Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

For discussion of Amazon's new television show "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power"
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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elengil wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 5:13 pm To come back to the Irish angle, if a story was an Irish story set in Ireland telling about the history of the Irish but was played entirely by non-Irish actors employing outrageously bad accents and playing to every negative stereotype there was, that would be just as bad as Mickey Rooney's character in Breakfast at Tiffany's because it's not inclusion, it's not diversity, it's not even pandering - it's just straight up racist against a group of real people. While I haven't watched it to comment from my own observation, I've heard plenty of other sources decrying the Harfoots as being racist stereotypes of the Irish, which is both unfortunate and unsurprising given that - as we've all acknowledged - the Irish have faced their share of racism.
I wouldn't know where to start :) From Darby O'Gill and the Little People to Far and Away, Sons of Anarchy, Peaky Blinders, even Belfast which was excellent had Judi Dench for some reason. I actually have less of a problem with the HArfoots because a) they're not actually depicting Irish people and b) their accents wander all over the UK so if they're racist stereotypes of the Irish they're equally racist to West country, Brummies, Somerset and parts of Scotland. :)
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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RoseMorninStar wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 7:28 pm This was a nightmare to type, btw. :P
It was worth the effort, thanks!
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Frelga wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 9:48 pm Consider that an all-white cast only feels realistic to some people. I've lived in California long enough that a white out like that feels weird to me.
Well of course! It would be as bizarre to have a homogeneously white cast in a Californian movie as it would be to have a multiracial cast in 18th century Ireland.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Alatar wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:33 am
Frelga wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 9:48 pm Consider that an all-white cast only feels realistic to some people. I've lived in California long enough that a white out like that feels weird to me.
Well of course! It would be as bizarre to have a homogeneously white cast in a Californian movie as it would be to have a multiracial cast in 18th century Ireland.
I, too, would prefer an authentic second age Elven, dwarfish, orcish, etc., cast, but as we have to do with 21st century humans, I don't see how making it look like whatever century anywhere is going to be more authentic than a different century somewhere else.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Sorry not following that at all...
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Rephrasing for clarity - Middle-earth does not represent any specific time or place in real Earth history, and no one casting choice is more "authentic" than another. Unless we can get real Elves and orcs.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Ah. Technically true, but materially incorrect. Tolkien made it very clear that Middle-earth was Europe

From Tolkien Gateway, but I'm sure Voronwë could provide all the original sources
Tolkien envisioned his stories to take place on our world, in an imaginary historical period that contains the essentials of northwestern Europe. He did not see his stories as happening on a "remote globe in 'space'", as was the case with other contemporary fiction.

As for the later legendarium, The Shire was not only conceptually based on rural England, but was also expressly stated to be "in this region", "the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea".

Concerning the Shire, Tolkien stated that he intended it to correspond roughly to the latitude of Oxford, which would cause other Middle-earth locations to correspond (but not necessarily equate with) real-life locations. For instance, Minas Tirith would fall to about the latitude of Florence, and Pelargir and the mouths of Anduin to that of ancient Troy. According to the annotations provided by J.R.R. Tolkien to Pauline Baynes, Hobbiton is again approximately at the same latitude as Oxford, and Minas Tirith is about the latitude of Ravenna. The bottom of the map is about the latitude of Jerusalem, and Umbar about that of Cyprus. Minas Tirith, being approximately 900 miles east of Hobbiton, is located near Belgrade.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Going back to what Rose quoted.
All I can say is that, if it were 'history', it would be difficult to fit the lands and events (or 'cultures') into such evidence as we possess, archaeological or geological, concerning the nearer or remoter part of what is now call Europe; though the Shire, for instance, is expressly state to have been in this region
And again
The Númenóreans of Gondor were proud, peculiar, and archaic, and I think are best pictured in (say) Egyptian terms. In many ways they resembled 'Egyptians' - the love of, and power to construct, the gigantic and massive.
And while the Shire is tied to rural England, it makes the relationship with history less plausible, not more.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Frelga wrote: Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:53 pm What do you mean by Eastern countries? Asian, or Eastern European? Or both, I guess.

I come from a South Asian country so specifically had that in mind, where racism very much exists but is of a much different nature than the discourse I'm used to having in online circles where it skews mostly to western notions.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Frelga wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 12:04 pm Going back to what Rose quoted.
All I can say is that, if it were 'history', it would be difficult to fit the lands and events (or 'cultures') into such evidence as we possess, archaeological or geological, concerning the nearer or remoter part of what is now call Europe; though the Shire, for instance, is expressly state to have been in this region
And again
The Númenóreans of Gondor were proud, peculiar, and archaic, and I think are best pictured in (say) Egyptian terms. In many ways they resembled 'Egyptians' - the love of, and power to construct, the gigantic and massive.
And while the Shire is tied to rural England, it makes the relationship with history less plausible, not more.
Agreed, but I personally feel that Tolkien is talking more about architecture than race here. YMMV.

In any case I'm not sure how productive the discussion is, particularly since I really don't feel that strongly and am just presenting the alternate viewpoint so it feels weird to be arguing the distinctions when I really am not that bothered. If people are happy with Black Elves and Multiracial Hobbits, its no skin off my nose. I'm personally ambivalent. I do see it as tokenism, but I'm ok with that. I do however, strongly feel that colourblindness, if we are to aspire to it, needs to be a two way street. I should be able to play Othello if Samuel L Jackson can play Macbeth. Or Simba, who's a cartoon Lion. :)
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Here's an article from the Harvard Crimson you may be interested in Al (and everyone else too). It's a little deep for my interests but fits this discussion even if it's a few years old. Unpopular Opinion: Color-Blind Casting Isn’t ‘Woke’ — It’s Racist
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Its a little muddled to be honest and conflates colourblind and colour-conscious peculiarly. It also assumes we are talking about Broadway or the West End, or Hollywood, professional arenas where it conceivable to cast all parts racially correct. THat's not necessarily the case in amateur circles in Ireland or in a middle school in the bible belt. Lin Manuel recently said that he believed in amateur or school circuits there should be no limitation on who plays the parts because (and I'm paraphrasing) if some white kid in Ohio knows what the Puerto Rican flag looks like cause he played Usnavi, then thats a win. We performed "In the Heights" in 2018. Now we would not be allowed to. And I think thats a backward step. It means powerful, important stories will never be told in the communities that most need to hear them. Its anti educational.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Alatar wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:08 pm We performed "In the Heights" in 2018. Now we would not be allowed to. And I think thats a backward step. It means powerful, important stories will never be told in the communities that most need to hear them. Its anti educational.
Local productions are a completely different kettle of fish. I agree with your comment above.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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That goes back to what elengil (I think) posted - that just because the actor is a certain ethnicity doesn't mean the character is. I recall a certain Irishman played Tevye the Milkman, and did it splendidly, I do not doubt. And having an Irish Christian play a quintessentially Jewish character is far more of a stretch than having a Puerto Rican play an Elf, IMHO.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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A point I regularly make myself! When people say "That's not my story to tell" I ask, "Well, what is? Can I only play me?"
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Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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I hear you, Al. That would be limiting indeed. And what would be the point of being an actor, then?

At the same time I have cringed at depictions of Indians in so many books & movies and shows. But that cringeing is not to do with who is playing the role (often Indians)… so I’m losing my point.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Alatar wrote:A point I regularly make myself! When people say "That's not my story to tell" I ask, "Well, what is? Can I only play me?"
I think it's different for an actor than a writer, and I have a lot of thoughts that don't really belong in this thread. Actors embody the story where writers generate it.

There is no reason why an Irish actor can't play Tevye, provided he understands the context of the story. (I also have a lot of thoughts about the intended audience of the story. Sholom Aleihem wrote the story for other Jews, who knew. The musical is staged for wider audiences, who don't. For example, the version I saw on Broadway did nothing to indicate how sanitized and fluffed up the pogrom scene)

Equally, there is no reason, why a Black, Hispanic, or Asian actor can't play a hobbit, elf, or Numenorian.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Agreed
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

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Voronwë the Faithful wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 2:09 pm Jews have been "on the receiving end" for a lot longer than the Irish. Most of my family was wiped out in the Holocaust. Both my grandfather (my mother's father) and my father had to change their last names in order to practice law in New York. When I was growing up, other children threw pennies at me calling out "Jewbegger, Jewbegger."
O/T. I don't intend to make an extended discussion of this here but it's been bothering me and I didn't want to let it slide. Kids are mean. They generally acquire mean racist concepts from their family and later their peers. I'm so sorry this happened to you V. How awful. Most of us have been the target of bullying and/or cruel behavior but that's beyond the pale. Decades ago 'Polish jokes' were common and good riddance they've gone by the wayside. I recall a few other mindless racist rhymes, etc.. aimed at specific ethnicities (Japanese or Chinese for example) but as I was raised in an area with peoples of mostly European (Eastern & Western) heritage I don't ever recall these being directed AT a particular person. There is ignorance and there is cruelty. Hopefully enlightenment can crush ignorance and eventually result in less cruelty. We'd all be better for it.
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Re: Discussion about the Discussion about RoP

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Rose, that is very kind of you to say. :hug:
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