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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
An honest appraisal

Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Nov 11 2012, 8:29pm


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An honest appraisal [In reply to] Can't Post


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But I must confess that I find the lack of participation in the Reading Room perplexing. I've mostly been a reader here so I'm the last person who should comment on the posting habits of others. I'm just wondering if there's something we need to talk about, to clear the air perhaps, in order for the Reading Room to get back to a place of robust discussions.


Likewise, I'm right there among the last who has any right to comment on the posting rate in the Reading Room (RR), given that I am more often inclined to quietly read the discussions rather than participate. But I'll offer my personal take on this.

Frequently, when a poster new to the RR poses a question, a veteran Reading Roomer provides a link to the effect of "We have discussed this before." Such links can be enlightening and quite interesting to peruse, but sometimes this type of response can be chilling. That is, the original poster may have the impression of "Well, we've discussed already, so let's not reiterate the subject." That, I am certain, is not the intention of providing said links, but some folks (particularly new blood in the RR), may perceive it this way.

As pointed out, analyses of the text are often quite thorough here. Presumably, some participants may know Tolkien minutiae so well that they needn't flip through pages and pages of text and have the gift of being able to quote or paraphrase accurately right off the top of their head. Others, like myself, may have a number of volumes at their disposal, so when they have that glimmering of "Hmmm, I think I recall this tidbit, but I had better verify it before I open my yap," they scour the texts. The latter approach is time-consuming, and thus, a fully engaged discussion with proper references can wind up becoming a significant time sink. At least in my case (please to note that I signed on in May 2008 and have a whopping 214 posts), that gives me pause and makes me more inclined to lazily read than actively participate.

Also, there's the aspect of the subjective versus the objective. Literary analyses strike me as being considerably more subjective than the objective analyses that make up my day-to-day way of thinking. Such subjectivity is fine, even freeing, but it does mean that each and every one of us reads Tolkien through the lenses of our experience, just as we perceive any form of art. Not that there's anything wrong with disagreements over interpretation, but occasionally (occasionally, mind you), I can't help but think "This ain't rocket science, folks!" By that I mean our interpretations of art are not easily quantifiable, so one probably shouldn't be too dogmatic when it comes to interpretation of Tolkien's legendarium, and sometimes, I do get a whiff of dogmatism in the RR.

Speaking for myself, although I love Tolkien's legendarium, I do not lionize the author. I wonder if that is a minority viewpoint here. Also, I have a tendency toward irreverence and might be more inclined to engage when, for example, Morthoron holds forth.
Wink

So, it's with massive self-consciousness from all the caveats above that I'll say a discussion of Unfinished Tales is an excellent suggestion, even if I just read such a discussion like the nasty parasitic lurker that I am.



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




(This post was edited by Tweezers of Thu on Nov 11 2012, 8:32pm)

Subject User Time
What's next for the Reading Room? Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 10 2012, 7:09am
    Arda Reconstructed! Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Nov 10 2012, 5:49pm
    I'd love to... mandel Send a private message to mandel Nov 10 2012, 8:55pm
    It would be a good excuse to read it finally SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 11 2012, 2:49am
        I wonder titanium_hobbit Send a private message to titanium_hobbit Nov 11 2012, 5:59am
        Participation in the Reading Room... Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 11 2012, 7:25am
            I'm in the same boat as SirDennisC DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 11 2012, 10:17am
                A suggestion to get general chit chat in the RR DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 11 2012, 1:17pm
                    Some chapter discussions work that way. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 12 2012, 7:21am
                        Would it be more effective if it wasn't so structured? DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 12 2012, 8:54am
                    I think this is the way to go imin Send a private message to imin Nov 17 2012, 9:41am
        suggestion... Demosthenes Send a private message to Demosthenes Nov 11 2012, 11:02am
        An honest appraisal Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Nov 11 2012, 8:29pm
            10 Ways To Get More Posters into the Reading Room... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Nov 12 2012, 3:13am
                Heh, not sure Orlando is the carrot he once was SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 12 2012, 4:34am
                    This is exactly the problem for me--not Orlando! But this: Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Nov 13 2012, 5:04am
                Some great ideas, some not so much. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 12 2012, 7:16am
                [Captain Picard] Engage! [/Captain Picard] Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Nov 12 2012, 12:22pm
            As a serial offender, I feel called to respond! Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 12 2012, 7:40am
                Shadows of the past Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Nov 12 2012, 12:48pm
                Old posts and new CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Nov 14 2012, 8:15pm
                    Very true... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Nov 15 2012, 2:19am
                    A technical issue that might be relevant as well Rolfina Send a private message to Rolfina Nov 15 2012, 9:19am
                        The best place to discuss this issue is the Feedback Forum. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 15 2012, 7:37pm
    Well... Malveth Send a private message to Malveth Nov 11 2012, 2:03pm
        Personally, I love the idea of doing "The Fall of Arthur" Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Nov 11 2012, 2:14pm
            What's kept me out... Malveth Send a private message to Malveth Nov 11 2012, 2:27pm
                That's is a good thing to keep in mine for next spring! Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Nov 12 2012, 7:53am
        I like this idea too DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 11 2012, 2:56pm
    Why not Character profiles/ discussion? malickfan Send a private message to malickfan Nov 13 2012, 12:36pm
    Excellent Discussion Finwe Send a private message to Finwe Nov 17 2012, 4:52am
    thoughts here --> batik Send a private message to batik Nov 23 2012, 7:49pm
    Unfinished Tales elostirion74 Send a private message to elostirion74 Nov 26 2012, 5:55pm

 
 
 

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