Evil on the March

Monday, September 8, AD 2014

My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson wonders if we are living in a world today where the orcs are winning.

Tolkien’s literary purpose with orcs was not to explore the many shades of evil or the struggle within oneself to avoid the dark side; he did that well enough in dozens of once good but weak characters who went bad such as the turncoat Saruman the wizard, his sidekick Wormtongue, a few of the hobbits who had ruined the Shire, and, best of all, the multifaceted Gollum. Orcs, on the other hand, are unredeemable. Orcs, goblins, and trolls exist as the tools of the even more sinister in proud towers to destroy civilization, and know nothing other than killing and destruction. Their reward is to feed on the crumbs of what they have ruined.

In the 21st century we are often lectured that such simplistic, one-dimensional evil is long gone. An ubiquitous civilization has so permeated the globe that even the worst sorts must absorb some mitigating popular culture from the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook, as if the sheer speed of transmitting thoughts ensures their moral improvement.

Even where democracy is absent, the “world community” and a “global consciousness” are such that billions supposedly won’t let Attila, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan reappear in our postmodern lives. To deal with a Major Hasan, Americans cannot cite his environment as the cause, at least not poverty, racism, religious bigotry, nativism, xenophobia, or any of the more popular –isms and-ologies in our politically correct tool box that we customarily use to excuse and contextualize evil behavior. So exasperated, we shrug and call his murdering “workplace violence” — an apparent understandable psychological condition attributable to the boredom and monotony of the bleak, postmodern office.

 

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Evil is ancient, unchanging, and with us always. The more postmodern the West becomes — affluent, leisured, nursed on moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multicultural relativism — the more premodern the evil among us seems to arise in nihilistic response, whether it is from the primordial Tsarnaev brothers or Jihadi John.  We have invented dozens of new ways to explain away our indifference, our enemies hundreds of new ways of reminding us of our impotence. I suppose we who enjoy the good life don’t want to lose any of it for anything — and will understandably do any amount of appeasing, explaining, and contextualizing to avoid an existential war against the beheaders and mutilators, a fact well-known to our enemies.

The Europeans are shrugging that Ukraine is lost and will soon sigh that the Baltic states are a far-off place not worth risking the coffee shops of Amsterdam to defend. Westerners lament beheadings but then privately mutter that journalists know just what they are getting into when they visit the Middle East. Murdering and abusing a U.S. ambassador on video is not such a big deal anymore and is worth only a second or so mention on Google News.

So we wait behind our suburban Maginot Lines, arguing over our quarter- and half-measure responses, refighting Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were the Somme and Verdun, assured that we can distract ourselves from the horrors abroad with psychodramas about Ferguson, the president’s golfing, his lectures on fairness, and which naked celebrity photo was hacked on the Internet.

Meanwhile the orcs are busy and growing and nearing the ramparts…

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16 Responses to Evil on the March

  • Our Lady foretold a third World War of unimaginable proportions. For a people who have abandoned their creative powers of imagination in pursuit of the seven deadly sins, for a people who make war on God, truth and Justice, for truly the innocent among us are entitled to truth and Justice, the evil is upon us.

  • Mr. McClarey.

    Excellent post sir. So true. So sad.

    In the end, a new heaven and a new earth. Minus the orcs!

  • Oh there are Orcs on the world and yes, they are on the march!

  • “Even where democracy is absent, the “world community” and a “global consciousness” are such that billions supposedly won’t let Attila, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan reappear in our postmodern lives.”

    I don’t get what this means.
    Postmodern folk won’t allow Attila, Tamerlane, and Khan into our lives?
    Do you mean by force of war? That, postmodern times would have people fighting back an Attila?

    I’m confused.

    Because later in the quoted piece Hanson is saying that people won’t fight against that which is unjust.

  • ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Tertullian, Apologeticus, Chapter 50
    .
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” Thomas Jefferson
    .
    Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

  • “Our Lady foretold a third World War of unimaginable proportions…For a people … in pursuit of the seven deadly sins, for a people who make war on God, truth and Justice,..” Mary De Voe.

    I stay awake some nights thinking about this exact same thing, more frequently the last year, esp. here in this jaded bacchanal-lovers’ paradise called California. How long can this go on, and God, who Our Lady has already said was so greatly offended by sinful human actions (1917 revelation at Fatima), who the Psalms say will not stay His hand forever but will arise and punish (Ps. 94), how long can He stay His hand in response to her remonstrations? I do not know…

  • Don’t forget, Orcs can’t make themselves; they have to be carefully corrupted from good, and don’t survive long on their own.

    More use to keep an eye on what force is guiding them, and counter specific attacks. (In my always own view.)

  • From the story-
    Apparently he did not think that anything from his contemporary experience might allow him to imagine reforming or rehabilitating such fictive folk.?

    Really wish he’d done a bit of research… Tolkien DID think about it. That there weren’t any reformed bugged him.

    Oddly, it doesn’t bug me– at least in one version, they’re corrupted elves (and possibly others)– shattered ones, destroyed people to be used as footmen.
    You may as well look at a collection of “shattered eggs” and complain that not a one isn’t broken beyond repair.
    Alternatively, any that might not be totally evil– being made by a bleeping superpower of darkness— are destroyed before they’re finished.

  • Reblogged at http://wearethenewbarbarians.blogspot.com/

    Thanks so much for the very thought provoking reading.

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  • A culture that is blind to evil and ignores it will not survive,the more immediate problem is not Islam but our leaders,the media,and our schools

  • “We are about to have a costly lesson on what foolishness that truly is.” -D.McClarey

    Giving witness to others on behalf of Our Father Our Brother Jesus and The Holy Spirit is your bow arrow and never failing shield. The Holy Martyrs faced the orcs of their day in Holy confidence.

    On Eagles Wings…On Eagles Wings!

  • “We fully regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, slaves against slave-owners, serfs against land-owners, and wage-workers against the bourgeoisie, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.”
    —Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

  • Steve Phoenix: “We fully regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, slaves against slave-owners, serfs against land-owners, and wage-workers against the bourgeoisie, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.”
    —Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)”
    .
    If there is no oppressed class, Lenin will create one.

  • Hanson is a Good German in relation to the Unborn Holocaust. He is on the side of the orcs.

    God save his soul from hell and all of our souls because we don’t fight a war against the people who are responsible for the murder of millions, now billions of unborn children.

  • Where in the world did you get that idea? From a recent column by Hanson:

    “Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet “human.” But emerging science has allowed premature babies five months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over abortion. Yet the idea that fetuses are not viable humans until birth is simply unscientific.”

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/03/06/left-is-selective-about-when-it-embraces-science.html

Review of the Hobbit Trilogy

Saturday, December 28, AD 2013

(Language advisory for the video;   apparently the first film made the reviewer extra grumpy.)

The above video shall serve as a review for the entire Hobbit trilogy.  I saw part II last week and I was certain, perhaps in what felt like the fiftieth hour, that time had ceased and eternity begun.  You know a movie based on The Hobbit is bad, when by the end you are rooting for Smaug to be unleashed on Peter Jackson and his merry band of let’s-see-how-much-money-we-can-flog-out-of-this-dead- Hobbit!  Ah, well, we will always have The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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7 Responses to Review of the Hobbit Trilogy

  • Have to agree with the sentiment – it got boring watching more of the same in Lord of the Rings.
    But I have a nephew who is a real purist and he has been to see this second release three time already.
    But its not a bad thing sitting and watching the unrolling panorama of some of the spectacular scenery of Godzone 🙂 Just makes you wanna get here, don’t it? Even then, I suppose, the continued repetition of the same beauty can become boring – after all, its not REAL heaven, y’know – just looks like it. 🙂

  • Ah, well, we will always have The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    As long as you’re aware that by putting Eomer’s words in Theoden’s mouth, Jackson et. al. completely subverted Tolkien’s intention for the Rohirrim at Pelennor, I guess.

    I’ll admit I get a thrill, nevertheless, every time I watch that particular scene.

    Maybe now we have a sense of how the Battle of the Hornburg would have played out had fear of the fans not given pause. Too bad Jackson lost it.

  • A slight correction Don. Central Illinois is God’s Country, Satan, of course, having staked a claim to Cook County. 🙂

  • The first of the “”Hobbit”” (double “s used deliberately) was so chock-full of emendations, edits, changes, shifts, additions, subtractions and tomfoolery that they should very much emphasize the “Based” on Tolkien’s novel, and add the term “Loosely” in front. I have been debating whether to see the second.

  • Husband’s review: nice movie, shame there’s no book for it.

    We do now know why they wanted Aragorn to be there, though– so he could fall for the Mary Sue.

    When you tell a movie maker to have a kid look at the movie, it’s supposed to be to find plotholes, not to help insert “romance” or write dialog.

  • Making There And Back Again, The Hobbit, just another version and theme of the Trilogy Lord of the Rings was a huge disappointment and unfortunately almost guarantees that a good version will never be made. Alas poor Bilbo, I knew him well.

  • There’s one place on the American map where being an Orc-at-heart is a “survival skill.” Driving on Massachusetts’ busiest and highways east of Worcester County is where you’ll find more Orcish creatures this side of New Zealand.

The Hobbit Opening Day in the US

Friday, December 14, AD 2012

I am immensely looking forward to seeing this.  My family and I will not see the film until next weekend, after my son finishes up finals at the U of I.  That is a good thing, because when the trilogy came out we saw each portion on the weekend before Christmas, so we will be keeping up a family tradition.  Feel free to post here reactions to the film, although no plot spoilers please.

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12 Responses to The Hobbit Opening Day in the US

  • I’m taking my kids to see it at 5:00 this evening.

  • Very much looking forward to seeing it, though when that will actually happen is an open question.

    That being said, watching the previews (and also listening to a review on Catholic radio the other night) it appears as though the tone of the movie will be very much like Lord of the Rings. That’s a bit of a shame since the Hobbit was a much more lighthearted book. Hopefully Jackson wasn’t too heavy-handed with this one.

  • Keep the ent in Advent!

  • Seeing it at 9:30 PM EST with one of my sons tonight. Looking forward to it immensely. Very curious as to how Jackson’s casting decision of Morgan Freeman as Bilbo works out…

  • Seems out of sequence, but there is no mistaking the genius of Peter Jackson’s direction.

  • Haven’t seen it yet – waiting for the rush to subside. The world premiere was held in Wellington last week – what bugs me is all the politicians and hi-so bigheads who prance down the red carpet – what a load of bollocks.
    Anyway, I’m sure it will be great. Hobbiton is about 35 miles away – just outside a town called Matamata in the Waikato region of the North Isalnd.
    The volcano scenes ( the real ones) are shot in our central north Island mountains, where the three of them, Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu are all active volcanoes – Tongariro has erupted twice in the past few months.
    The other mountain scenes are shot in the central South Island high country, around Lake Wanaka and Mt. Aspiring, and Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown and Coronet Peak – all of these areas are popular ski-resort areas.
    The Wellintonians all claim that Wellington is Middle Earth – but half them wouldn’t know the countryside and the great outdoors if it jumped up and bit ’em on the butt – bunch of tossers 😉
    Enjoy the Kiwiana 🙂

  • I liked the movie overall. And I’m glad that Jackson added the backstory from the Appendix and from “The Quest for Erebor” in Unfinished Tales. They nicely tie the story to The Lord of the Rings, which, let’s face it, is the primary reason Jackson wanted to do The Hobbit.

    But to the extent I was disappointed, it was in the fact that Jackson didn’t think sticking to Tolkien’s canon was good enough and added a bunch of extra-canonical stuff that, quite frankly, was complete crapola and added absolutely NOTHING to the story. This could have easily been done in two movies of about 2-and-a-half-hour in length – even with the added backstory information – had Jackson not sought to embellish, with stuff he pulled out of his arse, a tale that didn’t need embellishing.

    There’s enough good stuff in An Unexpected Journey that makes it worth seeing and enjoying. (In no way is this movie as bad as the unwatchable – at least for me – Two Towers.) But one of the ways I was able to enjoy An Unexpected Journey as much as I did was by pretending Jackson’s extra-canonical additions weren’t actually happening.

  • Helpful hint for those who haven’t seen it:

    It’s a 3-hour-long movie, and if you’re like me and you buy the large-sized re-fillable drinks for you and your family, you’ll need to get up at times during the movie to re-fill the drink and to empty your bladder. I found those parts of the movie in which extra-canonical stuff was taking place an excellent time to do these things.

  • A stark reminder of how far we’ve fallen from God’s Grace and become selfish, arrogant, full of oneself, inconsiderate and blind to truth, goodness, beauty and the love of God and neighbor. This type of tale can stir the desire for the quest and the calling that God has given us to build up His Kingdom for if we don’t respond with courage, generosity and faithfulness we risk to lose our soul by clinging to inertia we become the very evil just described. As always we must take up and by the Help of God’s Grace fight the good fight for this is spiritual warfare that can not be ignored. Penance, penance, penance! Those minions on earth who do the devil’s bidding have become confident but forgetful that their ultimate defeat grows nearer and nearer for the gates of hell will never triumph against our Holy Mother Catholic Church!

  • Saw it, enjoyed it.

    Some parts had me wanting to bang my head against things– the pipeweed-being-smoked-like-weed-not-tobacco thing, for example– but all and all, not too bad. They kept some of the lighthearted stuff. Someone needs to hit whoever wrote Sauroman’s lines with a large stick, and tell him the guy’s supposed to be a Great Wizard, not a cardboard scold.

    SOME of the ever popular bones-can’t-break stuff going on, but it was usually dwarves at the bottom of a pile, so perhaps justified.

    I want to adopt Fili and Kili, and possibly Bofur. MOST of them wouldn’t look out of place at a family reunion for mom’s side! (Thorin has a bit much hair on his head for that, but eh.)

    While walking out, I summed up to my husband: “That was really enjoyable. If we take mom to see it, we need to make sure she’s had a few stiff drinks.” (She’s an original Tolkien geek.)

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8 Responses to Hobbit Official Trailer