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    • The Attack In Ottawa will be used to justify losing more rights
      Prime Minister Harper pretty much confirmed it: ‘Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened’ Yup.  Never let a crisis go to waste. I’m very sad that MPs and their staff were scared, and I’m sadder that a soldier lost his life.  But one attack does not justify increasing the police state.  However, if [...]
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The Hobbit Eve- Tolkien and wealth

Pete Petersmaug

I challenge Stephen Colbert to a Tolkien Geek Off.  I can name all of Galadriel’s names in Quenya, Sindarin and the Common tongue.  I know who the Fëanturi are. I know how many Glorfindels are running around Arda. Take that, Stephen!  He won’t take me up on it because he knows he doesn’t stand a chance.

Anyway, The Hobbit- An Unexpected Journey starts on Friday and there’s a good chance that I will be at the very first showing.  My local theater will show it in 24 fps but I don’t care.  I’m going for the story.

And what a story it is, a quest to burgle win back the Dwarves gold from Smaug the dragon. While I was reading advanced reviews of the movie, I came across this reminder of Tolkien’s thoughts on gold and wealth.  The New Yorker reviewer went back to the book to explain the greed of dragons:

It is there in every shimmering scale of Smaug, the dragon; deprived by a mouse-quiet Bilbo of a single precious cup, he falls, Tolkien writes, into “the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but never used or wanted.”

Like tax cuts they didn’t need on top of the insane amount of money that they have already hoarded for themselves and have been sitting on for more than four years.  It’s too bad this movie is split into three pieces and we won’t get to The Lonely Mountain until towards the end of the second movie*.  Tolkien didn’t like allegories but Smaug the dragon is a timely metaphor.  He is the very picture of greed without purpose, sitting on a mountain of gold and keeping all of that capital out of the hands of the people of Middle Earth who could put it to use it to set up their own Inns, mills, vineyards and small biotechs.

I won’t tell you how it ends if you haven’t read the book.  Let’s just say that dragons aren’t the only creatures with lust for gold.

One of my favorite quotes about wealth and gold from Tolkien comes in the Fellowship of the Ring when Galadriel asks Gimli the dwarve what he would ask of her as a gift.  Dwarves are particularly attracted to shiny objects and the craftsmanship of intricately worked gold and silver.  She would have given him whatever he asked for.  But he asks for a single strand of her beautiful golden hair.  She gives him three and says:

‘These words shall go with the gift,’ she said. `I do not foretell, for all foretelling is now vain: on the one hand lies darkness, and on the other only hope. But if hope should not fail, then I say to you, Gimli son of Glóin, that your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have no dominion.’

Discuss.

**********************************

Andy Serkis becomes Gollum:

*It has occurred to me that I might die before I see all of the Hobbit films.  I could have a house dropped on me or catch some nasty MDR bacteria or my kid could be infected with a zombie virus and will eat my brains some night when I neglect to arm my bedroom door.  It could happen.  It’s possible that I will never see film three.  Peter Jackson should rethink the timing of the movies.  Wait.  I had this very same irrational fear when the first LOTR movie came out and nothing bad happened.  Nevermind.

But I was 12 years younger then…

Be on your guard in 2015-2016

Nate Silver has written a post on Hillary’s chances for 2016.  I find it the same kind of insufferable “she ran a strategic mess in 2008 and thought she was the pre-ordained frontrunner but now that we’ve taken her down, completely humiliated her and the Republicans have lost interest in beating the shit out of her reputation, which is strengthened by her executive level management skills that we didn’t require of Obama because he had Penis Years, she is now acceptable to us as a candidate for 2016″*.  You know, the same meme diarrhea we’ve seen from all of the Democratic operatives since 2007.  Lots of mythology about the blinding brilliance of the Obama campaign that overlooks the facts that he was carried over the threshold to the nomination by the DNC because his Wall Street backers were willing to throw lots of money at the party.  Lots of lying about Hillary’s popularity and her “polarizing” personality.

This is bullshit.  I don’t care what his success is as a statistician or how many people would vote for Hillary grudgingly or un.  What’s good for the country is not necessarily good for Hillary.  I also don’t think any position is worth that much humiliation and kowtowing.  It’s likely that she will have to kiss a lot of asses and promise a strictly hands-off policy to the corporate and finance industry overlords.  And you know what?  As much as I would have liked to see her as president, I don’t think it’s worth it if you can’t be your own person and set your own goals.  I will always be of the opinion that that’s why she didn’t get the nod in 2008.  She wasn’t willing to play the same kind of game as Obama.  Well, we know what kind of game Obama was playing so he must have been courted and pressured very heavily by the finance industry gurus who have gone virtually unpunished for ruining our lives.  They found his ethics and values to be quite flexible and much more to their liking.  Can we stop the nauseating hagiography of Obama’s 2008 campaign??  When the historians write about what really happened, the young, male graduate student factions of the Democratic party are going to look like the self-interested Obama fluffers that they turned out to be.  In fact, next election season, read whatever those young Ezra’s and Yglesiases and Kevin Drums say and carefully consider the primary candidates they loathe.  As far as I’m concerned, the new, young and almost completely male “progressive” opinion makers have shot whatever credibility they ever possessed when they signed on with Obama.

Make no mistake, one of the parties is going to try to run another historic candidate in the very near future.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a woman.  If it is, I sincerely hope that the Democratic voters take a good hard look at her record and pay very close attention to what the media is saying about her.  There is sure to be a lot of hype around the next woman candidate and it will be very hard to resist.

But let’s not get sucked in again, OK?  The last thing we need is to get another stealth candidate like Harvard educated, financier toe-kissing Obama.  It’s the policies that matter above anything else.  That was the only reason I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary.  The fact that she had lady parts was only icing on the cake.  I suspect that posts like Silver’s are just setting us up for disappointment because Hillary will not run and that the next “historic” candidate is going to be another Trojan Horse.  Let’s not let it happen again.

* Beating down a politician by using constant humiliation and misogyny ala Spinal Tap’s Smell the Glove album cover is a weird criterion for making a presidential candidate acceptable. It says more about the guys who had a baitball frenzy in 2008 than Hillary Clinton. I don’t think you guys know how over-the-top horrible you looked. We won’t forget who you are and we’d be nuts to ever take you seriously.

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