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Movie Review: The Fellowship of the Ring of Free Trade

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The Fellowship of the Ring of Free Trade (2002 United States, the Stolen Collective) simply takes footage from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and adds subtitles, relabeling the characters (Sauron is “The WTO”, Saruman “Big Oil”, Gandalf “Noam Chomsky”, Aragorn (“Anarchist”, etc.). It’s meant in fun, I know. But this is an interesting film to me for two reasons:

First, I was/am apprehensive about The Lord of the Rings trilogy because I think it lends itself far too easily to an Us vs. Them mentality. I worry that its battle-of-Good-versus-Evil theme dovetails too neatly with certain divisive, simplistic ideas prevalent in contemporary American media culture: The War on Terror, Red States v. Blue States, and Culture Wars. I fear that The Lord of the Rings trilogy reinforces the basic idea that all of these share in common, that life is as simple as black and white. The Fellowship of the Ring of Free Trade validates my fears by showing just how easy it is to read these films in a contemporary context. In the process of re-appropriating The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, this short film convincingly suggests to me that it was originally appropriated by audiences in much the same way that I thought it would be.

Second, The Fellowship of the Ring of Trade shows an unfortunate tendency that some activists have to cast their story in this same Good vs. Evil, Us vs. Them mold. Note how the Seattle WTO protests are labeled in this film as “The Battle of Seattle.” I do not personally think that this is a productive way to view this history. If we really hope for a new world, perhaps it’s time we abandoned these old models of storytelling.

Watch The Fellowship of the Ring of Free Trade.

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About A. Horbal

  • Silvia Vousden

    Oh dear Tolkein himself got very fed up with people trying to suggest that his stories were a kind of allegory. He hated any kind of story that really meant something else. When the Normans invaded England, much of our myths and legends were generally lost, or replaced with Norman ones, King Athur, etc. Tolkien felt that we should revive a semblance of these stories, and wrote Lord of the Rings as if it were a real history. The fact that the themes are classic has led some to interpret them as some kind of comment on the present day. At the time they were published, people suggested that the ring represented Power, Sauron was Hitler, etc.,etc. The films followed the original story as best they could, so it’s not surprising someone has done the same with the film as others have done with the books.

  • http://www.andyhorbal.blogspot.com/ A. Horbal

    I’ve no particular desire to revisit The Lord of the Rings films just now, but I think that the next question is, Does Peter Jackson encourage that sort of appropriation?

  • http://www.richardbrodie.com/ Richard Brodie

    In the supranational government, represented by the WTO, Codex Alimentarius, the ITU, etc., the citizens are not individual human beings, but rather corporations. Globalism is government of, by, and for the big multinationals. They want to see standards of living raised in all the third world countries so that they will have bigger markets and become even more monolithically powerful.

    It is this thrust, more than anything else, that will continue to put downward pressure on our own standard of living, for the simple reason that increasing demand for rapidly disappearing mineral resources raises the price of those resources, and thus increases the price of EVERYTHING to the American consumer.

    The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that even at current rates of consumption there are only a certain number of years before ALL remaining accessible below ground reserves are exhausted. This is basically all that’s left to be mined from that part of the earth’s crust that we can feasibly reach:

    Aluminum 100+ years
    Copper 67+ years
    Lead 48 years
    Nickel 100 years
    Zinc 54 years
    Silver 29 years
    Gold 34 years

    The world cannot continue to sustain the insanely high population level that the industrial revolution allowed it to shoot up to, much less the additional billions expected to be added over the remainder of this century, as a result of the enablement of runaway third world breeding.

    The United States can continue it suicidal participation in the new world order, and go down with it, or it can weather the coming storm by stopping its own runaway, immigration-fueled population growth, and becoming maximally self-sufficent.