Don’t Be A Grima

This is something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a long time, and interestingly, there has been a sort of convergence lately that finally forces my hand.  I think this will make a good end/beginning of year topic, fulfilling the role my post on living without fear had last year.

I feel that this post should have more disclaimers than an Alli ad.  Keep the following things in mind as you read on:

  • Every man is ultimately responsible for his own actions.
  • It is helpful to point out societal problems.
  • Everyone has their own style, and all styles are useful.

Now, clear your mind and be willing to challenge yourself. 

One of the most intriguing characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ringswas Grima, who was sometimes called Grima Wormtongue.  Now, to refresh your memory, Grima, son of Galmod, was advisor to King Theoden, but also in league with the evil wizard Saruman.  His task was to weaken Theoden through lies and persuasion.

Grima’s methods are many times misunderstood.  Yes, he told lies, but he wisely kept outright deceptions to a minimum.  Instead, he told half-truths, and played to Theoden’s weakness and fear.  He gave the king a constant drip, drip, drip of cants and why bothers and most importantly, painted a general picture of hopelessness.  This had the desired effect.

Now, I want to say this: poverty is sad.  Discouragement, however, is heartbreaking.

Let me say, I know you , my fellow blogger, are a good person.  You mean well, and wish to help your fellow man.  But you must ask yourself:  am I a modern day Grima Wormtongue?  Believe me, you might not can see it, but I do.  Many of you provide a constant drip, drip, drip of everything that’s wrong with the world.  Most likely, you do this because you seek a particular political or religious solution to a very real set of societal problems. 

Look at your posts and comments from this past year.  Be honest with yourself.  Many of you send these messages to the poor downtrodden, and discriminated against:

Drip, drip,drip.  And then, one of the downtrodden himself gives reason after reason for not even trying, and his reasons sound vaguely familiar, almost as if they were spoon-fed to him over the course of many years.  Almost as if they were whispered in his ear by someone who only wanted to help.

We do this, especially we bloggers.  We can do better.

How about, instead, we begin to look at each and every person as extraordinary?  How about not discouraging dreams, but nourishing the spark that lies within us all?  What would the world look like if we weren’t constantly whispering into each others’ ears how hopeless things are?  What if we became a source of encouragement and energy?

Reagan saw the shining city on the hill, Kennedy sought do do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard, Martin Luther King saw the other side of the mountain.  These men did not shirk from problems, but they sought to solve them by harnessing the fire within us all.

Ask yourself: in this new year, are you going to inspire, or are you going to discourage?


16 Responses to “Don’t Be A Grima”

  1. Mack Says:

    Nice try, Slarti. Pointing out inequity when it is seen is the obligation of any citizen. I’ve read a little of your history, and I found myself nodding at times and shaking my head at others. You are living a better lifestyle than your parents, and this is a result of your hard-work and discipline. Great. It is commendable. But the math isn’t: I did this, by doing (this), so if you haven’t achieved what i have, you didn’t do (this). It is unnecessary to categorize those sounding the alarm as people intent on keeping others down by demoralizing them. Even if you believe that they don’t mean to do it, (which is what I’m gathering from your post) then it seems unfair to saddle them with the title of “enabler’.

    Fix the problem, not the blame.

  2. Glen Dean Says:


    Mack, Slarti isn’t condemning those who don’t have. He is just saying we should encourage our brothers, not discourage. He is saying that we should be positive, instead of negative. It all comes from his view of the world and mankind, which is obviously much different than yours.

  3. Ginger Says:

    *Cheers & Applause! Cheers & Applause!*

    Great post, Slarti.

    Mack, fwiw, I didn’t read this as one of placing blame at all, I read it was prodding us to be encouragers rather than naysayers…

    How can that be a bad thing?

  4. Randomness…and Storing Up for a Rainy Day « GingerSnaps Says:

    […] up with the latest happenings, but nothing much in depth that could get me riled up. I did read Slarti’s post today, and then Mack’s…and I can say that I’m on the same wavelength as both […]

  5. Jon Says:

    >Only the extraordinary can rise above tough circumstances.

    Yeah. Because that’s totally what I said.

  6. Mr. Mack Says:

    Glen, re-read my comment. Slarti seems to be saying that by bringing up the problems for discussion, SB and me are demoralizing people. It is just as demoralizing to be poor, with no options. Believe it or not, there are people out there with no options. Hollywood can’t make that go away.

  7. Nashville is Talking » Be honest with yourself Says:

    […] to the Slartibartfast. The only good thing about the Grima Wormtongues of the local blogosphere is they love each […]

  8. Ginger Says:

    Herein lies the beauty of the written word…while one person gleans a message of encouragement in this post, another takes it as an attack. I suppose that could be said for those who choose to point out the challenges we face as a society as opposed to those who choose to point out the opportunities.

    With balance, both sides are valuable in making this a better world.

  9. Slartibartfast Says:

    I’m thinking I should have made my disclaimers bigger.

  10. Christian Says:

    I suppose context is everything, but if this was an attack, it was a beautiful one whose message was bloggers can do better than constantly focusing on everything that is wrong in the world and each other.

  11. nm Says:

    I dunno, I guess I see a difference between saying “the system is rigged so that you can never win” and saying “the system is rigged, so let’s get cracking at fixing that.” Where you see the first statement, I see the second. And I don’t find it discouraging; on the contrary, I find it energizing. One person’s meat and all that.

  12. Ror! Says:


    Perhaps the reason your disclaimers didn’t come across is that Wormtongue was intentionally being subversive. So by using that analogy you are, wittingly or not, impugning the integrity of those that you are asking to consider the potential negative ramifications of their expression. That will naturally provoke defensive responses.

  13. mushin no shin » Blog Archive » Political Cartography Says:

    […] where exactly did I say that someone with lesser abilities can’t succeed? I said that one person’s success doesn’t prove that the game isn’t rigged. Very […]

  14. Ror! Says:

    With balance, both sides are valuable in making this a better world.

    Not always. For example, take climate change. One camp must be clearly right, and the other must be clearly wrong. In this case it is logically impossible for the wrong side to be contributing to making a better world with regard to this admittedly singular but arguably critical issue.

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