Saturday, December 1, 2018

The insufficiently woke Mr. Tolkien

The First Reader found this parody conversation from McSweeneys recently -- I have no idea how, because he's not a Tolkien fan. It's old, but I hadn't seen it before. Here's a sample:

ZINN: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?

CHOMSKY: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

ZINN: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire’s pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor’s unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.

CHOMSKY: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf’s pipe-weed ring. He’s trying to divert it.

ZINN: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf’s interest to keep Middle Earth hooked.



  1. lol - Wonder if Stephen Colbert knows about this argument. He is one of the nerdiest and knowledgeable Tolkien fans I can think of. If nothing else, it would give him a good laugh.


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