen.

Now, having said that, and following the story, it did occur to me that there was an awful lot of filler or puffery going on in Wagner's work. What I also did not know at the time was just how anti-Jewish of a statement the whole opera was, or rather was intended through allegory. Albericht and his son Mime, and the army of dwarves that labor under Aolberich's direction are supposed to allegorically represent Jewish tinkerers who had come to Germany to follow the money.

Apparently Albericht represents race politics. Way back in my teens and twenties I was simply ignorant of this. Oh well. I'm not anti Jewish. I've always seen the scifi and fantasy genres as being all inclusive, but I guess that's not the case for certain social circles.

I do think Wagner's opera is intentionally and needlessly long. The basic story is that if you give up emotional satisfaction for money because you can't get a woman in life, then gold is going to be your curse. It was a statement of unbridled and unregulated industry at the time that was sweeping Europe; pre child labor laws, where people worked 14 hour shifts. I'm certainly not for that.

And, as for Jewish folks, well the lower you are on the social ladder, the more likely you are to get all kinds of grief from those on the top. I guess it's just the way things have always been, but hopefully someday will get better.\

So, for me, Wagner Ring is extravagant, filled with good music, but regrettably has that bigoted stain to it. No, I don't agree with the allegory, but if you can just view it as a simply non-allegorical (albeit tiresome at times) work, then I think that's the best anyone can do.

And if you think ill of me for bringing up the topic, well, there's nothing I can do about that.
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