So much to skip, so little time.
I begin with myself, having sucked a bit of late. This and this were too twee and precious for words. This wasn’t really very funny. This was half-right but embarrassingly wrong in several details, and God of the Machine is supposed to be in the details. This and this provoked squalls of irrelevant commentary. This was weird but informative. This was just weird.
The laziest organizing principle in prose is the list. (This post, for instance.) The cowardly lister postpones his imposition of a Few of My Favorite Things on the world until the end of the year, when everyone else is doing it and he has cover. The busy reader will naturally avoid such things. This goes double for that most elaborate of self-congratulation rituals, year-end awards. “Prizes,” said Ezra Pound, “are always a snare.” Besides, nobody ever nominates me for anything.
Suppose you edited a web magazine with open submissions, and you were obliged to publish whatever you received. You’d have The Carnival of the Vanities, now in its 66th tiresome edition, to which Instapundit still links dutifully every week (Glenn has a keyboard macro for “rich, bloggy goodness”). Which beats reading it, I can assure you. Good writers are often bad: bad writers are never, ever good. I confess that I often enjoy the summaries, in which the host of the week endeavors to say something kind about every submission. This testifies to my somewhat sadistic taste in humor.
The Type 1 political blog post cites an anecdotal news item that confirms his biases, whereupon the blogger crows that he was right and this proves it. Degree-of-difficulty: 0.0, since most of us obtain our news from like-minded sources. (Explaining away an item that conflicts with one’s biases, which would be far more interesting, is naturally far less common.) The Type 2 political blog post scours the Internet for the weakest possible opponent of his views and demolishes him line by line. No poliblog is complete without a healthy dose of Type 1 and Type 2, and many poliblogs consist of nothing but. If you devoted the time you’ve spent reading Type 1 and Type 2 to a more constructive activity, like exercising your abs, you might have that eight-pack you’ve always wanted by now.
Tolkien loses me about when Betamillion is making his way through Gallimaufria to secure the Ring of Fire and win the hand of fair Neuralgiel, or something. The pros established an early lead for dullest Lord of the Rings commentary, with the antis now closing fast. I’ll give you the gist here, with a spoiler-laden review of the trilogy:
Good triumphs over evil.
Not having finished any of the books or seen any of the movies, I admit that’s a wild guess.
In re your Two Towers spoiler: wrong, and what’s worse, dumb. The Two Towers is the second part of a trilogy, and everyone knows that in any decent trilogy’s part II, Evil triumphs over Good (see The Empire Strikes Back, et al).
Now, if you want to go ahead and try and summarize part III, The Return of the King (now at many theaters very near Aaron and everyone else), you might find yourself on more solid ground…
I meant the whole trilogy. But your point is well-taken and I will correct the text.
Good defeats evil. Goes away. The boring banal world wins in the end.