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The racist message of Two Towers

by Comrade Medvedsilnyn Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 5:22 PM

I finally got around to watching this Lord of the Rings movie everyone talks about. I ended up shaking with rage during most of it. This movie is so thoroughly racist, and contains so many thinly veiled allusions to the war on "terror", that it can hardly be a concidence that mr Tolkien decided to release this movie three months before the Iraq war.

I finally got around to watching this Lord of the Rings movie everyone talks about. I ended up shaking with rage during most of it. This movie is so thoroughly racist, and contains so many thinly veiled allusions to the war on "terror", that it can hardly be a concidence that mr Tolkien decided to release this movie three months before the Iraq war.

I didn't watch the first movie in this series, (and there's a third coming out next month), but the story goes something like this: There are these hobbits, who are extremely kind, goodhearted people. The hobbits have a powerful ring they're trying to take somewhere. To help them with this there are a wizard, a man, an elf and a dwarf. All of them just happen to be white, and to underscore this point for the dull-witted, the wizard is referred to as "Gandalf the White". He even dresses in all white clothes! (All that's missing is the hood.) The man, Aragorn, is some kind of übermensch, a descendant of the superior Dunedain "race". He's 87 years old, we're told, but looks half his age - thanks to his "superior" genes, no doubt.

Working hard to foil the plans of these good, decent white folks are the "evil" Saruman, and the even more "evil" Sauron, rulers of two countries called Isengard and Mordor. Both are portrayed as near-demonic in their hatred of our white heroes. Sauron is no more than a big, red eye, hovering in the air, clearly implying that he's some kind of "Devil". Both have massive armies at their disposal, consisting entirely of filthy, ugly monsters that happen to be black, every single one of them.

The allegory to America's crusade in the Middle East is obvious, complete with a Good, white country (Israel) surrounded by "evil" darkies (Arabs): The human enclave of Rohan and Gondor, (a shining "white" city), nudged as it is in between Isengard and Mordor. It is clearly on the brink of being wiped out - the exact same defense used by Israel to justify its occupation of Arab soil. Every trick in the book is employed to dehumanize the enemy. Saruman's forces are shown committing "terrorism" against a small village, as if that's somehow the very definition of "evil". And the most effective way to dehumanize someone is of course to show them not as human at all. The enemy forces in Two Towers are literally subhuman, and most of the "heroes" are literally superhuman.

The ring is clearly a metaphor for the nuclear bomb. The good guys have it, and everyone's fine with that, but when the "bad" guys want the same power, that somehow makes them evil. Hypocrisy, anyone? Iraq, anyone?

But, I hear the skeptical reader protest, this is just a movie. You're not supposed to take it seriously. Does everything have to be about politics? Can't we just enjoy a movie like this for what it is, four hours of mindless entertainment? But that is naive. In the current climate, there is no such thing as an apolitical movie, or even an apolitical statement. Politics is all around us, in the air we breathe, in all we do and say. And in this case, the political undertones reek like the breath of one the Saruman's "urukhai" monsters. In one scene, for instance, one of the evil characters, a diplomat from Isengard, mocks the good guys for being "warmongers". And the good king of Rohan, formerly fooled into negotiating with the all-evil Saruman, is told, upon regaining his senses(!), that perhaps he'll feel better "with a sword in your hand". Lets try rewriting that in modern terms: A man coming out of a deep psychological trauma is handed a gun by the doctor who healed him, and is told "maybe you'll feel better with a gun in your hand". Tolkien isn't a right-wing gun nut, he's a right-wing sword nut! Same shit, different century.

And it gets worse. Consider: Almost all the major characters in the movie are male. Most of the women are weak and childlike background characters, who must be stashed away and protected from the "evil" darkies by the brave, heroic males. The two female side characters are both passive and weak, good for nothing but to cook (badly!) for the men.

And in a callous endorsement of the American practice of sending teenage boys to fight the president's dirty wars in faraway countries, the heroes of Two Towers order even male children to take part in the big battle at the end. One of the kids gets a lesson in sword fighting from the übermensch Aragorn himself. And there's no ambiguity! No hint that it may be wrong to send children to fight the petty wars of their tyrannic leaders. Note also that there are no women fighting - only male children. In Tolkien's universe, even boys outrank adult women.

And there is of course no hint whatsoever that perhaps the other side isn't evil at all, that perhaps it too has its reasons for acting the way it does. Has anyone ever tried talking to Saruman and Sauron? Perhaps they too have grievances. Perhaps if everyone just sat down around a table and talked it all out, some acceptable compromise could be worked out between the white people and the black people. Perhaps they could share this ring between them? It's clearly more than powerful enough for one group alone to monopolize. But no, the conflict can only be resolved, it would seem, by slaughtering all the black people, while heroic music pumps out of the loudspeakers.

Look beneath the fairy tale wrapping. Every scene in this movie screams out the outdated idea that the world can be divided into us, who are good, and them, who are evil. This bipolar worldview is typical of the real life Gandalf and Aragorn - George W. Bush and Tony Blair. The Two Towers - funded by big Hollywood corporations with known Zionist connections - can thus only be seen as an elaborate propaganda spectacle aimed at Bush skeptics at home and abroad. And we Europeans, sadly, are falling for it. Another battle lost to the evil forces of neo-imperialism.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 16 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Tolkien is dead Parmenides Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 5:56 PM
Your Analysis is Full of Mistakes etc Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 6:39 PM
Your Analysis is Full of Mistakes etc Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 6:40 PM
Lefties, get lives Horius Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 10:46 PM
Some people... nonanarchist1745 Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 10:53 PM
Um fresca78798 Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003 at 10:59 PM
Dumb as dirt Barney Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 1:35 AM
war stories, the klan more rational Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 2:07 AM
And maybe... fresca6676 Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 2:15 AM
But the world is... nonanarchist2120 Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 2:49 AM
Nonanarchist ?? Meyer London Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 2:53 AM
he also misinterpreted me more rational Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 5:09 AM
Thanks, Meyer. nonanarchist1431 Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 8:18 PM
Sorry, Nonanarchist Meyer London Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 9:05 PM
Nope, not me. nonanarchist1600 Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 9:10 PM
J.R.R Tolkien is Dead rj aiT Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006 at 11:47 PM

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