Agree with this 100%. I tend not to read classics because I have had a poor time with the ones I have read. In year 10 English, the main book we read in first semester was Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I had high hopes for but I found it boring. I don't know if it's considered a classic, but I had read J. R. R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy a few years earlier, and those were even harder to read, although The Fellowship of the Ring was actually alright.
I haven’t ever finishing any of them, but I will say that the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring is far more interesting than the beginning of The Hobbit, which I found very slow. Though I shouldn’t talk having only read the first third or so of the Hobbit and the first eighth of the Fellowship of the Rings.
Welcome! I know somebody’s already commented on your flag, and I have to agree that it is very nice and Green. You shall make a fine tree (or a fine white planet-flower on a green background, your choice)
Other than Scotland, where else are bagpipes popular? And wow that is a nice range of countries. I think I’ve got Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Austrian, German, Ukrainian, and Belarusian, but then again they were all Ashkenazi Jews so no real ethnic difference.
Somehow I missed this my first quoting round, but congrats! I’m actually surprised it took you this long, I had the impression you’d been here for years, but maybe that’s just because of how active you are!
Thanks for the warm welcome! :)
I don't want to jump into the middle of your conversation about bagpipes, but I'm Scottish and they do resonate with me. I agree they are pan- cultural, but I can only speak for me. I definitely get a tear in the eye at Hogmanay when the lone piper plays before the bells.
I think my problem is that there has been a bunch of iterations of Terrabod - originally I was gunning for a kind of extreme surveillance state so my highest rankings were in things like Authoritarianism, Death Rate and Defence Forces. Now I've decided to run it as a "benevolent dictatorship" so my highest rankings are Lifespan, Pacifism etc and we have no military at all. I think that's why it's taken me so long to get anywhere.
I could have responded to this hours ago, my apologies.
It's been years since I actually read LotR, but I do remember even at the time that things seemed like they were actually happening in The Fellowship of the Ring, since there was the bigger, more varied group traveling together, and they focused on more than just walking and sleeping. In comparison, all I can remember of The Two Towers, my least favourite, was that the smaller group did a lot of walking (and I feel like they focused on the walking a bit too much, to my memory) and they wrote 5 pages on someone (usually Frodo, I think) sleeping every night. The Return of the King was mostly just more of this, but it had more intense parts like battles and traveling through Mordor. I know The Two Towers had bits like this too, but I can't for the life of me remember any of them, nor do I think there were as many of these moments.
Now these thoughts are being written based upon a memory of the books that is about 6 years old, so my memory is likely pretty vague, but the vibe at least should reflect my thoughts on them back then even after all this time.
I haven't actually read The Hobbit, which I contribute wholly to the fact that I disliked The Lord of the Rings. We were offered a choice of two books to read in year 9 English, and you could do your work on either one based on which you preferred. The Hobbit was the first choice, and Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah was the other. The Lord of the Rings was fresh enough in my mind that reading what would be very similar just sounded awful and picked the other very easily. For what it's worth, having read Chinese Cinderella, that one was more to my taste than The Hobbit would have ever been, though it plays somewhat to my love of history rather than my love of fantasy.
I don't think you can really treat "the classics" as a monolithic whole. Chances are you don't uniformly feel the same way about everything being written at the moment, so why should you expect to feel the same way about everything written in the 19th century? You don't have to wade through everything to find something you like.
Older works are likely to be more difficult to approach just because as readers we don't share as much of the cultural context they come from. They often predate our ideas of genre and what a story should be like. They also tend to come with the baggage of school - its easy to resent something you're made to read and produce essays on.
On the particular works discussed, I do like Shakespeare for the incredible richness of the language. The plots can indeed be lacking, but just sticking with The Merchant of Venice (anti-Semitic though it certainly is) "The quality of mercy is not strained/ it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven" and "...nor thrust your head into the public street/ to gaze on Christian fools with varnished faces" are both gorgeous, and the text is rich with other examples. If it doesn't float your boat then fair enough - I'd never be so narrow-minded as to say that if you don't like it you haven't understood it - but it works for me.
I think LotR will endure because of the scale of its world-building and because it single-handedly defines a whole genre of fiction and roleplaying games, in addition to the boost provided by the films. It's arguably more problematic than The Merchant of Venice, however. Without exception. characters are admirable or bad as determined first by their race and secondly by the purity of their bloodline. All forms of change are portrayed as decline rather than progress and the text longs for the idealised pastoral ethnostate of The Shire while wishing the whole of modernity could be cast back into the fire in which it was forged. There isn't even the mitigation of a "Hath an orc/Southron/Dunlending not eyes?" type speech.
If people in 200 years time take courses in early 21st century literature I wonder what will be on the curriculum.
If the RMB page number were the year:
I would be 6 years old; in primary school, mummy's boy, teacher's pet, and 'kiss chaser' of girls in the school playground - Next year would be the first time one would let me catch them...
Nobody forgets their first.
Unrelated, but is the "junglist massive" from your name a drum and bass thing or am I just reading too much into it?
They both start slow, but at least for me the beginning of FoTR starts dragging after a while. I have this feeling tolkien just really liked describing things and not so much events.
Maybe it's because I read The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings at two very different moments in my life, but the two are actually quite different. Tolkien basically told a bunch of bedtime stories to his kids taking place in his personal worldbuilding project (Tolkien would have 100% been a nationstates player), and then wrote these down as The Hobbit. That's why The Hobbit is far more episodic and more child-like than TLotR, which is a bit... Darker and walk-ier. Like, TLotR probably wouldn't have a scene where comically evil trolls want to cook the protagonist, but waste so much time arguing how he should be prepared that the sun starts rising and the sunlight turns them into stone. There's a sort of humor in The Hobbit that wouldn't fit TLotR. But then again, I read these long ago, I might be misremembering
And on this day, priceless pieces of art were deleted from the internet forever
That's so true. I'm a big fan of gothic horror, especially Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Unlike Lura I did enjoy Dracula, although it's not what I expected of the seminal work on vampires. A considerable portion of the book is devoted to real estate (seriously) so you really do have to temper you expectations before reading.
And it's not that I'm anti-Shakespeare or anything, I like the clever use of language in A Midsummer Night's Dream and I really enjoy Macbeth for its complex themes and characters. Just as you do, though, I have to have personal reasons to like those works; "because Shakespeare" or "because old" aren't reason enough for me.
Yeah, this. My point isn't that all classics are bad, but that since we don't think every work of modern literature appeals to everyone, we shouldn't think the same of all classic literature. I do know people that think the classics offer universal insight and speak to everyone, but I don't believe that's true. And I do know people who would say that if you don't like [insert pre-20th century work of literature here] it's only because you didn't understand it. Holding classics like Jane Eyre or Les Misérables up as idols and saying that everything afterwards objectively pales in comparison is damaging, I think, because it limits discussion instead of encouraging it and ignores the fact that later works do provide unique insight on countless different themes. I'm pretty sure that none of us likes every classic work of literature, and we should celebrate those differences of opinion because it leads to thought-provoking conversations.
On a side note, I'm sorry if it came across like the discussion on the antisemitic tropes in The Merchant of Venice means I think people who like it are antisemitic - that's so far from the truth. It's difficult to find literature that isn't problematic in some way, and I think frank and open discussions of the underlying issues of a work are super important. That kind of honest dialogue doesn't have to take away from our appreciation of a work, but it's good to acknowledge its flaws and promote a full understanding of its context and messages - like with your points on racism in LoTR. I'm a huge huge fan of classic films, but I'm the first one to admit that in the majority of cases the stories they tell have a complete lack of diversity that reflects the pervasive racism, sexism and homophobia of the time. Black characters are almost entirely non-existent and when they are present filmmakers have reduced them to a handful of very damaging stereotypes (like Mammy in Gone With the Wind). And good luck finding a sympathetic portrayal of a gay person! It doesn't mean I don't like films from that era, but I do think it's important to be socially conscious about the harm and benefit that those works have done. Some really pushed the boundaries of the era, and it's worth acknowledging that, but many others failed to do so, and it's worth acknowledging that too.
Hey... Where is that list with all the ambassadors? I was looking for it to see which regions already have an ambassador and which regions have the same ambassador but the list is like... Gone? Or at least I can't find it anyway, I'd appreciate it if someone could link it
You have to be trying to get a racist reading out of LoTR.
The Shire is not, by any means, an ethnostate, simply because it is dominated by one race. The important thing is they aren’t closed to visitors (almost all of the time, unless they have no manners). Sam, who is perhaps the most admirable character of the bunch, has no bloodline to speak of. Also, technically it’s more present in the Hobbit, but the Elves and Dwarves are not charitable to each other. Boromir is a noble and rather ambiguous, as is his father.
Orcs are evil because they are enslaved, not because Orcs are all evil. Tolkien was not a racist and this is a smear.
As for a lack of diaspora in towns, his world lacks the diaspora of modern times because it is not technologically advanced or globalized (things Tolkien shunned).
Edit: Also, Aragorn, I should mention, is already not a pure human, and very deliberately marries an Elf. The line of Gondor itself isn’t all that “pure”.
Eh, you're treating this as if it's something self-evident, but Tolkien was a white englishman living in the early 20th century. It would be very hard for him not to be racist, even by the time's standards. The book has a certain racial subtext, though it is pretty diluted and not that important for the overall themes in my opinion. But tolkien did famously describe the orcs as "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types" in a private letter to Forrest Ackerman. Even the tone of this description I think shows what Tolkien's racism really was: a passive sort of old-timey racism he probably never noticed or even thought about.
edit: In fact, I'd argue that while Tolkien put some of his "passive" racism in the book, he also put something of what was at the time some pretty radical anti-racism, because these two things don't need to be contradictory.
Actually, I just noticed this whole argument I just did is basically like the middle part of Lindsay Ellis's Bright video essay. Forget everything you just read and go watch that instead, it's a good video and Lindsay has a big, smart brain while have a small, dumb brain.
I have a dispatch with the list, but it is unfortunately neither very accurate nor very full because very few people ever volunteer to be an ambassador, and even then many of the older ambassadors don’t seem to feel the need to notify me of their continued ambassadorship.
I will also take this opportunity to make a shameless plug for the Foreign Affairs branch:
“Do you want to help your beloved Forest? Do you want to spread propaganda of our eco-friendly greatness? Do you believe that Forest should spread its eco-friendly, modern, progressive, environmentalist agenda to all the other savage, non-environmentaly-focused regions, in a sort of neo-colonialist way?
AHEM. Well then clearly you are not patriotic enough, and so therefore I demand *glances at my notes* ahem RECOMMEND that you become an ambassador, to help serve our forest of Forest.”
Oh don't you worry, I'm just choosing the region, forest will have a new ambassador very soon.
BUT CHANGING THE SUBJECT:
I've decided that, in order to limit the amount of brainpower I dedicate to this game, I will hold elections for Sereníssima here on the RMB every three months and I'll respond to the issues based on the ideology of whichever party wins. And who vote? You vote. You no need vote, but I thank you if vote.
These elections are not necessarily happening in-lore, because MSRan government works, at least nominally, in a council-based, almost soviet-like form of democracy, without exactly a president or prime minister. Instead, you're voting for what party will hold the majority in the councils nation-wide.
However, just so this main election starts with a bang, the main issue being debated throughout Sereníssima today is: Should The Most Serene Republic straight up ditch capitalism and go back to the eco-socialist system it had before the 90s? Let the people decide*
*the people are actually a random collection of forgein nations
And, if you decide to vote (thank you), here's a short guide so you make an informed decision:
The oldest still existing political party in MSR, the CPMSR was deeply involved in the independence war in the 1960s, and the first leader of the Revolutionary Provisional Government, Liberto Armando, was also the party’s chairman at the time. Besides being the oldest, the CPMSR is also the second largest political party in The Most Serene Rpeublic today.
Though the party is nominally “marxist-leninist” and “Armandist”, it has, in practice, since the 1990s, abandoned it’s revolutionary politics for more moderate democratic-socialist ways. The party has the reversal of the liberalizing reforms as it’s main policy goal, returning the MSR to an eco-socialist, co-op based economy. It is still heavily involved with the labour movement and several indigenous movements throughout the MSR.
The CPMSR has two internal tendencies, though most members aren’t involved with either, being “independent”. The first, the “movement for the equality of the peoples”, has feminist goals and LGBTQIA+ rights as it’s main tennants. The second, the “Independent People’s Party”, has inspirations in the north korean idea of “Juche” and seeks to create a self-sufficient, highly centralized nation. This faction has, allegedly, been involved with more radical and violent communist groups.
The PUP/Serenity is the direct descendant of the Upper Amasarian labour movement and the Sand Amasarian liberation efforts. As such, it is mostly a religious pan-amasarian party. It was the leading party during the independence war, and is the largest political party today.
The party draws from so called “Amasarian Socialism” and “Amasarian Solidarity”, defending a more equal society based on the Amasarian philosophy of pacifism, serenity and inclusiveness. In the past, the party’s economic policies tended towards socialism, though today the party’s economic goals vary heavily. All in all, the party’s passionate defense of civil rights, enviromentalism and religious liberty is still it’s main characteristic today.
The PUP is heavily divided in three internal tendencies: the Progressive Wing, which leans towards progressive social goals and a socially-minded economy; the larger Liberal Wing, which leans towards economic liberalism and was responsible for the reintroduction of capitalism in the MSR and the small Green Party Wing, which varies on it’s economic goals, but has unrestricted enviromentalism as it’s core ideology.
The PSPNL is a religious amasarian conservative and traditionalist party. Compared to the CPMSR and the PUP, it is a very small party, and most of it’s following is concentrated on the south-western area of the MSR, the richer, most historically conservative region.
The party claims to have it’s origins in the Amasarian Labour movement, but is effectively the direct descendent of the ASPNL, a fringe fascist ethno-upper-amasarian group. The party is still accused of being fascistic today, which it denies intently.
The Labour Party is slightly larger than the PSPNL. It was originally an internal tendency of the CPMSR, where most of it’s economic policies come from, but split off due to it’s support of social conservatism and the percieved “liberalization” of the CPMSR. Today, the party has ironically abandoned communism completely, and it's mainly supported by a few labour unions across southern MSR.
The CPMSR-RF is a small, minescule, fringe party which serves as the civil wing of the Popular Army, an armed maoist guerilla which (barely) operates in northern MSR. Both the civil and armed wings are extremely weak due to their defense of a violent proletarian revolution, a belief unpopular among the radically pacifist population of MSR. They split from the CPMSR long ago, but there are rumors that the Independent People's Party faction still maintains ties to the armed group.
The CPMSR-RF is mostly known for it's support of separatist socialist-inspired groups throughout the MSR, such as providing weapons and guerilla fighters to the National Liberation Army of Gurá and Matos in the 1980s and, today, for it's work defending the anarchist-influenced indigenous movement Mountain People's Liberation Army. The group is also known for having engaged in active antifascist conflicts against the now extinct ASPNL during the 90s.
Voting ends at some point tomorrow
I accidentally voted twice, thinking it was an Approval System where you vote for as many parties as you want. FYI I voted for Serenity and Labour, since I’m a Social Democrat, but if you’d like to remove either of them I’m fine with that.
First off, whoops on not reading the RMB for a month (literally) and thus handing out more than 600 likes in under an hour.
Interesting discussions that I missed though and would have liked to participate in had I been reading, oh well.
(Incidentally, as I am just a wee bit of an expert on raiding in general and The Black Hawks in particular, I am willing to answer/explain certain topics of that nature if people have questions - I say this since it was a more recent discussion I specifically missed)