The problem is that when LOTR was coming through your life in the 70’s, it had been unfortunately associated with and adopted by hippy culture or sci-fi/fantasy weirdness in general. It then went on to a further association with the Dungeons and Dragons crowd in the 80’s (that’s you Miller – all though you turned out okay). Not great street cred on all counts. We can understand you bypassing the epic. Derb, I don’t go back early than ‘66 so I’ll defer to you on the early 60’s impact.
My Dad read it the first time in Vietnam in between infantry patrols and said it was a hot read there – and an inspiration to all needing to stride forth and give battle.
I encountered it in a related context. Carter weakness, Reagan buildup, Cold War heat-up, Central America, and the need to gird oneself for adventure and battle, good and evil, sacrifice and honor, courage and suffering, killing bad guys, etc. Never could understand what a hippy could see in the books.
I mean, really, I’ll donate $100 bucks to NRO if any reader can convince me that someone like a Michael Moore would have anything to like in this book. There are no fat, intellectually lazy, smart-mouthed, hypocritical, manipulating cowards in LOTR (not that MM is any of those, of course). Actually, there are – but they get killed by good guys. Even the skinny ones, like Grima Wormtongue.
So, the offer is on. Why would a liberal like LOTR at all? No kooky interpretations of Bush being Sauron please. A sensible argument. Jonah can judge.
As for Risk, great game. Probably Bill Kristol’s favorite growing up!