We all have our holiday traditions. And one of the traditions my son and I share is seeing a movie the Friday before Christmas. Not just any movie, a J.R.R. Tolkien movie. It began with Lord of the Rings Trilogy and segued into The Hobbit Trilogy.
And, sadly, now that tradition is coming to a close. The last Hobbit movie opened to audiences all over the world on December 17. The fans, old and young have been heading to the theaters in droves. As I sat in the theater on Friday afternoon, I was please to see a diverse age group, race, gender, economic background. And of course that one section of the population that the media likes to label, “nerds/geeks”.
What has me pondering this morning is when did such a literary figure become immortalized in the lives of nerds and geeks? Not that I’m complaining that some of the smartest people on the planet lean toward Tolkien’s writings. But what happened to the other 95% of the population?
Today, that small number of individuals are immortalized by Hollywood and the media as socially inept, unattractive, recluses. Which is far from the truth. My son’s IQ is well above 160. He’s been working with computers since he was eleven. And, he’s quite handsome. Except for being a little too stocky, he could be a leading male in romance novels. He’s six, three. He works out. His mind is quick, he’s researched more material for back stories for novels than I could think of. I could go on and on. And not because I’m his mother. He’s a man I’d be proud to know for his intellect and common sense alone.
If we look at Tolkien, we will find a prolific author, poet, and professor of Oxford into said category. Queen Elizabeth conferred upon him the title of The Commander of the Order of the British Empire. C.S. Lewis was a close friend and he was a member of Inklings, a literary social group at Oxford.
But Hollywood and American media scorns intellectuals today. It says something about America that doesn’t bode well. That the masses of Americans are a bunch of mindless twits who will allow the media to lead us around by our nose. That we would rather idolize the uber-attractive, mega sport stars, bad boys of the movie industry than to openly accept intelligence for what it is, a gift that should be praised and not bullied for.
Yes, I’m guilty of promoting the attractive by writing romance novels. But, think about this. The most widely known male romance cover model in the U.S. is an intelligent businessman who not only cashed in his good looks, but used his brain to diversify, knowing that he wouldn’t always be cover model material.
As I celebrate the holidays, the last Tolkien movie, I am reminded of the literature courses I took in college. Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and more. Let’s embrace those men and women who’s intelligence shaped the lives around them, and continue to affect us today. If it weren’t for these literary giants, I may not have become an author.