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Old 07-25-2008, 06:35 AM   #1
Hookbill the Goomba
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Boots "You're sad, you are!"

How often have we heard this accusation, as Tolkien fans? Or, indeed, as fans of anything at all? There is something about becoming emphatically interested in certain topics that produces a lot of bile and hatred from many parties. I never really understood why. A friend of mine was reading a book about fans and fandom of something else and came across this quotation, which I think may help us understand the ridicule...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Licence Denied - Paul Cornell
The reason the greater culture [ridicules fans as 'sad obsessives'] is sheer psychological projection. They want to portray fans as mad consumers, people who accept everything the television [or books or whatever] gives us, without question. That's them, I'm afraid. Fandom is the culture that takes what television [or books or whatever] gives us, chops it up, laughs at it, pulls it apart, makes its own art with it, and eats it.
Tolkien study is, at times, deeper than this, I would say, but the point remains valid. Here in the UK certain things are seen as normal and even admirable; the collecting and discussing of sports statistics, gossiping about celebrities and so on. Yet these bear similar traits to much that is true of, not only Tolkien, but many supposedly 'geeky' fandoms. Of course, the argument is always raised that these things (sports, celebrities etcetera) are from 'real life' and this Middle Earth is not.

So, why do we do it? The 'reality' of Middle Earth may be debatable, but we just can't stop loving it! This topic is here for us to discuss our trials and tribulations as Tolkien fans. When has a useful quote from Gandalf got you out of a tight spot? A quick "what would Bilbo do in these circumstances" given you a new way of looking at things? A Gollum riddle stumped your friends?
Do we all get a hard time from others about our supposed 'obsessive' behavior?
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:51 AM   #2
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Fandom, what fandom?

I'm just here to lynch people.
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:53 AM   #3
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Celebrities, real?
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:12 AM   #4
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For myself, I think I could say a lot about this, as in our RPGing group, we have sort of "private jokes" about that we are considered weird by others. While in real, we are not. Although it's not only about ourselves, we also say this about the people who go on all sorts of fantasy actions, and the most about people who dress up in fantasy costumes and such, and in large sense about the people who go on these "live battles" (I would like to know, is there a special word for it in English?), but again, that's because most of us count ourselves among these groups. I am not sure how well can I express it, but for example: recently we were returning from our summer cottage where we gathered for playing Dungeons&Dragons, and so we went back, sat in the bus, and one of my friends took out the rulebook and started to study some spells. The rest of us looked at each other, saying: "That's horrible!" While of course we didn't mean it, but it's simply became a "private joke" of our company. Similar things happen when we see people dressed up in fantasy costumes in the metro or such things. We usually start to talk between ourselves, as if we were speaking to the others: "Hey, you are going to the Battle of Five Armies? Are you? Yes, of course you do! You must know good old [insert a fellow geek's name]! Of course!" But most typical, when we are for example arranging an RPG meeting, we joke like "Yes, let's go and play. I've been missing it! I just got through the exams for this semester and now I finally have time for playing! Of course! Yes, of course it's horrible! Of course I've not been studying at all, but I've been planning my character! When are we going to play? Next weekend? I'm going to be on my friend's cottage just before that. Of course I will take the handbook with me! Of course! I know I'm an addict! Yes, and I am proud of it! Which is horrible!" And all of this with the imaginary " ".

So, in my case, I don't see being seen as weird as a problem coming from the "outside" (and I don't think I ever encountered anything more than people not understanding what the things we do are), simply because my friends - for some reason, and it reaches into times long ago - made it a joke from the "inside".
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cornah
Fandom is the culture that takes what television gives us, chops it up, laughs at it, pulls it apart, makes its own art with it, and eats it.
I'm not so sure about this, Hooky. I don't think television gave us Tolkien. which means, I myself rarely read television.

Perhaps The Downer should do an indepth inquiry into this.
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
I'm not so sure about this, Hooky. I don't think television gave us Tolkien. which means, I myself rarely read television.

Perhaps The Downer should do an indepth inquiry into this.
Well, the principals the same, I think. Which is why I added the note; "books or whatever" in brackets to make the point.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:02 AM   #7
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I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. Used to think that I was geeky; then I went to a Star Trek convention .

Much has been written regarding the attraction of Tolkien's works. Finding someone else who enjoys the same thing just adds that human connection, which we all need and may want.

And, having visited Graceland (the house of Elvis Presley), I've realized that we all have 'something;' ours is just LotR. It's probably due to some gene.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hookbill the Goomba View Post
Of course, the argument is always raised that these things (sports, celebrities etcetera) are from 'real life' and this Middle Earth is not.

So, why do we do it? The 'reality' of Middle Earth may be debatable, but we just can't stop loving it! This topic is here for us to discuss our trials and tribulations as Tolkien fans. When has a useful quote from Gandalf got you out of a tight spot? A quick "what would Bilbo do in these circumstances" given you a new way of looking at things? A Gollum riddle stumped your friends?
Do we all get a hard time from others about our supposed 'obsessive' behavior?
What a great topic! I can completely identify with being badgered by non-believers, and could go in depth about circumstances I've been in. There's been many! Just recently, actually, I was in the car with my best friend who is not a Tolkien fan. He doesn't dislike it, but he only knows the movies. Anyway, my car is decked with LotR decals such as the Leaf of Lorien, the White Tree, the One Ring script, and a Gondor sticker. He asked me what the Leaf was, and I told him it was the Leaf of Lorien. He started to laugh, saying it's funny how I treat it as if it was real. I rebuked him by saying "it was!"

Needless to say, we went on and on for the whole car ride...he kept asking me questions and when I told him the answer, he purposely messed with the way a name was pronounced, just to try and get to me (yeah, he's that type of kid). For example, "Sauron" became "Zordon", and so on. Yes he is annoying. The "real life" thing kicked in again because I tried to relate my obssesion with him. He's obsessed with hockey - the NHL. He of course used the argument, like Hookbill pointed out, that hockey is real and Middle-earth isn't. I rebuked him again by saying "that hasn't been proven yet!" And his needless badgering went on. I could think of a ton of these sorts of instances, but I'll leave it at that one. People I talk to who don't know Tolkien find it amusing that I can tell them pretty much everything about LotR and Middle-earth.

Quote:
When has a useful quote from Gandalf got you out of a tight spot? A quick "what would Bilbo do in these circumstances" given you a new way of looking at things? A Gollum riddle stumped your friends?
There is hardly a time when I don't think "what would Pippin do in this situation?" or Boromir, or Aragorn, etc. And many a time I have made the right decisions based on trying to think as one of Tolkien's characters! I have also, of course, borrowed many lines from the book and the movies during conversation.

Great topic! Middle-earth is much deeper and meaningful than any non-believer could understand.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:19 AM   #9
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I was born to be a fan-girl and shall die a fan-girl. If I live to 80, I will be a fan-girl. My future grandkids can make fun of me all they want.

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Old 07-25-2008, 01:33 PM   #10
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If I remember correctly my friend, Lauri's first post on the BD went something like
Quote:
TheGreatElvenWarrior knows all.
or something to that effect... But coming here I notice that I am not as knowledgeable and as much of a "Tolkien geek" as other people.
But at school I usually am associated with Middle-Earth in general and have my own Middle-earth related nickname...

But my mom found "The Very Secret Diaries" (which btw I recommend not reading if you value your sanity) and my dad was reading it out loud and was pronouncing Moria, Moriah. Which made me very upset because of the fact that I seem to have found myself in the obsessive position.

I guess I was born to be obsessed with something and so I am...
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:47 PM   #11
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I must thank Hookbill for his thoughtful editing which provides help to those who, unaccustomed to watching television, are less adept than others at reading this dark screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
And, having visited Graceland (the house of Elvis Presley), I've realized that we all have 'something;' ours is just LotR. It's probably due to some gene.
Wait a minute! Are you comparing us to those folks at Graceland? Where do they fall in Cornell's two possibilities of interpretation, the mad consumers or the playful hunger artists?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornell
They want to portray fans as mad consumers, people who accept everything the television [or books or whatever] gives us, without question. That's them, I'm afraid. Fandom is the culture that takes what television [or books or whatever] gives us, chops it up, laughs at it, pulls it apart, makes its own art with it, and eats it.
I had previously thought that those who Await The Return of The King are like the first kind of fans which Cornell described--"mad consumers"--but now I see that those who believe that Elvis Has Just Left The Building are more like the second kind of fan. Having never visited Graceland, I don't know which kind al is referring us to. And would there be two kinds of genes, or would one be a mutation of the other gene?

I myself daily wish that I had an ent's company in my garden. I've got a few plants that would really benefit from some ent-draught.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
But my mom found "The Very Secret Diaries" (which btw I recommend not reading if you value your sanity)
I am a "Very Secret Diaries" fan-girl as well. Sanity is over-valued anyway. I only wish I would have been able to trade mine for Google stock back in the day.
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:29 PM   #13
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Wait a minute! Are you comparing us to those folks at Graceland? Where do they fall in Cornell's two possibilities of interpretation, the mad consumers or the playful hunger artists?
There is a spectrum, ranging from almost not interested to needing X more rabidly than oxygen, and we all are on it somewhere.

Quote:
I had previously thought that those who Await The Return of The King are like the first kind of fans which Cornell described--"mad consumers"--but now I see that those who believe that Elvis Has Just Left The Building are more like the second kind of fan. Having never visited Graceland, I don't know which kind al is referring us to. And would there be two kinds of genes, or would one be a mutation of the other gene?
Sight unseen, I would bet that you are nothing like the fans of the King. I can only describe it as the same adoration/fanaticism that would be bestowed upon a holy person.

I went to Graceland, as might be expected, to annoy a coworker who could not stand the King or the adoration that this singer somehow evoked. Knowing that I went to Graceland just irked this person to no end. So I went, intent on playing the part of a true believer, preparing my sarcasm for others who were going under less pretenses.

In the Jungle Room, I made the statement that carpeting the walls was 'true fashion genius,' meaning, of course the exact opposite (though with the plastic jungle furniture, I guess that it did sort of work). Much to my amazement, others in the tour group agreed with my observation, though they thought it true.

The hair on my head stood up and turned white, much like my avatar.

My faked tears at the gravesite were for both the camera and to 'fit in,' as I feared for my life. People in the group were wailing at the grave as if it were a parent or child, fresh under the turves. I'm guessing that many of these people never met the King in person, and they may *at best* have attended a concert. People left notes, not only at the grave, but in any imperfection in the stone wall that surrounds the compound. Every square inch, on the wall, on the sidewalk, on the public telephone, had some message scrawled, such as, "I'll miss you, Blue Eyes."

So, to answer your question, the people I've met here may be geeked out about Tolkien, but I've never felt in fear of my life for disagreeing with dogma.
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Licence Denied - Paul Cornell
The reason the greater culture [ridicules fans as 'sad obsessives'] is sheer psychological projection. They want to portray fans as mad consumers, people who accept everything the television [or books or whatever] gives us, without question. That's them, I'm afraid. Fandom is the culture that takes what television [or books or whatever] gives us, chops it up, laughs at it, pulls it apart, makes its own art with it, and eats it.
I'm afraid I must take exception to Cornell's use of the phrase "greater culture." It seems to imply "culture-at-large" or some other kind of massive "norm." At least in this quote, he doesn't mention the madness of sports fans. I've never heard of a Sci-Fi convention coming to blows over whether Balrogs have wings or not, yet I have more than once seen sportscasters dismiss soccer riots (sorry, football riots for those BD members not from the U.S.) as mere abberations. They do the same for Little-League fathers who beat up other Little-League fathers in front of the crowd watching. (wasn't it just a year or two ago that one father actually beat another father to death in front of the entire team, including the victim's eight year old son, as well as his own?)

My point is that our societies, our cultures, have become too large to truly identify ourselves with them. I'm an American, and am delighted and proud to be so, but America is now in excess of three hundred million people, and our herding/tribal instinct cannot be satisfied when we cannot keep all those names straight. So, we find smaller groups to identify with. Being a Tolkien geek is just one of those groups. Sports-fans are just another (larger) group. It could as easily be quilting or gardening or video games or movies (or anything else that people are fans of.) Of course, any group that you're not a part of is weird (or sad) because you're just not interested.

From what I can see, that interest seems to happen while puberty sets in. Say, ten to fourteen years old. Maybe sixteen. And we all (hopefully) have more than one group. Literature appreciation is my primary group, and Tolkien especially (at least for me.) That doesn't preclude my interest in gardening, or pets or theatre or bicycling. I don't quite understand my friend who studies every statistic for every baseball player any more than he understands why I re-read The Lord of the Rings every year or so. It's just another group that he's not part of, and baseball fans are just another group that I'm not really a part of. Before I take Cornell seriously, I'd like to know which of these interests to which he has attached himself.
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:18 PM   #15
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Being a geek implies something unnatural or unhealthy. I don't believe myself to be a geek, aberrant or doing something unhealthy. So what if I type this missive from a lead-lined bunker in my back yard? The end of the world is coming in 2012, so is there anything wrong with being prepared for the apocalypse? I don't think so. Does it matter that I've collected hair samples from each of the principal stars of the Lord of the Rings movies and had each encased in clear resin? People collect all kinds of things. It's not like I buy potato chips burnt in the likeness of Jesus off of e-bay (although I did manage to get the clavicle of John the Baptist rather inexpensively from a flea-market in Toledo, Ohio).

It's all a matter of perspective, really. If someone claims they don't have an eccentricity of some sort, they are either a liar or in need of a cathartic (perhaps soapy water or green tea). It seems those that cast aspersions on one group (say, against Tolkienistas) have an equally perverted sense of ownership over some other sordid pasttime (be it sports, movies, pets, collectibles, music, shopping or staring blankly at a TV ad infintum). I have acquaintances who dislike the Lord of the Rings, but can give you the batting averages of every starting player from the 1984 World Series; but they can't comprehend how that is just as odd as if I quoted a line from the Silmarillion (or Shakespeare, for that matter), particularly since they haven't played baseball beyond grade school. I do relish claiming they have man-crushes on their favorite sports stars.

Oh, it seems I'm rambling without a point. Perhaps there is no point.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:53 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Morthoron:
Quote:
I have acquaintances who dislike the Lord of the Rings, but can give you the batting averages of every starting player from the 1984 World Series;
In all fairness, my friend that know's baseball was drafted as a pro, but lost his chance due to an abusive father (ruptured kidneys from his father weilding my friend's favorite bat in a drunken rage.) Let's not get too serious in a literary discussion, however.

But your point about perspective is well taken. What is the difference, really, between putting on a Hobbit outfit for a convention of some kind, or a movie premier, and donning a Cheese-head at Lambeau Field. Both are costumes that invoke enthusiasm for that particular passion.

I should mention here that as a Wisconsinite, I have done both, and frozen my butt off at the second.

My point was that, following Tolkien, or J. K. Rowling, or Literature in general or sports or extreme sports or anything else, ties us to a group that has a common interest in that particular passion. As much as we would like it to be otherwise, politics and religion, for the most part, don't give us that sense of community that we would probably prefer to find in patriotism, or faith. As much as I respect these feelings, I would prefer to spend more time arguing Balrog wings than arguing about whether Obama or McCain should be the next President. Whether that's right or wrong is simply not an issue for me on this particular website. I'm here (on the Barrow Downs) to talk about Tolkien, because I love (yes, LOVE) his skill with language, his mastery of mythic sensibility, his grasp of simple human emotion in clearly impossible circumstances (how would YOU feel, if you held in your hand the power to shape the world?)

Hello. My name is Craig and I'm a Tolkein geek. My best friend is a baseball geek. My next-best friend is a Madonna geek. I've never met anyone who wasn't a geek of some kind. It's not an insult. It's just a fact.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:56 AM   #17
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Before I take Cornell seriously, I'd like to know which of these interests to which he has attached himself.
He was talking about Doctor Who, a British science fiction show about time travel in a blue police box.

As you mentioned, things like football, baseball and the like have very similar traits as our 'sad obsessive' interests. Yet the former are seen as more acceptable. Is this purely because they have a larger following? Now, I'm sure the great geek uprising of 2098 will wipe out half the population of the earth, but for now, I don't think that the ridicule is really out of any real 'fear' of the different. Perhaps some insecure people feel uncomfortable about someone, shock horror, having other interests than the larger mass of people.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:00 AM   #18
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But your point about perspective is well taken. What is the difference, really, between putting on a Hobbit outfit for a convention of some kind, or a movie premier, and donning a Cheese-head at Lambeau Field. Both are costumes that invoke enthusiasm for that particular passion.

I should mention here that as a Wisconsinite, I have done both, and frozen my butt off at the second.
If its a hobby or a 'passion', and said passion does not harm others or oneself, then it is a natural part of humanity; however, when passion descends into obsession then the are dangers present. For instance, gambling can prove horrible if a vice becomes an addiction, or something as innocuous as an online RP game (like WoW or EverQuest) can present real-life problems for those who become obsessed (I know cases where people have become so addicted to the games they've lost their jobs and gotten divorces -- they didn't call EverQuest EverCrack for nothing). Then there's the irrational folks who stalk stars in order to live out some deluded fantasy.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:51 AM   #19
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I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. Used to think that I was geeky; then I went to a Star Trek convention .
Extreme Trekkies are scary. I know a couple who met at a convention whilst dressed as Klingons and then they got married in full costume...I say "know", it's more "knew" because on the Millennium they were so scared they shut themselves in their cellar with supplies and nobody has seen them since.

Still, I'm the only Hobbit from Gallifrey so I haven't got room to talk, have I?
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #20
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Middle-earth is much deeper and meaningful than any non-believer could understand.
Hehe... too true.

Before I came to these wonderful Downs I had to be a fan "by myself", because only one person who I knew has read LOTR (or any other Tolkien books), and he didn't like to discuss it. NO ONE at my school even knew who Tolkien was! And even when I explained, they wouldn't get it for like 5 minutes. And then they'd roll their eyes and say something like "why don't you get facebook instead?" or "why don't you watch this reality show this evening instead of reading?". And one of my friends sometimes makes references to Tolkien like "the person who wrote the books that you always read".

So yeah. My Tolkien obsession is pretty much ignored by the majority of people. And the rest either disapprove or are too exasperated to say anything serious about it.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:27 AM   #21
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*Laughs heartily* Does this imply that celebrities live a 'real' life? Unbelievable.

I can say that no one can prove that God is real, yet plenty of people worship Him. Are they all insane loons?

Well, that's my view when someone tells me, "You're obsessed!"
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:53 AM   #22
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I can say that no one can prove that God is real, yet plenty of people worship Him. Are they all insane loons?
My lips are sealed.

Anyway, I'd proudly call myself a Tolkien geek, and I see no reason to hide or feel ashamed about that (not that it shows, mind you, and like 80 % of my acquaintances probably have no clue that I know the history of Arda better than I know the history of my own country). I mean, most people like their fellows to be open about who they are if you have a certain sense of humour about it, and those who don't, well, they probably aren't worth the effort to try to impress in the first place. Obsessive people are rather tiresome though, whether they are sports-freaks, Trekkies, or Tolkien-geeks, and obsession to me signifies something unhealthy. Keep it in perspective, I suppose I'm saying.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:25 AM   #23
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Anyway, I'd proudly call myself a Tolkien geek, and I see no reason to hide or feel ashamed about that (not that it shows, mind you, and like 80 % of my acquaintances probably have no clue that I know the history of Arda better than I know the history of my own country).
Ditto.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:46 AM   #24
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My lips are sealed.
Haha! Well, gotta agree with you there
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:47 AM   #25
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Ditto.
I third that!
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:21 AM   #26
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Having found this thread again whilst looking for another thread, I have a few things to say about it that I didn't before.

Recently I had the (not so pleasant opportunity) to experience obsessive from another point of view. Before, I would brag about how obsessive I was, but no more. I now know what obsessive looks from another angle, and it scared me. For a while I was quasi-courting a young man (who was actually rather boring). I tried to ask him things about himself, like what things he liked to do with his spare time, what he wanted to do as a career, what his favourite books were, ect. He wasn't forthcoming with information, and it took me a while to realise why. What I did learn was not only did I find that he was as aimless as anyone could be, but he was also obsessive, dangerously obsessive. After discovering this, it didn't take long for me to distance myself from him. I found what the other side of that feels like, and I was actually rather disgusted. I find myself now telling openly geeky people to "get a life" under my breath, because sometimes you just go over your head in your fandom.

Being a nerdy individual, myself, I completely understand having interests that many other people may not have (for instance, Tolkien still fits into this category, Doctor Who, not so much any more). It is normal to have special interests -- like ours in Tolkien -- but when one takes those interests too far, the result is often frightening, even to the most hardened nerds. Personally, when I joined the Downs, I was so very obsessed, because I couldn't talk to anyone about my new love. My thirteen-year-old self would have married LotR if these books were a person. Now that I have a bit of perspective, I have been weaning myself off of my obsessive traits, because I see how damaging it is to be such an individual. I still love Tolkien, I still love Lord of the Rings, I still have a happy feeling every time I visit the Barrow-Downs (even though for a while I got no joy out of it), but I understand now why my family would look at me funny and feel ashamed for knowing me, and I wasn't even to the realm of dangerously obsessive yet. It is quite a thought. . .
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:41 AM   #27
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Wow, that is really scary.

I have been in a similar situation before, when all I did one summer was reread LOTR over and over. My parents were very concerned about me and I couldn't figure out why. They need not have been; even LOTR eventually gets dull once you've learned it by heart, and I've found the Downs so I could express my interest for Tolkien in ways other than reading the same book. And for another year or so my parent's didn't even know I'm still interested in Tolkien (because they did not know about the Downs).

Now, I would say I'm not obsessed with Tolkien in RL. I like him very much, but I'm not obsessed. I'm obsessed with him on the Downs (which is the point). However, in RL I'm obsessed with the Downs, because it's such a part of my daily life now.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:17 AM   #28
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I'm not so sure about this, Hooky. I don't think television gave us Tolkien. which means, I myself rarely read television.

Perhaps The Downer should do an indepth inquiry into this.
Read television?!? How?

LOL. You mean watch.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:38 PM   #29
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My thirteen-year-old self would have married LotR if these books were a person. Now that I have a bit of perspective, I have been weaning myself off of my obsessive traits, because I see how damaging it is to be such an individual. I still love Tolkien, I still love Lord of the Rings, I still have a happy feeling every time I visit the Barrow-Downs (even though for a while I got no joy out of it), but I understand now why my family would look at me funny and feel ashamed for knowing me, and I wasn't even to the realm of dangerously obsessive yet. It is quite a thought. . .
Oh yes, I know about that one! But it's because Lord of the Rings are such wonderful books, this is what happens. You effectively discover another world.

It mellows eventually. Hopefully. If you are lucky, it never leaves you. I've now grown long in the tooth enough to be feel comfortable criticising Tolkien or things in his writing without feeling like a traitor and I think this is good. A pinch of cynicism is always useful. Heaping scorn on the things you love is weird though, and that's something in Geek World that does not tally with me.

There's nothing like a proper Geek Out though. Since coming out of the closet as Geek I love getting kicks from pure childlike excitement at a new TV series/book/film. I don't know why people criticise, I think it's jealousy because let's be frank, there's not a lot of fun to be had about a new range of mortgages or golf clubs or wines, or other such boring middle aged fare.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:10 PM   #30
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Having found this thread again whilst looking for another thread, I have a few things to say about it that I didn't before.

Recently I had the (not so pleasant opportunity) to experience obsessive from another point of view. Before, I would brag about how obsessive I was, but no more. I now know what obsessive looks from another angle, and it scared me. For a while I was quasi-courting a young man (who was actually rather boring). I tried to ask him things about himself, like what things he liked to do with his spare time, what he wanted to do as a career, what his favourite books were, ect. He wasn't forthcoming with information, and it took me a while to realise why. What I did learn was not only did I find that he was as aimless as anyone could be, but he was also obsessive, dangerously obsessive. After discovering this, it didn't take long for me to distance myself from him. I found what the other side of that feels like, and I was actually rather disgusted. I find myself now telling openly geeky people to "get a life" under my breath, because sometimes you just go over your head in your fandom.

.
I am now a bit morbidly curious as to the nature of this obsession but I can't see that a literary based obsession is going to be so unhealthy - it isn't like having a vast arsenal of guns and explosives. I suppose if people tip over into thinking it is real but then there is an underlying issue looking for expression. I suppose I got into it as an unhappy adolescent having a miserable time at school and Middle Earth (but not only Middle Earth) was a refuge. Although I have no love for the films they did renew my interest after a long gap (I had read and virtually memorised everything apart from HoME before university and then a 60 book reading list distracted me!!! It may not have been a coincidence that it also coincided with another difficult time in my life and I needed an escape again.

However my pro-obsession argument is that while I may have spent time re reading Tolkien I could have used reading other books but I have been motivated to learn so much other stuff because my interest has been in part piqued by Tolkien directly or indirectly. I was probably one of the few in my cohort who was really enthusiastic about the linguistics component of our degree course, then there was the astronomy evening class and the herbalism... ok I am probably never going to have to kill a troll but as a mental exercise working out how much gold you would need to leaf the roof of edoras and its value in prime horseflesh for a RPG proposal is stretching... let alone the mythology and history (for some reason I only seem to have learned about the Industrial Revolution at school).

What do you know of Tolkien if you only Tolkien know?
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:02 AM   #31
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What do you know of Tolkien if you only Tolkien know?
Arrggghh! I'm trying to remember what that's a paraphrase of.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:29 AM   #32
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Kipling though I had forgotten... And what should they know of England who only England know?--
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:34 AM   #33
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That's it! I was only reading it the other week, although I may have been reading someone else quoting it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:18 AM   #34
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I am now a bit morbidly curious as to the nature of this obsession but I can't see that a literary based obsession is going to be so unhealthy - it isn't like having a vast arsenal of guns and explosives. I suppose if people tip over into thinking it is real but then there is an underlying issue looking for expression. I suppose I got into it as an unhappy adolescent having a miserable time at school and Middle Earth (but not only Middle Earth) was a refuge. Although I have no love for the films they did renew my interest after a long gap (I had read and virtually memorised everything apart from HoME before university and then a 60 book reading list distracted me!!! It may not have been a coincidence that it also coincided with another difficult time in my life and I needed an escape again.
I am hesitant to say much, because it was a rather embarrassing for myself and for him. All I will say of the matter is that his obsession was a bit on the. . . depraved side; it certainly wasn't literary! Unfortunately, it took me a while to figure that out. I would have been very supportive if it were of a literary nature, but because it wasn't, I decided to end it there, because I was quite done with it. In fact, I don't know if he's ever read any books.

Quote:
However my pro-obsession argument is that while I may have spent time re reading Tolkien I could have used reading other books but I have been motivated to learn so much other stuff because my interest has been in part piqued by Tolkien directly or indirectly. I was probably one of the few in my cohort who was really enthusiastic about the linguistics component of our degree course, then there was the astronomy evening class and the herbalism... ok I am probably never going to have to kill a troll but as a mental exercise working out how much gold you would need to leaf the roof of edoras and its value in prime horseflesh for a RPG proposal is stretching... let alone the mythology and history (for some reason I only seem to have learned about the Industrial Revolution at school).

What do you know of Tolkien if you only Tolkien know?
I understand your sentiments completely. If it weren't for Tolkien and the Downs, then I would hardly have many of my hobbies and interests today. I am more scholarly now than I would have been if I hadn't read LotR when I did. I may have well decided to become some sort of hoodlum like my cousins, but I would much rather be here on the Downs instead now...
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:56 PM   #35
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Ack! Double-post, but I didn't see this earlier.

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Oh yes, I know about that one! But it's because Lord of the Rings are such wonderful books, this is what happens. You effectively discover another world.

It mellows eventually. Hopefully. If you are lucky, it never leaves you. I've now grown long in the tooth enough to be feel comfortable criticising Tolkien or things in his writing without feeling like a traitor and I think this is good. A pinch of cynicism is always useful. Heaping scorn on the things you love is weird though, and that's something in Geek World that does not tally with me.

There's nothing like a proper Geek Out though. Since coming out of the closet as Geek I love getting kicks from pure childlike excitement at a new TV series/book/film. I don't know why people criticise, I think it's jealousy because let's be frank, there's not a lot of fun to be had about a new range of mortgages or golf clubs or wines, or other such boring middle aged fare.
I have noticed the mellowing. I am like wine. I have come to the point that I can criticise, but I do not do so often. I don't feel remorse for doing it anymore.
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