Monday

Tolkien and Racial Supremecy



It occurs to me that Tolkien is a massive... Nazi. Let me explain why I use that word instead of 'fascist'. because he's not a fascist, but there are uncomfortable notes in the books that are exacerbated in the films. Okay, maybe an inverse-Nazi. The films have hatred poured down on humans, in comparison to the eldar siblings. Aragorn, a numenorean (the wise, long-lived homo superiors) , is told he can't leave the throne of humanity to themselves by gandalf (himself not a human but a Maiar, think along the lines of arch-angels) , as they will screw the world up. He can't marry Eowyn, because she is a low-born normal human, not of his bloodline. Instead, he is more along the lines of the Elf Arwen (and yes, i get the names confused too, thank you tolkien with your saurons and sarumans and your morgoths and youir gothmogs). Of course, the humans still make great cannon-fodder for fighting evil beings and corrupted humans.

It's so cruel to us humans, not only to be so hard on us about our failings, our corruptibility, and our weaknesses, and not only to create the 'perfect' race of elves - the first-born children of Iluvatar (read any freudian subtext here that you will, beraing in mind JRR was himself the eldest sibling to another child), but create a race of 'blessed' humans who have long lives, wisdom and strength. There's an air of defeatism and self-loathing about it. This is closer to Nazism that Nietzsche got, because his concept of the uber-mensch was a personal one, not a race-based one (if i've absorbed the cultural information accurately). Lord of the Rings is really about the hand over of power from the elves to the humans; the elves have their one last attempt to kick evil out of the world, then leave it to the humans, who coudln't even manage that on their own. That the film's hatred of humans is so deep-rooted is another reason I can't understand it's popularity. It's like legions of people around the world went to the cinema to be told that they're useless and untrustworthy.

But to be honest, while I don't like the comparison to a fictional ideal race, I  broadly agree that humans are useless. Consider the 'boot room' anecdote from Ian McEwan's 'Solar'; a room of the brightest minds from around the world, investigating the climate-change damage to the Arctic, can't even organise a tidy boot room (said to be directly inspired by McEwan's own experience of the same). Humanity is utterly doomed.

I don't want to get all Chris Packham and say 'everything was great until we turned up, then we ruined everything'; I think that's an oversimplification. I just wonder, you know..? I think there's pretty fundamental things we need to sort out before we go any further. We're in serious trouble as a planet, and making comparisons between us and some fictional race he pulled out his germanic-mythalogical arse is not going to help.
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