Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flirtations with minor celebrity

For those who haven’t seen it yet, I was recently interviewed for PBS NewsHour. Not the television program, but their website. You can read the parts of the interview they published by following this link. The interview has been picked up and shared on a number of different PBS affiliate websites, and PBS shared it on their Facebook page as well. The Facebook post has been shared by more than 200 people. Nice!

But the biggest surprise came today. This morning, Andrew Sullivan, perhaps the world’s best and most-read blogger, mentioned me by name, quoted something I said in the PBS interview, and told his more than a million loyal readers about my book! You can read his blog post on The Dish (part of The Daily Beast). Please feel free to share the interview and the Andrew Sullivan blog post!

Funnily enough, this isn’t the first time political bloggers and pundits have picked up stuff I’ve said. Some time ago, I was consulted on the whole “tea party hobbits” kerfuffle. You can read the original piece in the Christian Science Monitor online. That interview also made the rounds of various political websites. Then-Senator Jim DeMint even quoted me (that was pretty surreal!), but catching the attention of Andrew Sullivan is much more gratifying!


  1. Jason,

    We are discussing you being referenced on Andrew Sullivan's Blog, on the LOTRPlaza Forum.

    Where did the references that you made come from?

  2. Hi, Trotter! Are you asking for the source of the quotation Andrew Sullivan used on his blog? If so, as I assume, then you can find it here. If you’re asking about the sources of the references I made myself, you can find that information in the first edition of The Hobbit, and see also Douglas Anderson’s Annotated Hobbit and John Rateliff’s The History of The Hobbit.

  3. The Plaza discussants are wondering if there is a typo in this section of your PBS interview:

    "But if you read the first edition of 'The Hobbit' you see all kinds of strange things, like references to policemen on bicycles, references to Lilliputians, a reference to the Gobi Desert, the wild wireworms of the Chinese, all of these references to the real world."

    The question is: should "edition" read "version"? Because the bicycles, Gobi Desert, wireworms, and Chinese appear in Tolkien's drafts for THE HOBBIT as edited by John Rateliff, but not in book that was published in 1937.

  4. Aahh, yes, read “version” for “edition” here. The interview was conducted by telephone, and I think the interviewer might have typed some things up a little bit differently from how I said them. I had already noticed a few other cases of that in the published piece. Either that, or it’s certainly possible that I misspoke. Again, the hazards of a telephone interview.

    I suspect I did differentiate between the first draft and first published edition, but that my comments were “simplified”, introducing the unintended error. I suspect this because a large part of our conversation revolved around the different versions of the story, the subsequent changes in each edition, and the abandoned 1960 revision. I definitely know what I intended to say at each point, but it’s possible I slipped, or the interviewer mistook me.

    Anyway, I think we are all on the same page now. No pun intended, of course. :)

  5. Congrats, Jason! That's so cool!!

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)