Skip to comments.New Read on 'Rings,' Double Standard on Slurs (Lord of the Rings is Racist)
Posted on 12/29/2003 10:17:03 AM PST by MorningCoffeeEdited on 04/22/2004 12:38:13 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
The deep thinkers at Indymedia have come to the conclusion that the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy paints a "racist stereotypical tapestry" that does a disservice to young viewers everywhere.
Lloyd Hart says people of color are all associated with the Dark Lord Sauron in the movie and the elephant-riding mercenaries too closely resemble the cultures of Africa, Persia and East Asia. The Uruk-hai also too closely resemble Native Americans, which is sure to cause "a great deal of cultural and racial alienation."
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Indymedia.org | Lloyd Hart
December 27 2003
I think this critique has existed before the movies, or maybe it was the background role of women. the movies did make the effort to add more prominent female roles than the books.
Yes, the mullahs of the left have characterized the books as racist/sexist/homophobic/insert-other-insensitivities-here for many years. The sane world ignores them.
The Ents had brown skin er ah bark. They also were green, so I guess this viewpoint is represented.
But the movie must be really degrading to the giant firery eyes in our society.
Perhaps this is because Tolkein wrote this at a time that the world looked to the "Warriors of the West" to rescue them from the axis powers.
The battle at Minis Tirith was the greatest battle scene in the history of film btw.
Some residents of Glenview said that because the firehouse is a public building, the decorations improperly cross the line between church and state. The decorations were inside but visible from the street.
The firefighters had decorated the outside of the firehouse earlier in the season, but were told to remove those as well.
"We need to serve all our residents and customers, and we had been receiving calls from citizens who were not happy seeing what they perceived to be Christmas or Christian decorations on a particular firehouse," said Janet Spector Bishop, a spokeswoman for the village.
I saw Ellis Henican debating this on Hannity and Colmes the othe week with Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes. Henican sided with the complainers -- Crowley and Colmes sided with the firemen.
I couldn't believe what Henican was saying. He said that it was a public workplace and the firemen shouldn't be decorating, they should be working. Well, I have news for Henican: They are working when your house is burning down!! Otherwise, they are at home. Why do you think they call it a fireHOUSE?!?
Firemen typically work 4-day shifts, where they live, eat, and sleep at the firehouse. It is literally their home-away-from-home. I think people are going too far when they tell firemen that they can't decorate their "house" because that home is "public." Does that mean that all the poor people in public housing can't decorate their homes either because it is public property?
Here's an exerpt:
Chomsky: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. "The world has changed," she tells us, "I can feel it in the water." She's actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.
Zinn: Of course. "The world has changed." I would argue that the main thing one learns when one watches this film is that the world hasn't changed. Not at all.
Chomsky: We should examine carefully what's being established here in the prologue. For one, the point is clearly made that the "master ring," the so-called "one ring to rule them all," is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor.
Zinn: I think that's correct. Tolkien makes no attempt to hide the fact that rings are wielded by every other ethnic enclave in Middle Earth. The Dwarves have seven rings, the Elves have three. The race of Man has nine rings, for God's sake. There are at least 19 rings floating around out there in Middle Earth, and yet Sauron's ring is supposedly so terrible that no one can be allowed to wield it. Why?
Chomsky: Notice too that the "war" being waged here is, evidently, in the land of Mordor itself — at the very base of Mount Doom. These terrible armies of Sauron, these dreadful demonized Orcs, have not proved very successful at conquering the neighboring realms — if that is even what Sauron was seeking to do. It seems fairly far-fetched.
Zinn: And observe the map device here — how the map is itself completely Gondor-centric. Rohan and Gondor are treated as though they are the literal center of Middle Earth. Obviously this is because they have men living there. What of places such as Anfalas and Forlindon or Near Harad? One never really hears anything about places like that. And this so-called map casually reveals other places — the Lost Realm, the Northern Waste (lost to whom? wasted how? I ask) — but tells us nothing about them. It is as though the people who live in these places are despicable, and unworthy of mention. Who is producing this tale? What is their agenda? What are their interests and how are those interests being served by this portrayal? Questions we need to ask repeatedly.
Chomsky: And here comes Bilbo Baggins. Now, this is, to my mind, where the story begins to reveal its deeper truths. In the books we learn that Saruman was spying on Gandalf for years. And he wondered why Gandalf was traveling so incessantly to the Shire. As Tolkien later establishes, the Shire's surfeit of pipe-weed is one of the major reasons for Gandalf's continued visits.
Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?
Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.
Zinn: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire's pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor's unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.
Chomsky: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf's pipe-weed ring. He's trying to divert it.
Zinn: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf's interest to keep Middle Earth hooked.
Chomsky: How do you think these wizards build gigantic towers and mighty fortresses? Where do they get the money? Keep in mind that I do not especially regard anyone, Saruman included, as an agent for progressivism. But obviously the pipe-weed operation that exists is the dominant influence in Middle Earth. It's not some ludicrous magical ring.
Zinn: You've mentioned in the past the various flavors of pipe-weed that Hobbits have cultivated: Gold Leaf, Old Toby, etc.
Chomsky: Nothing better illustrates the sophistication of the smuggling ring than the fact that there are different brand names associated with the pipe-weed. Ah, here we have Gandalf smoking a pipe in his wagon — the first of many clues that link us to the hidden undercurrents of power.
Zinn: Gandalf is deeply implicated. That's true. And of course the ring lore begins with him. He's the one who leaks this news of the supposed evil ring.
Chomsky: Now here, just before Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party, we can see some of the symptoms of addiction. We are supposed to attribute Bilbo's tiredness, his sensation of feeling like too little butter spread out on a piece of bread, to this magical ring he supposedly has. It's clear something else may be at work, here.
Zinn: And soon Gandalf is delighting the Hobbits with his magic. Sauron's magic is somehow terrible but Gandalf's, you'll notice, is wonderful.
Chomsky: And note how Gandalf's magic is based on gunpowder, on explosions.
Chomsky: And it is interesting, too, that Gandalf's so-called magic is technological, and yet somehow technology seems to be what condemns Saruman's enterprises, as well as those of the Orcs.
Chomsky: But we will address that later. Here we have Pippin and Merry stealing a bunch of fireworks and setting them off. This might be closer to the true heart of the Hobbits.
Zinn: You mean the Hobbits' natural inclination?
Chomsky: I think the Hobbits are criminals, essentially.
Zinn: It also seems incredibly irresponsible for Gandalf to have a firework that powerful just sitting in the back of his wagon.
Chomsky: More of his smoke and mirrors, yes? Gandalf conjures the dragon Smaug to scare the people.
Zinn: One can always delight the little people with explosions.
Chomsky: As long as they're blowing up somewhere else. Now we come to Bilbo's disappearance. Again, we have to question the validity of the ring, and the magic powers attributed to it. Did Bilbo Baggins really disappear at his party, or is this some kind of mass hallucination attributable to a group of intoxicated Hobbits? When forced to consider so-called magic compared to the hallucinatory properties of a known narcotic, Occam's Razor would indicate the latter as a far more plausible explanation.
Zinn: I also think it is a spectacular display of bad manners to disappear at your own birthday party. And here, for the first time, Gandalf speaks to Bilbo about magic rings. Still, it is never clearly established why this one ring is so powerful. Everything used to justify that belief is legendary.
Chomsky: Gandalf is clearly wondering if it's time to invoke his plan for the supposed revelation concerning the secret magic ring. Why now? Well, I think it's because the people in Mordor — the Orcs, I'm speaking of — are starting to obtain some power, are starting to ask a little bit more from Middle Earth than Middle Earth has ever seen fit to give to them. And I don't think it's unreasonable for them to expect something back from Middle Earth. Of course, if that happened, the entire economy would be disrupted.
Zinn: The pipe-weed-based economy.
Chomsky: And, as you pointed out earlier, the military-industrial-complex that exists in Gondor. This constant state of alertness. This constant state of fear. And here Gandalf reveals his true nature.
Zinn: Indeed. Gandalf darkens the room and yells at poor Bilbo for rightfully accusing him of trying to steal his ring. It is abundantly obvious that Gandalf wants to steal the ring. But if he is caught with the ring himself, his pretext will dissolve. He needs to throw as much plausible deniability into his scheme as possible, which is why, later, he has Frodo carry the ring for him.
Chomsky: Gandalf knows the ring is powerless. It's interesting that he attaches so much importance to it and yet will not pick it up himself. This is because he knows that merely possessing the worthless ring will not help his cause. It's important to keep others thinking that it can. If Gandalf held the ring, he might be asked to do something with it. But its magic is nonexistent.
Zinn: Well, power needs to have its proxies. That way the damage is always deniable. As long as the Hobbits have the ring, no one will ever question the plot Gandalf has hatched. So here is the big scary ring, and all that happens when Gandalf moves to touch it is that he sees a big flaming eye. And notice it is a… different kind of eye — not like our eye.
Chomsky: Almost a cat-like eye.
Whatever you do, don't tell Lloyd Hart about Gandalf criticizing Sauruman for abandoning his white robe for a multicolored one. Poor Lloyd might explode.
The battle of Helm's Deep wasn't bad either.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.