Two things have been dominating my mind lately: Anticipation of the upcoming Hobbit films, and the US Presidential race/clusterfuck. I actually recently went through and re-watched the Lord of the Rings movies, and suddenly, it hit me: each and every one of the current candidates for President of the United States of America is exactly like a character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Don't believe me? Look at the facts.
Ron Paul is Gollum
Gollum, a sad, pathetic and vaguely evil creature, was once Smeagol, the good little Hobbit-like creature. The One Ring has corrupted this tragicomic figure to the point where he only cares about one thing: his "Precious" Ring. He did betray the location of the Ring to Sauron, but he gave the Hobbits the secret back entrance to Mordor. He's a true moral wildcard, to the point of arguing with himself over whether or not to murder Frodo and Sam or to be their friends.
Ron Paul has definitely been corrupted by something, most likely a combination of Randian philosophy and being born and raised in the segregationist south. His entire philosophy can be summed up with one word: Liberty. He wants liberty, to the point of near anarchy, and that's all that matters to him. He wants to allow drugs and prostitution, he opposes imperialistic wars, and this is good stuff. However, he doesn't feel that we should "impose" things on others, like serving people of other colours, or treating the sick or helping the poor with public funds. In addition to this, the free-market capitalism he so readily endorses would be completely toxic to society--but he's the most likely Republican to stand up for something that's actually just. It's almost like there are two Ron Pauls: the one who will stand up for the people of Palestine when no other politician in the USA will, and the one who publishes racist newsletters--much like there are two Gollums, the one who would risk his life to save our heroes, and the one who who would kill them in their sleep to steal their jewelry.
Also, Gollum is obviously mentally unstable, and Ron Paul believes in the New World Order, thinks a race war is imminent and doesn't accept the theory of evolution despite the fact that he's a medical doctor. I rest my case on that one.
Rick Santorum is Grima Wormtongue
It's probably easier to list the significant differences between these two characters, but I'm not about doing stuff the easy way. Both are disgusting little toads who are so transparently evil that it's in their names. Seriously. Grima Wormtongue's first name comes from "grim", and the second comes from his ability to lie skillfully. Rick (short for Richard, which can also be shortened to Dick) Santorum has a perhaps the most profane last name ever, appropriate for a man with his mission in life. But the truth is that both these insidious creatures have the exact same Modus Operandi: they gain power by telling people what they want to hear, and aim to influence the real decision makers into destroying their country. Grima Wormtongue used his influence on King Theoden to essentially cripple a good man for an evil wizard. Rick Santorum uses deep-seeded cultural bigotry, appeals to "family values" and religion to try to destroy the lives of homosexuals and women who have unwanted pregnancies. I know I'm supposed to try to make a joke or something, but seriously, fuck anyone who would poison a good man to score with his daughter (it was implied that Saruman would force Eowyn to mate with Grima in exchange for his services) and double fuck anyone who would ban pornography and gay marriage just to get some rednecks to vote for him.
Newt Gingrich is Tom Bombadil
I couldn't finish reading the Lord of the Rings books. This is partly because they were dry as hell, but more importantly, Tom Bombadil ruined the book for me. He did nothing to advance the plot, he spoke in irritating rhyme, he was intrusive and, frankly, I wanted to stab the book repeatedly when I read segments with him in it. He's a relic of Tolkien's past, a character from some old pre-Hobbit poems that should have stayed there. He was rightfully left out of the movies due to the fact that he'd have made the movies unbearably long and flow much worse. Nevertheless, there were and several extremist Tolkien fans who even wanted him to be in the movies despite the fact that he'd have ruined them like he did the books. Some of these fans still insist the movies would have been better with the forest spirit involved.
I can't stand to watch Newt Gingrich. He brings nothing to the race, his career really should have been permanently destroyed by his ethics reprimand, and his despicable demeanor and ugly past only serves to lower the overall quality of the entire campaign. Just like the Lord of the Rings movies were better without a stupid, annoying, singing loon, the presidential race would be infinitely better without this relic from the 1990s who has more ethical issues than the Tea Party thinks Obama does. His very presence adds much more tabloid material than all of the other candidates combined, which distracts from the issues and turns this race into an even sleazier circus. And yet, as evidenced by his win in South Carolina, he has his fans amongst Tea Party extremists who want him in the White House, despite the fact that a man who left two wives while they were stricken with incurable ailments (who is campaigning on family values and the sanctity of marriage) would do more damage to the office of President than Nixon did. He has no place in this race, and had he not run, the race would already be decided--so we can blame Newt for this clusterfuck continuing as long as it already has.
Mitt Romney is Boromir
Boromir was a great hero. He fought alongside he Fellowship of the Ring and sacrificed himself to save Frodo and Sam when the Uruk-Hai surrounded them. He's also devilishly handsome.
Boromir was a rank villain. He joined the Fellowship of the Ring to steal the ring so that Gondor could use it to fight Sauron's evil forces--this despite the fact that this would essentially give all the power in the world to the world's greatest evil.
Mitt Romney is a good man. He brought socialized healthcare to a part of the United States, which is no mean feat, even in Massachusetts. He supported abortion and gay rights, and was generally a progressive and good governor, from what I can tell. He's also devilishly handsome.
Mitt Romney is an asshole. He's a stereotypically evil vulture capitalist who has turned himself into a definite Tea Party right winger, despite their mistrust of him. He also tortured his dog on a family vacation.
The fact is, these men are both admirable and villainous, depending on your point of view, but there is one significant difference. See, Boromir did his evil deeds for admirable, yet misinformed reasons: to save lives and stop evil. Mitt Romney has done all his evil deeds (except the dog torment) for understandable yet undesirable reasons: greed and self centredness. So, in a way, he's more like Bizarro-Boromir than regular Boromir, but he still counts.
Barack Obama is Aragorn
Both Aragorn and Obama are heroic leaders who represent hope and change for the better, yet are crippled by their own lack of confidence. That's the reason Aragorn took as long as he did to become the king of Gondor, and why he had to leave and become Strider. That's why Obama has bowed to Republican pressure even when the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and why people view him as "spineless". I don't want to downplay what he DID accomplish, but he could have done much more, and didn't, primarily out of a lack of confidence and, well, a bit of spinelessness. He is the strongest, most noble, most good and most heroic of all who's currently vying for the title, but he has some deep flaws. And if you remember the movies/books, he was never the hero of the story.
The American People are the Hobbits
Yes, four hairy, big-footed midgets are who I'm choosing to represent an entire country. And why not? They're four individuals that, in broad strokes, adequately represent the people fairly well. All of them have the same goal (the destruction of the Ring, or in real life, improvement to the general state of the economy, foreign relations, and general societal health). All of them go about it a different way, however. Merry and Pippin barely seem to care, though you can tell they have some concern for the country, despite some of their actions actually being counter-intuitive (who doesn't remember that "fool of a Took" moment?). They almost seem more concerned with getting second breakfast than getting the Ring destroyed at points, and yet they continue on the journey. Meanwhile, Frodo and Samwise think through their problems, make sacrifices and take real risks, and throughout it all, never truly faltered. They represent the hardworking, intelligent people who are not being served by their government, who are being held down by the rich who lobby to create an oppressive tax system, to dismantle the social safety nets that are in place and prevent new ones from emerging, and who are doing their damnedest to keep positive change from happening. These are the Occupiers, the engaged individuals who are trying to make whatever difference they can, and frankly, we need more of them.
Had they not dropped out of the race, here's what I'd have said about some of the others who ran:
Michele Bachmann: One of the Ring Wraiths, but not the Witch King. Scary and shrieky, there's really no other choice for her.
Donald Trump: An orc. Not an Uruk-Hai, an orc. I seem to remember a few deformed orcs that were fed back into the orc-making machine (though maybe I'm misremembering...) Anyway, imagine that one of them thought it was Sauron, and that's the Donald.
Rick Perry: The Witch King of Angmar. Looked pretty scary and powerful until it was discovered he had a pretty big weakness. The Witch King was an arrogant sod who thought he was invincible when literally half of everyone everywhere could kill him, and under some interpretations of his prophecy, any elf, dwarf or hobbit could kill him too. Rick Perry was an early leader who looked like a shoo-in, until we found his weaknesses: debates, ridiculous and bigoted political ads and an overused joke about a third thing I can't remember. Oops.
Jon Huntsman: Figwit. Quite an attractive candidate but, well...who is that?
Herman Cain: Arwen. In the books, she did nothing, but in the movies she was given a much larger role, partly to show that the movies weren't (as much of) a sausage fest. Herman Cain was a joke candidate, but he ended up getting a bunch of support early on because the Republicans needed to show that they weren't racist against EVERYBODY. Just the Mexicans and Arabs.
All illustrations were done by Petar Gagic, who does reviews of horror, action and exploitation flicks as the Cine-Masochist. Go like his show!