Holiday linkage

A quick roundup of some links and thoughts you may find interesting.

  • Extended RotK: I was all set to blog about my thoughts on the extended Return of the King, and then realized that Polytropos seems to share my exact opinions and has already posted an insightful essay detailing them. (Short summary of my views: Drinking game = bad, Aragorn’s behavior at the Morannon = bad, and everything else = good to excellent.)
    More importantly, from the aforelinked post I’ve now learned that there are other people in the world who can sing from memory the Orcs’ timeless marching tune. True story: while slaving away sorting pottery on an archaeology dig in Jordan, I overheard somebody else in the pottery room humming this tune. When I worked up the courage to confront them, they were as amazed as I that somebody else out there had the song memorized. Instant friendship!
    Jonathan has some good thoughts on the extended RotK too.

  • OK, one more Tolkien link: Why Lord of the Rings Will – and Must – Be Remade. Very interesting little essay.
  • Environmental catastrophe: Mark has an interesting post talking about his reasons for not putting much stock in “we’re killing the planet!”-type environmental arguments.
    I’ve not read The Skeptical Environmentalist or the other books he mentions, so I can’t comment on their quality. But there is a glaring need for somebody–preferably somebody within the environmental movement–to step forward and honestly discuss why the worst-case scenarios we’ve been hearing about for decades have not come to pass. Some of these the-world-is-ending predictions are made by fringe extremists and can be discounted as such, but an awful lot of these ominous predictions originate from–or at least are not publically countered by–more reputable sources. Certainly, not a year has gone by in my memory that I have not heard from very earnest, scientific-study-citing individuals that our oil/forests/clean air/living space is on the verge of vanishing forever… but I can still fill up my car for $1.80 at the local gas station, same as ever.
    In my opinion, the reason for much of the disconnect between apocalyptic predictions and the reality is not a malicious desire to deceive, but simply the human penchant for hyperbole. In a world of ten billion distractions, the only way you can make yourself heard or drive home your point is by voicing more and more extreme warnings. This is perhaps understandable, but it also has the effect of making it hard to take seriously the latest “our ____ is about to vanish!” reports.
    Ahem. So much for quick links and brief commentary, eh? Forward, then, to the next stop on our journey, the much-anticipated…

  • Political link: One of the most thought-provoking pundits from the Right that I’ve come across is Stephen DenBeste, who has unfortunately retired his blog. However, I note with great joy that he has put together a page linking to his best essays. His synopsis of the war against terror is an excellent, logical ordering of the conservative vision for the current war. Even if you don’t agree with it, I think you’ll find it an enlightening summary of the conservative position.

OK, I think that’s it for now. I must be off to finish up some last-minute Christmas shopping. Merry Christmas to all!

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2 Comments

  1. Ed Heil says:

    One reason that some environmental apocalypses have not come to pass is that the environment *has* become a higher priority over the course of the past half-century. Sort of like part of the reason the Y2K disaster never happened is that tens of thousands of COBOL programmers worked late into the night making sure it didn’t.
    Of course, “we successfully fended off this catastrophe, now we need to keep working steadily” for some reason isn’t much of a news story.
    It’s easy after doom has been predicted and averted to imagine that the “averted” part would have happened even without the prediction, and therefore the prediction was flawed, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

  2. jrau says:

    Good points, Ed. And speaking of Y2k, did you see this collection of pieces about the hype vs. reality of Y2k? Spotted it via Metafilter.

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