Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, December 13, 2002  

Foolish and Not-foolish Columnists Department: Is the Lord of the Rings racist? Was J.R.R. Tolkien racist?

Yes, says John Yatt in the London Guardian: "Perhaps I'd better come right out and say it. The Lord of the Rings is racist. It is soaked in the logic that race determines behaviour."

Nonsense, says Joel Miller at Razormouth. He says that LOTR isn't racist, and Professor Tolkien certainly wasn't.

To see this, go no further than Tolkien's own refusal to sign a document confirming his lack of any Jewish blood before a German translation of the Hobbit could be authorized in 1938. From his letter to his English publisher:
Personally I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestätigung ["confirmation"] ... and let a German translation go hang. ... I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine.


That should just about sew that up. If Yatt is correct, Tolkien was a strange sort of racist?one who didn't even subscribe to his own "pernicious and unscientific" view.

Or, perhaps Yatt is just full of it.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:31 AM
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Better Than Barbara Walters Department: Sand in the Gears offers a holiday--no, make that Christmas--exclusive: an interview with Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer!

Sand: You mentioned a couple of years ago, to a reporter for the North Pole News, that you don't like the way some people mingle your statue -- and Santa's -- with the more traditional nativity figures. Talk about that.

Rudolph: I think it's just wrong.

Sand: Sacrilegious?

Rudolph: Yeah, that's part of it. I mean, I'm Episcopalian, right, so it's not like I'm a big literal Bible guy or anything, but still, this is Jesus we're talking about here.

Sand: And Mary.

Rudolph: Right, right. Got a lot of Catholic fans out there. Love you guys. Jesus and Mary.

Sand: So it bothers you.

Rudolph: Heck yeah it bothers me. Remember the name -- Christmas. Christmas. This is the big guy's show. I'm just glad I can contribute.

Sand: Some people would correct you, and point out that the holiday was here before the Christians appropriated it. They'd tell you that the term Christmas is offensive, and that you should say "Holiday Season." They'd say mingling you guys in with the wise men is a good way to make such displays less offensive.

Rudolph: Yeah, let 'em say that when they're sucking on a hot coal in Hell.

Sand: Sounds like you've got some strong opinions on this.

Rudolph: I just hate the whining. "Oh, my feelings are hurt because I have to drive past that little plastic Jesus in a fake manger." Give me a break.

Sand: So, for the record, you oppose having your statue on display too close to Jesus and Mary.

Rudolph: I know my place, alright? Holiday Season. Season's Greetings. Yeah, God took on human form and got crucified as His own special way of telling everyone, "Happy Holidays." Give me a freaking break.


You can't find cutting-edge interviews like that anywhere else, folks. Baba Wawa, the Incwedibow Wiving Wegend has nothing on Tony Woodlief.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:38 AM
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Thursday, December 12, 2002  

The Bride of Links for the Linkless Department: No, I haven't forgotten about this, nor have I gotten tired of it. Just been crazy busy at work and at home.

Presenting Surfduke!. I figured anyone with a name like that had to be cool. A recent post talks about "the Jesus I have never met in church," the angry Jesus.

We are so preoccupied with making Jesus politically correct and passionless. It is amazing how different the real Jesus looks to me then the Jesus the church gives me or that I have concocted in my head. I want to be like the passionate and furious Jesus. The Jesus who gets mad and tells people where to go. The one who loves so much he gets mad when others don't. I wanna know this Jesus and make him known!


Next up is mikao's world, by yet another Canadian blogger. (All part of the World Domination by the Humble plot, eh, Bene?) On Sunday, she was bemoaning her seemingly infinite capacity for procrastination:
i am the procrastinator of all procrastinators. i could be the head procrastinator. i could give procrastinating lessons and seminars. except i would put off planning them until the last minute and they wouldn't be any good anyways.

why did i ever start seminary anyways? why did i think graduate studies would be a good idea?

oh yeah, because it's where God led me. huh.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:46 AM
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Wednesday, December 11, 2002  

Canned Goods Department: Tornado in a Can, eh? This is a fun story. I hope Frank Polifka succeeds with his invention.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:31 PM
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Big Blogroll Department: I've added Jordon Cooper. He's another one of those humble Canadians.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:31 AM
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Tuesday, December 10, 2002  

Song of the Day Department: No lyrics, but this one is an .mp3 you can download for FREE! Yes, it's a legit freebie, too; no pirated downloads for me! The song is "Joy to the World", but you've probably not heard it done quite this way before. It's from the CD OY To The World: A Klezmer Christmas by the Klezmonauts.

Oy! indeed. I have to chuckle every time I listen.

p.s. So, what's klezmer, anyway? Click the link, already!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:18 PM
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Monday, December 09, 2002  

Linkages Department: Cruciform Chronicle lists Dispatches from Outland in its blogroll. Put it in the looking glass, and Dispatches from Outland lists Cruciform Chronicle it it's blogroll.

Thanks, Bible Geek!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 5:08 PM
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Song of the Day Department: Been far too long since I've done this. Today's song is "Cry of a Tiny Babe" by Bruce Cockburn.

(I've been listening to Cockburn's Christmas CD quite a bit lately. Go get it if you don't already have it.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:49 PM
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News From The North Department: Not only is Canada "morally superior" than the U.S., it's more humble to boot.

"One of the great moral characteristics is a humble acknowledgement of one's abilities, and Canadians are better than anyone at this," according to Richard Gwyn, of The Toronto Star. "Our humility can kick the butt of anyone else's humility, bar none."


Has Bene Diction heard this?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:38 PM
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