Posts Tagged ‘Stereotypes’

Welcome to Middle-Earth, weary fantasy-lover!
You have the option of following the epic tale of a heroic white guy (of varying height) as he treks around vanquishing evil, dark-skinned barbarians! If you want to watch (or play) a woman who isn’t given the smurfette treatment, too fucking bad! If you want to be a guy who isn’t white as snow and pure as rain – “we don’t like yer kind ’round hurr!”

Orcs                                                                                   Sad-face

Ah yes Mister Hero, and should the forces of ‘darkness’ unite against your ‘heroism’, fear not, for the pure-races will be preserved by the Deus Ex Machina of an invincible army of green white-dude ghosts! Afterall, what could be more heroic than a god-moding cheat code?

But don’t the orcs eat people, oh wise-and-mighty Aleksandr the Great(est)?

Why yes, my curious Judeo-Christian friends! In the same way that I’m sure all black janitors are magic.

Okay, seriously, what is my point?
Why, allow me to answer you, dear hypothetical reader!
Because while this type of review is not my usual fare, I feel it is incumbent upon me(as a geek)  to address this widely acclaimed work of horseshit that has been methodically spreading itself around popular culture like some over-hyped viral outbreak.
Because I was sick and tired of Lord of the Rings by the time the second movie came out (thats Two Towers, not that desiccated Hobbit story arc). Yes, I’ve read the books. No I didn’t like them either but holy SHIT did the racism not sink in until you put that crap on screen!
I’m not just being hyperbolic! If you take a step away from what orcs (every single one, apparently) do, and just look at it in terms of racial issues, why WOULDN’T they rebel against their Caucasian overlords? Orcs are pushed unto a volcanic reservation (and still hunted for sport) and treated like utter monsters by every single ‘goodly’ person without exception. There are apparently NO redeeming qualities to orcs at all. Shit, even the evil drow of better fantasy series have their outliers! (one outcast drow being the moral hero of several series). More than that, all of the ‘civilized’ societies of Middle-Earth have been living in relatively close proximity for ages and yet remain completely segregated even from each other. Which begs the question: What…happened? Was there some great ‘purge’ of half-breeds? Some ‘final solution’ that all the pure-bloods agreed upon? It seems to me that Sauron, is in fact the Abe Lincoln liberator of the orcs (we just happen to be sitting on the Confederate side of history).

sunrise                       The Grand White Wizard leads the charge against the forces of darkness!

My point is, I really don’t give a fuck if Tolkien came up with the archetypal human/elf/dwarf narrative that is still used today by better fantasy writers (he didn’t). On top of the seriously problematic racial overtones, one has to notice the utter lack of notabe female heroes. Tolkien established an oppressive gender heirarchy in his fantasy world for purely peripheral reasons (as opposed to Game of Thrones, for example, which actively explores these issues ad nauseam).
If you can’t turn a critical eye to the blatant failings of your preferred entertainment genre, you are failing your own sensibilities while openly propagating rather jarring racial (nevermind gender) stereotypes for the sake of cheap (and very white) thrills.