Advertisements
Tag Archives: Frodo

The Lord of the Rings as an unnecessarily detailed metaphor for World War II

13 Sep

It’s only fair to begin this article with a disclaimer that the ideas listed below were thought up by a few Sherman Ave writers who decided to spend a Wednesday night drinking heavily and watching Lord of the Rings. We’re not sure if that’s more of a discredit to our ideas or merely ourselves, but it only feels proper to acknowledge that these ideas were the result of a long, loud, and quite inebriated conversation, which – regrettably – drowned out the cinematic masterpiece playing on the shitty 19″ television before us.  And for all you Tolkien fanatics out there, we’re well aware of the fact that he adamantly rebukes all claims that his books have allegory for the world wars.  But if high school English teachers get to make up symbolism and shove it down your throat, then by God, we’re going to as well.

Mordor or Germany? Bet you can’t even tell.

Mordor as Nazi Germany

This one should be fairly self-explanatory. Mordor is a highly industrialized powerhouse which seems to have turned evil under the lordship of one pretty huge taint. After having lost a previous war (the one in the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, in which Sauron’s ring is taken by Isildur), Mordor is humiliated by their crushing defeat, and seeks not only to avenge their dignity but also to regain their status as a viable power in Middle-Earth. This means that Adolf Hitler is Sauron – a mindless and power-tripping despot who brings evil to the world. The Nazgul represent the S.S., being the ones who carry out Hitler’s bidding on more important tasks. That would probably make Heinrich Himmler represent the Witch-King of Angmar, which is obviously reasonable. Erwin Rommel is represented by Gothmog, the incredibly heinous-looking Orc general with the fucked up eye who leads the river crossing at Osgiliath. The Mouth of Sauron represents Joseph Goebbels and the Eye of Sauron represents Hitler’s mustache, seeing as it is Sauron’s most memorable feature.

“One does not simply cooperate with Patton’s Third Army.”

Gondor as Britain

Gondor is clearly one of Mordor’s primary targets, and Gondor knows that the rising power of Mordor means they will have to sustain vicious attacks, given their proximity. Gondor also is a storied Western monarchy that was once powerful but has since weakened, much like the British Empire. This means that Denethor is Neville Chamberlain, being a leader who once had potential but has become such a useless sack of shit that he needs to be replaced during the war. It must be, then, that Aragorn is Winston Churchill – the replacement for Denethor who comes to the rescue and rallies Gondor. (Side note: We’d go so far to say that Aragorn’s horse, Brego, represents whiskey, and that his sword, Narsil, represents cigars, seeing as those appear to be the two things that most aided Churchill in his life.) Continuing with Gondor as Britain, we’d say that Boromir is Field Marshal Montgomery, since he’s a pretty effective soldier who happens to be an asshole. Lastly, Faramir represents King George VI – a noble man who has lived his whole life in his older brother’s shadow. Lamentably, Faramir doesn’t have a debilitating speech impediment. By this model, Minas Tirith is London, the Siege of Minas Tirith is the Battle of Britain, and Osgiliath is Dunkirk.

Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill, preparing to ride horses into an army of Axis forces

Rohan as the Soviet Union

Of the forces fighting against Mordor, Rohan probably suffers the greatest losses. They are also initially hesitant to be involved in this epic war, thinking they can avoid it, just as the USSR maintained a Nonaggression Pact with Germany at the outset of the war. Eventually, though, Rohan comes to the aid of Gondor, and at the end of the day, one could certainly argue that Rohan was the most influential nation in Mordor’s demise. From this, we can assume that Grima Wormtongue represents Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister who engineered a pact with the Nazi forces in the same way Wormtongue forged a similar alliance. King Theoden is Josef Stalin – a fairly disagreeable politician who seems to love power-tripping, but is ultimately instrumental in the war effort. This leads us to believe that Eomer is Georgi Zhukov, partially because Zhukov was a fantastic Soviet general, but mostly because we can’t really fit Eomer anywhere else. We would assume then that The Battle of Helm’s Deep is The Battle of Stalingrad, since it was a ruthless siege which occurred in unfavorable weather conditions but ultimately served as somewhat of a turning point in the war.

You’re a wizard, Benito!

Isengard as Italy

A militaristic nation ruled by a cult-of-personality dictator, Isengard initially seems to be quite a formidable power in the war, and its allegiance to Mordor a massive setback. However, they end up being knocked out of the war much earlier than any other power, and their leader killed in a very gruesome and public manner. Needless to say, this means Saruman is Benito Mussolini – a very dickish leader who serves mostly as Sauron’s/Hitler’s puppet.

“RRREEEETTTTRRRRREEEEAAAATTTTT!!!!!!”

Elves as France

The Elves seem perfectly content to observe complacently as their world is taken over by evil dickbags. Even though they have a “history of courageous militarism,” they are way too pussy to actually participate in the war. Only a small group of Elves (representing, of course, the French resistance movement) is actually willing to stand up to Mordor and fight alongside their allies. Presumably, this means Legolas is Charles de Gaulle, seeing as he is the most involved elf in the war. Accordingly, Elrond is Field Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of the elves whose passiveness facilitated the spread of evil to the point at which he’s basically a traitor.

THEY’RE DEFINITELY JAPANESE, OKAY?

Easterlings as Japan

First of all, since we’re all thinking it: They totally look Japanese with their eye make-up and all that. But besides that, the Easterlings are a people puppeted by Mordor to fight for his cause. They don’t appear to have any obvious connection with Mordor other than their manipulation by the forces of evil. That’s all we’ve got for Japan…

Hobbits as Jews

Constantly being hunted by Mordor, the Hobbits only want to live peacefully in society and avoid conflict. Throughout the story, it’s clear that “the halflings” are Sauron’s main priority. Assuming that all Hobbits are Jews, we could then claim that the four most important Hobbits are the four most important Jews. Frodo and Sam are Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, carrying a very powerful weapon which Sauron wants (read: The Ring of Power is the Atomic Bomb).

“I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”

This, of course, implies that Mount Doom is Hiroshima, the culmination of the omnipotent weapon which summarily ends the war. As long as Hobbits are Jews, we’ll go ahead and declare that Lembas bread is bagels. Since we need other important Jews to fill the roles of other important Hobbits, we’ll say that Pippin is Anne Frank (remember when he hid from the Orcs at the end of Fellowship of the Ring?) and Merry is Oskar Schindler (yes, he was Catholic, but he’s close enough). Thus, Kristallnacht is Weathertop, indicating Hitler’s first attack against the Jews. The Shire is Israel, since they’re both places that the Hobbits/Jews can only really dream of during the war. And lastly, The Tower of Cirith Ungol is Auschwitz and Shelob is a train to Auschwitz.

Anne Frank and Oskar Schindler observe the ruins of North Africa whilst on the back of Haile Selassie

Fangorn Forest as Africa

Leading up to the war, Saruman had been meddling malevolently in the Fangorn Forest, much like Italy dicked around in Ethiopia in the 1930s. Furthermore, it was a series of events in Fangorn Forest that led to the fall of Isengard, just as Operation Torch and ultimately the Battle of El Alamein lead to the Allies being positioned to invade Italy. We’re going to go ahead and assume that this means Ents are Ethiopians, meaning that Treebeard is Haile Selassie, serving as the leader who called out Saruman/Mussolini on his inappropriate actions.

Did you ever notice that he’s only pictured from the waist up?

The Army of the Dead as the United States of America

You’ve probably been waiting for the good ol’ U-S-of-A to get its honorable mention, and now you’re probably crestfallen by their seemingly sad counterpart. Well…sorry. The Army of the Dead originally had no intention of joining the war, but were eventually coaxed into it to honor an ancient but very strong allegiance. Aragorn, as Churchill, is obviously the only person who could have garnered their support. The Battle of Pelennor Fields, representing D-Day, probably could not have been won without the help of the Army of the Dead. (The King of the Dead is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, especially after April 1945.) Speaking of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, you know those catapults that the orcs load with heads and launch at Minas Tirith? V-2 ROCKETS.

George C. Scott is…SHADOWFAX

Gandalf as General Eisenhower

Gandalf is the only character in the story truly capable of uniting Elves, Men, Dead, and Gimli, just as Eisenhower effectively led French, British, American, and Canadian forces in Europe. This probably means that Shadowfax is General Patton. General Patton was an Olympic athlete in his younger days, so he was fit and fast like Shadowfax. Patton also responded to strangle whistles, and Shadowfax was reportedly killed in a car accident after the war. Honestly kind of an eerie connection. All this taken into consideration, it’s probably fair to say that The Battle at the Black Gate represents The Battle of the Bulge, as it was the last stand made by Mordor before being righteously defeated.

Yes, this is a picture of Dwight Eisenhower riding Harry Truman. No, you shouldn’t Google that.

The Eagles as President Harry Truman

Through the whole story, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell don’t they just use the Eagles to get to Mordor instead of putting Frodo and Sam on this painstakingly long journey? Similarly, looking back at World War II, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell couldn’t FDR die earlier so Truman could end the war sooner? Truman clearly knew how to end a damn war, because he had the cajones to mercilessly massacre 250,000 people. The Eagles swoop into save the day at the end in much the same way Truman swooped into end the war.

“Nobody toshesh a peripherally relevant bilingual democrashy!”

Gimli as Canada

Gimli maintains an odd subservience to Legolas and Aragorn, much in the same way that France is a large cultural influence in Canada and Britain is a moderate political influence. More importantly, though, we must acknowledge that Gimli and Canada were both really just involved in the war to provide comedic relief.

Oliphants as Bulgaria

The involvement of oliphants in the war certainly aided Mordor’s cause, but realistically, Mordor would have been perfectly fine without their help.

King Theoden, chuckling heartily at the misfortunes he caused the Ukrainians by his failed New Economic Policy

That Orc who says “We haven’t had anything but maggoty bread for three stinkin’ days!” as Ukraine

It would be wholly improper to write an article about World War II without making at least one joke about Ukraine producing most of the Soviet Union’s wheat but still starving because of Stalin’s unsuccessful implementation of a redistributive economic system.

Eleanor Roosevelt ponders her latent lesbianism. Or maybe the death of her father, Josef Stalin. Hmm.

Eowyn as Eleanor Roosevelt

Admittedly, this one doesn’t entirely work because Eowyn was in no way married to the King of the Dead. That being said, we would readily believe that Eleanor Roosevelt had a crush on Winston Churchill in the same way that Eowyn was tryna with Aragorn, and she probably would have gotten with King George VI the same way she got with Faramir.

Galadriel as Rosie the Riveter

Galadriel really only serves a symbolic role in the story, encouraging Frodo, Sam, and the others to continue their fight for good. If that’s the case, we suppose The Light of Elendil is Freedom, maybe? Too much? Too much of a stretch? This is almost done, we promise.

Gollum as Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Rankin was the only congresswoman who voted against the American declaration of war in December 1941. Not only did she perpetrate one of the most pronounced bitchmoves in American history, but the real reason she voted against it is because she knew that the war would mean the use of the atomic bomb, and as a typical greed-driven female politician, she wanted the atomic bomb for herself. Hers. Her own. Her precious.

Congresswoman Rankin unceremoniously feasting upon a live fish from the reflecting pool.

Interestingly enough, she also loved beating live fish against rocks and eating them in a grotesque manner. She also wore a loincloth and had Split Personality disorder. She also bit off Albert Einstein’s ring finger in Hiroshima.

*Note: You may have noticed that we didn’t include Arwen. That’s because Arwen is a stupid bitch character who only gets mentioned twice in the books and deserves no fucking place in this vaunted story.

-Contributions from Brother Jürgen Taintsdorf, Commandant Leo Sextoi, and Sad Bones Malone

For more painfully unnecessary and exhaustive World War II metaphors and other things, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!  Then seek therapy immediately.

Advertisements

Newt Gingrich, South Carolina, and the Abortion of My Career in Political Commentary

23 Jan

And I don't think I want to. Except for understanding your disproportionate ability to get laid.

The GOP primaries are like Chicago weather: completely, utterly, and insanely unpredictable.* Just when you think you understand the day-to-day realities of winter in Chicago, BAM!! Thunderstorm in January. Just when you think you’ve figured out the winner of the GOP nomination, BOOM! Newt wins South Carolina.

I mean, what the fuck, Newt? I thought we were done. I really did. I thought Silly Time was over and it was time for some Real Talk with Obama and Romney (or at the very least, an Al Green-themed The Voice-style sing-off). Not so fast. But I guess I should’ve seen this coming.

Here is a Facebook status I wrote a few months ago, when Newt Gingrich was polling in first place while his opponents floundered, as Herman Cain struggled to fight rape charges and Rick Perry struggled to remember things and Mitt Romney struggled to be interesting: “Newt Gingrich is in first place. That’s it. It’s all a farce. Let’s stop pretending that all of this is real. I throw up my hands.”

Newt polling in first was to the GOP race what Sam and Frodo reaching the end of the Shire was for LOTR. We were now farther from political sanity than we had ever been before, and there was no telling where we would be swept off to next.

Google his name. GOOGLE IT!!!

Two months later, Rick Santorum won Iowa.

Rick Santorum! His name has been successfully Google-bombed and EVERYBODY KNOWS IT and he still won Iowa!

I underestimated the GOP. And not in a “wow I underestimated how good this Nutella milkshake from Fran’s would be” kind of way. Oh no. It was a “the 1984 Portland Trail Blazers underestimated Michael Jordan so much they decided to draft Sam Bowie instead of him” kind of underestimation. Half of me understood that the Newt poll meant the Brotherhood of Dada had dragged us into an alternate universe where ‘politics’ was synonymous with ‘freakshow’ and words lost their meaning and anything was possible…but half of me kept thinking that every crazy development (“oops,” Herman Cain’s Pokémon obsession, Ron Paul’s status as the voice of reason) was the zenith of absurdity, that there remained no further depths to which we could plunge.

But you best believe Newt Gingrich always had an answer for me. Once again, for the record, in case you were too busy this weekend dancing to polka music or playing cards with guys who have the Teen Titans tattooed on their arm to hear about it, Newt won South Carolina! Once more for the record: aaaaahhhhhhhhh!

Is this year’s GOP race the result of some twisted alternate earth they dragged us into?

My last article was not only a celebration of the ridiculous hilarity of the GOP campaign, but also an elegy for that craziness, which I thought was about to vanish in a cloud of sanity. I thought Mitt finally had this all locked up after winning New Hampshire, and I was sure we were finally transitioning from Perry-Bachmann-Cain-Paul-Gingrich to Romney-Obama, to real political debates between two sane candidates. But then Newt charged back to metaphorically punch me in the mouth and remind me that America isn’t going to stop being a hot dysfunctional mess anytime soon.

My possible career in political commentary hasn’t even started and I’m already thinking of quitting forever. I just cannot wrap my head around Newt Gingrich. Can anybody? If you thought Rick Santorum was vulnerable to a casual Google search, try taking Newt’s name for a virtual walk some time. Newt probably has his closet bolted shut with a chair against the door and that still isn’t enough to keep the skeletons in. There is absolutely no possible way that Newt can win the GOP nomination, much less the presidency. But if this campaign has taught us anything, it’s that the possible is impossible and up is down and America is fucked up. In the real world, Newt could never win. But I don’t think we even live in the real world anymore.

Newt

My sense of surprise is utterly gone. For the rest of eternity I will believe any story, any event that involves the GOP. Nothing is too nonsensical for a party where Newt Gingrich is a viable candidate. I probably won’t even bat an eye when Bristol Palin wins the Iowa caucuses in four years and becomes the favorite to win the GOP nomination. The Republican Party has moved beyond my paltry comprehension ability.

I think I’m just gonna have to stick to the fiery anti-coffee invective. I can’t do this anymore.

——————————————————————————————————————————
*And for those of you scoring at home, “Chicago weather” is the third thing I’ve compared the GOP primaries to during my career. The list also includes Doctor Who and NBC’s Thursday night sitcom lineup.