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@acfusco Yes, that's right, the Ring has no effect on him. And when Frodo mischievously slips it on and tries to sneak away, Bombadil can still see him. The enigma of Bombadil and Goldberry simply means that there are things about Middle-earth yet to be discovered, even by its author. Just like the real world.


@jhull @rnv Pretty good, no? And when I first read this, I was reminded of Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings. Tolkien stated that the character of Bombadil needed to be inexplicable from within the framework of the story, in order to lend Middle-earth, the “secondary creation,” a sense of reality. A story is coherent but a world is a tapestry of stories, rarely fitting together; meaning is therefore emergent, contingent, and prone to numberless revisions and amendments. The story deepens and begins to feel real when you can’t explain Bombadil, when you can’t explain Starbuck’s story-arc in the final season of Battlestar Galactica. You can’t explain the butterfly.


@rnv Something that only recently occurred to me: he and the groundhog are both named Phil.


@patrickrhone This is such a fun thread! Beyond specific songs about the music industry, there’s Zappa’s We’re Only In It For The Money and Fillmore East June 1971 albums. And I think we should also call out the “Taylor’s Versions” re-recordings that Taylor Swift has been releasing over the last few years; they’re a sort of meta-commentary on the rapacious industry and its relentless exploitation of artists.

We’ve been focusing on music, but there is just as much evidence for your observation in writing and visual art, too, of course. Many fat anthologies could be amassed, composed only of poems about writing poems. Whole libraries of novels about novelists.

In the visual arts, I would, off the top of my head, call out Francesca Woodman. Also Francis Bacon. And MC Escher did a number of self-portraits. A lot of Rembrandt’s portraits are actually self-portraits. Also, Las Meninas.