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Dec 13, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/13 1:30:53 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

There has been a lot going on in various Facebook groups that I have personally seen and know that various PPP people are also in those groups and have seen, so for those staying they (a) are not on Facebook and (b) don’t believe these heated fights involving religion are real, you are mistaken.

I don’t see the PPP statement as objecting to religious affiliations. They are declining to enter that part of the fray, aren’t they?

Fair enough re Facebook, I guess, though without specific quotes I'm reluctant to give too much credence, as once words become filtered through second-hand recollection they can be quite different than the original intent (and usually there are two sides to any heated discussion). Perhaps, since I left it years ago, I forget just how cancerous FB is (though we could ALL leave it and then it would go away...).

I agree, though, that my reading of the PPP statement was simply saying that they didn't support any religious arguments on either side and didn't want to enter into any discussion of that aspect. It seemed perfectly fair to me.
Dec 13, 2020
2020/12/13 1:37:39 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

"do you consider the request that "any religious affiliations that the project may have/religious services the project might hope to provide be disclosed" to be "personal attacks" — No, I didn't say anything was a "personal attack"; that would be the post to which I responded that did that. I simply asked whose fault it is/was that "Due to the religious affiliations of some of the project organizers, we’ve seen the online conversation about the project spiraling all too often into personal attacks between those Tolkien fans who share Tolkien’s beliefs and worldview, and those who do not."

I broadly agree with that statement now you have clarified it.
Dec 13, 2020
2020/12/13 10:53:13 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
If the "personal attacks" only took the form of questioning the honestly of those involved/behind this project then I'm afraid this seem perfectly understandable in light of the wishy-washy public response to fairly legitimate questioning and the large sums of money involved. It seems, to me, typical of the era we live in that people are instantly distrustful of vague plans of this kind where perceived agendas are believed to be at play. This should be obvious and expected to those organising such a thing. Of course, the unfairness of this judgement, is often that people are conflating dishonesty with incompetence.

I have no idea what's at play here, perhaps both. What I do know is that, when asked, obfuscation is not a response that is going to stand in public discourse. Oddly, the irony of any criticism (& therefore withdrawal of support, financial or otherwise) of this project because it might have some sort of religious aspect once up & running, is not (I believe) predominantly based on some fundamental opposition to anything affiliated with organised religion (for perfectly legitimate/understandable reasons); but because "religious retreat" has so many negative connotations. As a business idea it sounds crap. And it would, by its nature, be exclusive. And the latter, whether Tolkien was catholic or not, seems to run against Tolkien's unarguable mass appeal as an author.
Dec 13, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/13 13:59:11 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

"The people promoting the project are not Tolkien scholars or researchers" — That's not true. Another has been a long-time Tolkien promoter (including when his homeland was behind the Iron Curtain) and, most recently, a researcher into Tolkien's genealogy.

I think it important to note that Ryszard Derdzinski has stated to me at least that he is not involved, on Twitter he says "I am a fan. I am not a [sic] person from the Project". He did not make that clear when he was calling me "aggressive", "emotional", "hostile", and "evil". He positioned himself as being very much involved, especially when Julia Golding gave him a shout out on the Nerd of the Ring video.

On his blog entry he makes clear that he "took part in making this movie" and is in touch with Julia Golding. So what is he? Is he involved in promotion or is he a fan? he can't quite decide.

Considering he has to have access to Julia Golding he should have read the concerns and brought them to the project before launching attacks on me for nothing more than raising concerns. If he is the quality of "Tolkien scholar or researcher" that this project has at its disposal then it is in a very poor position.

I can't speak for the FB conversations as I do not use the platform but the responses I have witnessed from those who support the project are to attack us who have concerns. I have had more than a few PMs on Reddit from people suggesting I take my anti-Christian attitudes and leave them to "save Tolkien's house". Important to note that I had not mentioned religion. One user said that "you clearly hate religious people and I don't see why you read Tolkien". Another suggested "I crawl back up my faithless ass and die".

During the Nerd of the Ring chat Ryszard Derdzinski called me malignant moments before Julia Golding championed him. I asked if he is the sort of person they want promoting this project. I note that the Project Northmoor account responded to many questions. They missed that one of course.

EDIT: Removed my assumption that Aelfwine was defending Ryszard Derdzinski.
Dec 13, 2020
2020/12/13 14:29:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I said of Ryszard only that he is among the people promoting PN, which he absolutely is.

As for: "if you are going to defend his involvement" — How is stating the fact of his promoting the PN and his bona fides a "defense of his involvement"?

Please respond to what I actually say, thanks.

P.S. Speaking of which: "Ryszard Derdzinski called me malignant". No he did not. He said the questions that obvious anti-PN folks were putting into the chat were "malignant".
Dec 13, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/13 14:46:28 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

I said of Ryszard only that he is among the people promoting PN, which he absolutely is.

As for: "if you are going to defend his involvement" — How is stating the fact of his promoting the PN and his bona fides a "defense of his involvement"?

Please respond to what I actually say, thanks.

P.S. Speaking of which: "Ryszard Derdzinski called me malignant". No he did not. He said the questions that obvious anti-PN folks were putting into the chat were "malignant".

Your noting that he is "a long-time Tolkien promoter (including when his homeland was behind the Iron Curtain)" was not a backhanded defense of the man. It was just thrown in as an extra tidbit. My apologies. Need say no more on that. I retract my assumption that you were defending him. I have edited that from my previous comment.

As for your p.s. that is watery to the extreme. He was arguing with me and responded to my question with that reply, after calling me aggressive, hostile and so on. It was aimed at me and you know that perfectly well I feel. Nothing asked was evil. It was Ryszard Derdzinski being defensive and irrational to anyone who does not agree with his position.
Dec 13, 2020
2020/12/13 14:53:39 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:



P.S. Speaking of which: "Ryszard Derdzinski called me malignant". No he did not. He said the questions that obvious anti-PN folks were putting into the chat were "malignant".

I think that is pretty weak, Aelfwine. It might be technically correct, but I think Ryszard's intent is pretty clear (from all the bits and bobs I have read).
Dec 13, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/13 16:13:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
"Nothing asked was evil." From the start there were many questions and comments put in the chat in a manner that was clearly hostile to the PN and disrespectful of Julia, by people who had clearly already made up their mind that the PN is some kind of fraud. They weren't there to learn (like I was), they were there to attack. (I remember thinking that no one would speak to Julia directly in such a manner, and feeling embarrassed for her on that account.) That is what Ryszard meant by "malignant". And there is a very great difference between calling someone evil, and discerning malign intent in their words.
Dec 13, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/13 17:22:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The conversation has turned from Project Northmoor to attacking, defending, and ascribing intent to someone not on this site to clarify or defend himself.

I'd like to pause the conversation for a day or two to let tempers cool, and will revisit.
Dec 13, 2020
2020/12/13 22:14:49 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
UPDATE: I posted the above statement about Ryszard in haste (and I am probably still being hasty) but wanted to clarify. The arguing here, while mostly focused around Ryszard and his statements elsewhere, isn't solely about that, and isn't the reason for pausing the thread.

I let this thread start (and actively continued/supported it) because Project Northmoor was purportedly about a museum and Tolkien Centre, which seemed to me to have obvious relevance for Tolkien collectors. The issues, duplicities, and questions around their advertising/promoting were pertinent for that reason as well - including their private statements about religious use of the property vs. initial public statements that there were none. I think they have clarified that in the updated FAQ and "events" pages on their site in recent days to bring gap closer together.

We have since moved to arguments with each other (and Ryszard and his statements elsewhere). I don't think that is adding any value to the topic of Project Northmoor's fundraiser, and while I do think it an important discussion to have, I feel like it doesn't belong *here*. As the argument has started though, I would like to let it finish after this brief pause, if we can all remain civil and everyone else wants to. Perhaps after cooling off we all will want to walk away, I don't know.

I will try to come up with some further guidance for future threads, working with the moderators and regulars, that we all think we can abide by to keep conversations civil even when we inevitably drift pretty far away from Tolkien collecting roots.

The thread pause is still in effect except to admins (so I ask the admins to honor this). I'll post an update tomorrow after sleeping on it. Feel free to send me PMs at any time, though.
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