A Very Important Question Answered-The unabridged and authoritative answer to the question, Who was Tom Bombadil?


You really cannot discuss Tom Bombadil [©Anke-Katrin Eiszmann]

You really cannot discuss Tom Bombadil without Goldberry.             [©Anke-Katrin Eiszmann]

Who is Tom Bombadil really, you my ask?

I had a close friend of mine ask me that question recently, apparently the email the question was encoded in became buried under two or three months of Facebook notifications – Facebook is going to be the end of us all I’m sure – at that time my friend was listening to the Lord of the Rings with his school age son.  Listening to???  I had thoroughly parsed the Silmarillion in print by age 12, mom’s Book of the Month Club selection for September 1977 – mine!

I suppose that was why my friend asked me the question, because he thought I probably knew the answer.  So, in case you haven’t managed to find the unabridged and authoritative answer to the question yourself – here it is.

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Joseph Campbell taking questions about Parzival, the Graal, and God – Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation


How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival were Fed with the Sanc Grael; But Sir Percival's Sister Died by the Way  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864

Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival Fed with the Sanc Grael – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864

God is a function, God experienced is a function of your manner of experience. The elementary idea of God is transcendent of all forms, of all names, the tongue has never soiled it, it never got there.  So, any idea of God is historically conditioned, it’s a local idea no matter how much noise people make about it, it’s just a local notion.  And so, as man transforms, so are the laws of God transformed.  The laws of God are functions of the human psyche in its historic expression and development.  That’s what we get here, and this if Wolfram.

~Joseph Campbell, Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation

The following is a verbatim transcription of the Q&A portion of a talk entitled Grail Legends, given by Joseph Campbell at the Ojai Foundation before his death in 1987.   We Meme Merchants quote this material frequently, so I thought I would present it to the public since this material is otherwise hard to obtain in digital form since it was originally on audio tape.  So far as I know, no one has ever produced a complete transcript of the presentation.

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Lourdes – Day Two – Cinema Interuptus: The Nigredo, Eating an Elephant, or Too Big a Rat


An interesting pair, or an odd couple?  What are they thinking?                  [©Coop 99 Films-2009]

Welcome to Part Three of this series, which is a certain kind of critical analysis of Austrian director/writer Jessica Hausner’s 2009 film Lourdes.  Part one of the series Prologue to a Posy, lays out in some detail the genesis of the project and outlines its basic method, which is a kind of one-man version of film critic Roger Ebert,’s Cinema Interruptus.  Part Two of this series Day One: The Wheelchair is No Barrier to Desire, takes us through approximately the first twenty five minutes of the film, to the end of the first full day in in-movie time.  If you haven’t done so I suggest that you back track and start this series from the beginning.

What you will be seeing, reading, will be something that looks a bit like the full screenplay of the movie, transcribed from the screen by me, with commentary, informal micro-essays, and observations interspersed between the dialogue and description.  The biggest problem I foresee with this format is a breakdown in the narrative flow of the movie, or a basic incoherence, which seems hard to get around, especially when working within the constraints of this blogging platform.  I’ll do my best to make improvements if readers are having difficulty in the comprehension department.  For typos and other grammar specific errors we at the Meme Merchants Consortium prefer you to use the Comment Form on our Contact Page, this prevents the Comments section from getting cluttered up.

So far, I’ve logged one comment and it is worthy of repeating.  From WondersInTheDark:

This is really audacious, wow! I will need to look at this and get back with a better response. But I certainly do like what you are doing here, ww. This as my favorite film of 2010:

I appreciate the compliment.  Audacious is of course a word that can cut in two directions.  This project, because of the unique and demanding nature of the process, has a high potential for failure, for many reasons, mental exhaustion being one of them.

Eating an Elephant

This project is becoming a sort of elephant.  An old boss of mine once said of large projects, “There’s only one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time.”  True maybe, but at the same time, if you know snakes, or have ever kept one as a pet you will also know that for a snake the act of eating is a race between digestion and putrefaction.  If you are a snake and eat too large of a rat you die from sepsis [coincidentally, or ironically, according to Chinese astrology I am a snake].  We’ll have to see how much of the pressure to complete the project in its entirety I can stand – or if anyone really cares enough to read it all.

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The End – Endings are hard, how Spengler hands me the a perfect ending after an eight year wait – now I can finally begin


All good things must come to an…                                                                        [©Atani Studios-2012]

[Cross-posted at ReadabilityTest]

The other day a randomized, automatically generated WordPress script reminded me that Joseph Heller once said, “Every writer I know has trouble writing,” – how reassuring –  and of course, ‘and have more trouble with endings than with any other part of writing,’ is how Joe should have completed the sentence.  Is this just another manifestation of the old saw, “Begin with the ending in mind” – that’s what?  Habit No. 2 of Highly Effective People?  Or, is it really something else?

For writers it seems being highly effective comes particularly hard.  This seems to be a common condition among writers, searching for [and rarely finding] the right ending for the story.  Never eventually finding the right ending is the death of many – stories and writers.  Myself, I’ve been having that particular problem with this one story for the last eight years.  It seems I am not alone.

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