Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Laura Miller on Narnian economics

So Richard was telling me last night about his old friend Laura Miller, who has written a really good book about her lifelong relationship with Narnia. It's a grown-up book, not at all adorable or nostalgic, as you might assume from the subject. It's more about growing up reading, and it's really engaging and thoughtful so far; I haven't read the whole thing yet.

Anyway, Richard said that Laura M. gave a talk at the Los Angeles Public Library, an excerpt from which appears below--the part that he was telling me about:

Tolkien hated Narnia, because he was kind of a purist ... and he thought that all those different elements should not be mixed up all together, you know? Marmalade, like Mrs. Beaver bakes this marmalade roll and you kind of think, "Well, where did that marmalade come from?"

Because it's not like you can imagine Narnia having kind of surplus wealth and trading with some warm countries where oranges grew or god forbid, sugar!--and so it doesn't ...

I mean I have to say, I don't think that Middle-Earth is economically plausible, either.

Richard could barely talk, he was laughing so hard at this.

Me: Well, now, The Shire is economically viable, though ...

R.: Oh my god, I can't believe you're actually arguing about this.

Me: It is, though, seriously, they export smoke-leaf!!

R.: [guffawing] Wahhahahahahahaha!! Ho my god HA! HA!

Me: F. off! They totally do! In barrels!! Until it is all getting stolen by Saruman!


Me: Damn it!

R.: *rupture*

Me: But the Elves, though. Those Elves really are living on air.

a dork masterpiece

How wonderful was Laugh-In? Very, very wonderful. And this is maybe the loveliest thing ever to happen on that venerable show.