Books, authority & culture.


(Supreme draft, written while drinking Innocent Bystander pinon noir [if you haven’t tried yet, please do! it is perfection in a glass]; not being held accountable for spelling/grammatical errors for this reason. Enjoy!)

So in our average day-to-day lives we read, a lot. Even if you don’t think you do; reading can come in the form of advertisements, books, signs, postcards and pretty much anything that contains letters in a decipherable text. The function of all these day to day writings are essentially to inform, entertain or establish norms and ideals that we as a society find (for lack of a better word) unremarkable and ‘safe’.

Books (also used also to transport information and ideas) are a primary tool that people use to distribute power, create memories and essentially challenge the concepts that we have about authority and our society at large. Books challenge established norms by presenting a dystopian society so parallel with our own, that, even if we do not see it as an obvious mirror of our society we see the problems that are pertaining to it and adjust our own lives accordingly. This may be conscious or subconscious; either way, a change in current understanding is formed and our worlds are reconfigured to a certain degree. One example of this concept is the ideas that are presented in The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. Tolkien used Scandinavian mythos and religious symbolism to create and present a world where he could mediate and explore contemporary issues from his own generation.

The creation of a story is a somewhat heart stopping ordeal; the storyline, the characters and the concept that you want to use are just some of the hills that you need to battle over to get to the writing. Tolkien used a language in his text that helped the story assimilate easily from page to speech. The use of oral literature not only makes the story more easily portrayed, but also it allows for a wider audience to understand the concepts, thusly levitating more people towards the text and the ideas it presents.

Tolkien’s books are a prime example of how publications can (and have) changed the flow of culture and society, communities and communication. The Internet furthered the concepts of the ideas presented in Tolkien’s books by allowing readers to become writers themselves and conceptualize thoughts and ideas about how they viewed The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Text gives us a way of communicating information through various mediums; be they Internet, book or magazine.

Tolkien can, too, show us why books can be viewed as potentially dangerous; they hold within them such culturally different ideas and why some people believe (religious mostly) that books need to be censored. Books create our history, but so in turn are books created by history, and it is the text within them that is so important. The text, (although is something that can be copied and thus altered) alters how we see our society and culture, and so, allows us to grow and regenerate into something (hopefully) better over time also.

S xo


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