So I was reading this interesting little article over at io9 about Tolkien and the German publishing industry in 1938. You can read it here, so click and go read it!
The breakdown is that Tolkien was working out getting published in Germany and was asked a very interesting question that basically resulted in him responding what we would translate into WTF today; the publisher asked for documents proving his Aryan heritage. Before he replied he sent a letter to his publisher asking his opinion on the subject. In his letter to his publisher he said he had written two responses to the Germany publisher; one ignoring the question and the other basically saying piss off – but very English and very Tolkien-y.
Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject – which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.
Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.
While I found this entertaining in an old school English way, read with the voice of Winston Churchill while he drank bourbon and smoked cigars, what got me were the comments to this article.
It starts with a comment from a guy saying that Bear Jew from Inglorious Basterds should pair up with Tolkien in a buddy movie as they move across Europe causing all sorts of what can only be described as shenanigans.
From there we add several other amazing characters completing what I could only describe as the most amazing movie concept ever.
The list goes as:
Roald Dahl (I know…)
Sniper from Saving Private Ryan
I am having a hard time understanding just how awesome something like this would be.