Sunday, January 21, 2018

Review: The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I decided to finally read this book in full and OMG was it an endeavor. Definitely much more fulfilling and interesting than reading the Bible, but much of it is dry and notes based on the origins of specific places and family histories of the Elves and Humans. That being said, holy shit has my whole view of the Tolkien universe been turned on its head. Here are my thoughts:

-The Valar are purist assholes who despite the Noldor (elves) having their king murdered and most coveted possessions (jewels made of light of the trees of valinor which are literally an homage to their own culture) taken by Melkor who is himself a Valar, they not only dont help the Noldor but actively make them feel like shit for wanting revenge.

-The Noldor engage in first "kin killing". Yeah its shitty, but the Telari (shipbuilding elves in Valinor) also didn't want to help the Noldor despite them being so harmed and they violently fought them for trying to take some ships to ...Kill the most evil creature in the the Valar really need to cut them some slack.

-The Valar say as an excuse that the Noldor cant possibly defeat Melkor (Morgoth), so they shouldn't attempt to sail to Middle Earth to fight him and his servants. Yet Fingolfin, an elf, permanently wounds Morgoth in single combat and a fucking Eagle scars his face. Also another elf puts Melkor to sleep and they steal a Silmaril out from under his nose.

-Which brings me to another point. How shitty is Morgoth that he goes bossing around the Elves, Dwarves, and Humans of Middle Earth (races that are vastly inferior in power) and then the Noldor show up and fight his army to a Standstill. Not only can he not defeat the other Valar, but he cant even beat the Elves. And he was said to be the most powerful of the Valar?!

-Sauron is a wizard. Through the whole Lord of the Rings, I figured every Valar must have those magical powers, to put his spirit in multiple bodies, etc. But no, you see other Valar shape shift, but Sauron is actually a shrewd sorceror. (also one who is obsessed with werewolves...though you dont see any in the Lord of the Rings) His master Morgoth....not so much. Hes kinda a clunky shit warrier who mostly just tricks people a lot and for some reason commands ridiculous loyalty from his followers.

-Gothmog, king of the Balrogs, is a much better servant than Sauron. Every time there is killing of an important leader or storming of a fortress to be done... its pretty much Gothmog who does it. He kills Feanor after all.

-Sauron from the Second Age on seems kinda weak. Not to down play the orcs armies and Saruman and the nazghul... but the Anti-Morgoth forces in the First age had to deal with hundreds of balrogs and dragons and werewolves as the crack troops of the army... and yet they were still able to fight to a relative standstill. As a result, it almost seems anti-climactic. Granted, the Elves and Dwarves were very much diminished from what they were at the height of their marshal prowess.

-Lastly, Aragorn and Arwen are cousins. Though given the amount of cousins having kids in this story. Its not weird at all.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Review: Anarchy In The Uk: The Angry Brigade

Anarchy In The Uk: The Angry Brigade Anarchy In The Uk: The Angry Brigade by Tom Vague
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have thought about reading this book for a while because I have always thought the history of urban guerrillas was fascinating. Over time my views on the subject have changed and become more complex. Reading this book has even further contributed to that and especially in relation to this group.

This book has only further confirmed to me that situationism is stupid, vanguardist, and has contributed to the atmosphere of performance politics over substance that we have now in the left. The angry brigade is case in point. With a pre-punk chic, this group bombs symbols of power and destroyed a number of building facades to inspire people and draw attention to the role of the state and capital. However they explained their activity in the underground press, lacked any kind of working class avenger effects (in comparison to the Argentine Anarchists of the 1920s and 30s) and were counter culture to such an extreme that they lacked connection to anyone outside of the youth culture.

can attacks on symbols inspire people? when done right and not done with some nihilistic artistic asthetic. Apparently many of the hangers on of the angry brigade also helped form the sex pistols, which the book described as a situationist inspired group.

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