How to Express Your Tolkien Ignorance: A Guide for the Media
My dear Wormwood,
You ask for a little guidance in dealing with the onrushing tide of media coverage of Tolkien.
The first and easiest way in which to show disrespect is by getting the authors name wrong. Did you see Slubgobs good work the other day in getting the BBC to spell it "Tolkein"? The BBC, no less, succumbing to such arrogance! We had a good laugh down here. And if the medium isnt print, we also suggest that you plant one of the variously used mispronunciations: tol-kine, or tolk-in. Few will have seen (thanks to our mostly successful efforts to suppress it) that highly useful little book on how to pronounce the most frequently mispronounced names in the arts, Klee as in Clay, by Wilfred J. McConkey. It clearly and correctly gives the name as toll-keen.
Beyond these simple starting points, our strategies, by necessity, must be somewhat more subtle and crafty. First and foremost, we must marginalize Tolkiens work. Say it is for children; thats the oldest and easiest way to denigrate a literary work. It worked so well for Gullivers Travels that few now know that it is a scathing and wonderful attack on the idiocies of the human race.
But if Tolkiens work cant be marginalized as for children, the next view to take is to promote it as a cult work. Never mind that The Lord of the Rings alone has sold over 50 million copies. Over 50 million copies! And we can successfully pigeonhole it as a cult novel! It feels so good to hatch this ruse! (Yet if it doesnt work, try the reverse, elitist approach: anything that is that popular cant be any good. We certainly dont want readers trying the work and making decisions for themselves.)
Next, I suggest attacking the author himself. Make sure he is referred to as a tweedy eccentric, an academic who was a specialist in boring dead languages and literatures, an absent minded professor who ran around the dusty libraries of Oxford muttering things to himself about gollums and balrogs. Show him as a person lost in his own time, a dreamy academic who looked backwards in time towards a vanished past. He must be presented as a personality that no intelligent person could be interested in.
If you cant find appropriate means to attack the work itself or the author, next comes the readership. Call them geeks of the first order, social outcasts, introspective misfits who stay at home, wasting their lives away by reading books. And the worst of these misfits will spend their time so engrossed in Tolkiens world that they will study the wholly imaginary Elvish language, or dress up as characters from the books, or worst of all, participate in role-playing games! (The Satanistic aspect of gaming hasnt got much play of latewe should renew this angle.) Never mind that these are wholly legitimate pursuits for anyone who is interested in them. We must present all of this in as laughable a manner as possible.
And by all means, make sure that Tolkien is called controversial. That gives us the chance to work the polar opposites against each other. Forget that the world is neither black and white, but gray, and that nothing is absolute. Let Tolkiens work be labeled Christian (so non-Christians wont read it), and let it be called an allegory of WW II (that sounds deadly boring enough to appeal only to high school English teachers). And place it firmly within the despised genre of fantasy. Call it escapism! (Tolkien himself made a perceptive comment that many critics seems to confuse the flight of the deserter with the escape of a prisoner. But we cant let that get out either.)
The above ideas are, of course, mere suggestions. Feel free to improvise in new and devious ways. With three movies coming out in the next three years, we shall have many opportunities to exercise out imaginations. Hah! In fact, everyone down here is looking forward to innumerable examples of ignorance and animosity towards Tolkien. And we are in a unique position to promote these views and keep such misrepresentations of Tolkien in the public eye. It is a duty I shall gladly perform, and hope that you too will relish the opportunities afforded.
Your affectionate uncle,
P.S. Don't forget to call The Lord of the Rings a trilogy. It is of course no such thing--trilogies are three separate works related by subject or theme, and The Lord of the Rings is one complete novel, in and of itself.