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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Dangers of Literary Criticism

Check out everybody's favorite senator Rick Santorum's newest take on the Iraq war:

Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been drawn to Iraq instead.

Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic “Lord of the Rings,” to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

“It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.,” Santorum continued. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Oh man, we are so doomed (no pun intended). I can't wait until after election day when we no longer have to listen to Crazy Rick Santorum analyze literature.

  • At 10/18/2006 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    I'm glad our foreign policy is in the hands of a bunch of scared twelve year olds.

    First man-on-dog sex, now this.


  • At 10/18/2006 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Greenwit wrote…

    Arrrgh. Blregddfrt. Rgndfsd. I cannot speak. November had better work this time around.


  • At 10/20/2006 08:49:00 AM, Blogger Adam wrote…

    fascinating subject, this: ridiculous deployments of literature by politicians. in england, michael portillo, before his reformation into (partial) human being, made a speech to the very nasty Conservative Way Forward group to justify social hierarchies, and to prove that Shakespeare was a Tory. He used 'Take but degree away, untune that string / And hark what discord follows', from T&C. The poltroon.


  • At 10/20/2006 11:59:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    Madness. This sort of gives me hope, though -- clearly, the old tricks aren't working: it's no longer enough to just say "Osama." They're now feeling forced into baroque and oblique paths, to get to the same goal of abject fear.

    I think there's a history of this kind of political reading of Tolkien. If memory serves, the Balantine edition begins with a preface in which Tolkien argues that his book is *not* an allegory of WWII. I'm not sure who that's arguing against, but you see the idea -- secret, massively powerful weapon stolen from the enemy. Except that this weapon isn't supposed to get used.


  • At 10/23/2006 11:28:00 PM, Blogger James wrote…

    Who are the hobbits supposed to be? Can Wolfowitz be Faramir? That'd be awesome.


  • At 10/24/2006 12:08:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    The exegetical possibilities are really endless, James ... but I do know this: Rick Santorum is totally and completely against hobbit-on-elf sex. I mean, that's just unnatural.


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