When the Lord of the Rings movies charmed moviegoers and critics alike, the SPLC fired back with a hostile Pacific News Service review that slammed the movie for its celebration of all things European: “Almost all of the heroes of the series are manly men who are whiter than white” and “exude a heavenly aura of all that is Eurocentric and good. Who but these courageous Anglo-Saxon souls can save Middle Earth from the dark and evil forces of the world?”
Well, we can’t have movies extolling manliness, now can we? And any work of art that portrays defenders of traditional European culture as anything but evil MUST be shunned.
But now here’s the Guardian exposing the underlying fault of Tolkien’s works — it’s not just the fact that no actors of color were cast in the movies based on his best-selling novels; the real problem with Tolkien is his enduring ideal of what constitutes “the good”:
Tolkien’s myths are profoundly conservative. Both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings turn on the “return of the king” to his rightful throne. In both cases this “victory” means the reassertion of a feudal social structure which had been disrupted by “evil”. Both books are one-sided recollections made the Baggins family, members of the landed gentry, in the Red Book of Westmarch – an unreliable historical source if ever there was one. A balanced telling might well have shown Smaug to be much more of a reforming force in the valley of Dale….
We’re left to take on trust from Gandalf, a manipulative spin doctor, and the Elves, immortal elitists who kill humans and hobbits for even entering their territory, when they say that the maker of the one ring is evil. Isn’t it more likely that the orcs, who live in dire poverty, actually support Sauron because he represents the liberal forces of science and industrialisation, in the face of a brutally oppressive conservative social order?
Perfect. The Elves in The Lord of the Rings are “elitist,” Sauron is a reactionary’s lampoon of enlightenment, and Sauron’s hellish mills represent Marxist “liberal forces of science and industrialisation.” Of course.
These people aren’t just attacking a fantasy classic. They seek to destroy the Western civilization that classic celebrates. Tolkien’s aim in writing The Lord of the Rings, besides giving us a rip-roaring and inspirational story, was to create a new heroic mythology for Europeans.
And our enemies know that.