Friday, April 17, 2015

A Crackpot vents on Tolkien

So, about a month ago I was following a series of links from an online piece of C. S. Lewis's voice (thanks to Janice for the original link) to a presentation by my friend the late Christopher Mitchell, to some other Lewies-and-Tolkien sites, finally ending up by stumbling across a weird spiel by a crackpot.

Over the years of reading everything I can by and about JRRT I've seen plenty of pieces I considered a bit odd and occasionally one that was downright weird (like the one about elves being lizards from space), but I've never seen one before who equated linguistic talent with demonic possession. But now I'll have to use the past tense for that statement.

The piece in question is called "JRRT and CSL -- Occult Affiliations" by one Robin M. Fisher, whom I don't otherwise know; it was posted November 11th 2014. Despite being on YouTube it's audio, not video. Here's the link:

Listening to this, or as much as I could of it (I confess to tuning out during some of his rants, and I skimmed a bit), I was surprised by how much hatred he shows towards his fellow Xians --James Dobson, Focus on the Family, Charles Colson, and Joel Osteen all come in for particular venom.  Nor do non-Xians fare any better -- or, as he calls them, "vile unsaved people" To which I'd say: you mean, like the people Jesus hung out with a lot, to the annoyance of the Pharisees?

Among the things that particularly upset him and that he finds as signs of witchcraft at work are that James Dobson's Focus on the Family offer for sale a book called FINDING GOD IN LOTR for (dum-dum-dah) $13 (13 = promoting Satanism).

Another sign of Satan? He says Tolkien, writing in the midnight hours (dum-dum-dah!),  took twelve years to write LotR, and published in the 13th (dum-dum).  

More examples? Hobbits are "hybrid, demonic-like creatures". "Elves are demonic creatures". "Elves, gnomes, trolls, fairies: all demonic-type entities". Tolkien used runes, which not only smack of occultism but Hitler used them too (Fisher doesn't seem to know that they were just an early alphabet). Tolkien said "I desired dragons", which Fisher interprets as opening himself up to "Pure Evil, Satan Himself."

But I think the weirdest parts of his rant have to do with his equating Tolkien's facility with languages, reading and speaking them, with evil. That Tolkien wd make up new languages of his own, "Elf-ish" provokes the outcry "this is not from God!". That Tolkien then admittedly drew inspiration from his invented language in writing LotR --"that right there shows you how demonic LotR is".  For Fisher, the story was "channelled through him by demonic spirits as a result of this demonic language"; he equates Tolkien's writing LotR with automatic writing and demonic possession (just like Led Zeppelin, he says).

As for people who claim to find Xian themes in Tolkien's work, Fisher is having none of that: "There is much rank blasphemy in Tolkien's work, such as the death and resurrection of the wizard Gandalf".  As for Tolkien's translating The Lord's Prayer into "Elfish": "That's how blasphemous he was".

After about 37 minutes he wanders off onto CSL, but things don't really get any better after that. At fifty minutes or so he drifts onto Charles Williams and the Golden Dawn and the wheels really come off the bus. A few standout lines shd give a pretty good indication of this section: "a reader of Wms' biography is apt to come to the conclusion that he was rather creepy".* Among other things, Wms wrote about King Arthur and Holy Grail ("evil stuff here, okay?"). Fisher quotes someone named David Meyer (Myer?) who apparently has claimed that CSL and JRRT were both closet members of the Golden Dawn, but Fisher rather surprisingly is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and considers them just fellow travellers. Fisher does insist that two Inkings were in the Golden Dawn: Ch. Wms (whom he says was "demonically possessed") and W. B. Yeats (he pronounces it 'yeets').

All I can say is that the claim that CSL was a member of the Golden Dawn is not just untrue but reveals a staggering ignorance about CSL's mental makeup and attitude towards the occult. Charles Williams was, of course, a member of a Christianized offshoot of the Golden Dawn (founded by A. E. Waite, who had hoped that Wms wd succeed him as head of that order; Wms instead left to found his own), but he hid those associations from his fellow Inklings. And to claim that Yeats was a member of the Inkling is to ignore (a) all histories of the group, which show Yeats never attended a meeting and probably never met Tolkien, (b) that Lewis met and greatly disliked Yeats personally, specifically for his occultism, an (c) that Yeats, a Nobel Prize winning poet and one of the two greatest poets in English in the century, was much too big a fish to swim in the Inklings' orbit.

Towards the end he does swing back to Tolkien in passing, and delivers himself of the following judgement: 

Fisher believes that
fantasy literature is "the particular genre that Satan so chose to use to indocrinate millions and millions . . . into the occult."

and also that
"CSL & Tolkien are going to be responsible for the blood of untold millions of people on their hands, most likely"

It turns out that after more than an hour of this it's just the first half of a much longer diatribe that goes on into another link, but frankly I'd had about all I cd stand by this point.

The one good thing I got out of all this? Fisher's bemused observation that

"JRRT had a middle middle name"

--That's a good one, but I certainly had to wade through a mile of mud to find it.

--John R. 
current reading: WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT by Jo Walton [2014]
current anime: RWBY

*THE WIFE SAYS: To be fair, Charles Williams was creepy.

1 comment:

Katherine Sas said...

Wow, so... that lecture, huh? Am I right? My favorite part: The fact that readers cry at the deaths of their favorite characters as proof of demonic inspiration on the part of the author.