Rod Dreher, the minor league rightwing pundit who has complained that liberal women are too busy masturbating to love their children, and who mourned the death of George Michael by wishing the late singer had been straight (Why? Dunno, maybe so Jesus could get his autograph?), has found a new Culture War thing to worry about, and it is woke academics ruining J.R.R. Tolkien with their wokeness.

In what might be the laziest culture war rant we've ever seen, Dreher, following up on a reader tip, warns that the Tolkien Society's summer seminar, scheduled to be held online July 3, is on the topic of "Tolkien and Diversity," and can you imagine, now those crazy liberals, not content with having poisoned the modern world with their wokeness, have gotten their hands on Middle Earth!

Dreher's entire column consists of a two-sentence intro, a copy-paste of an email announcing the conference, a list of the paper titles, and then a very funny joke about Hobbit buttsex.

That's it!

Obviously, the seminar must be worthless, since as we all know, Tolkien's world is exclusively white, straight, and probably Christian, or at least the man himself said that The Lord of the Rings is "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work." And now I have done more research for this blog post than Dreher did for his.


Mostly, Dreher just wants his readers, if any, to laugh at the ridiculous paper titles, because really, pfft, there's no race or gender stuff in Tolkien! So we're invited to mock titles that are clearly ridiculous and bad, just because.

A sampling (we won't copy over the full roster, because we're less lazy than Dreher):

  • Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings
  • The Problem of Pain: Portraying Physical Disability in the Fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Invisible Other: Tolkien's Dwarf-Women and the 'Feminine Lack'
  • Projecting Indian Myths, Culture and History onto Tolkien's Worlds
  • Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
  • Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
  • Hidden Visions: Iconographies of Alterity in Soviet Bloc Illustrations for The Lord of the Rings
  • Questions of Caste in The Lord of the Rings and its Multiple Chinese Translations
  • Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fanfiction and Representation within the Tolkien Fan Community

Dreher doesn't even bother fulminating about possible Communist influence in that paper about Chinese translations.

But the title that Dreher loves the most is "'Something Mighty Queer'": Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien," because 1) Academic woke jargon and 2) Haha, that's so GAY! In fact, that's the only one Dreher has time to comment on, after which he's completely finished:

I, for one, cannot wait for the destabilization of cishetero amatonormativity in the works of Tolkien. I figure it's going to be about Sam pitching and Frodo catching.

Good grief, is this ever stupid. Wokeness ruins everything, doesn't it?

That's it, kids. The seminar is proof that the Tolkien Society has succumbed to political correctness, and instead of pursuing proper assessments of Tolkien, like why didn't Sam and Frodo have the eagle fly them straight to Mount Doom, they're acting as if Chinese translations of the trilogy even matter, or that there's somehow something trans about the epic, which there is NOT. It's just a perfectly hetero story in which Gandalf the Grey literally transforms into Gandalf the White and would prefer not to be deadnamed, thank you.

In any case, it sure is sad to see all these extraneous ideas popping up for the first time in the Tolkien Society, whose previous seminars have stuck to normal topics like "Tolkien the Pagan? Reading Middle-earth through a Spiritual Lens" (2018), "Women in Tolkien" (2009)*, and "Politics and Middle-earth" (2008).

*(both of them, har har har!)

In conclusion, there are also some angry dorks complaining about Mindy Kaling's upcoming "Velma" animated series for HBO Max, in which the most sensible passenger in the Mystery Machine will be voiced by Kaling, reimagined as being of "East Asian descent," and living in a "different world" with the other human characters, but no dog or van.

To which we can only say we second this suggestion from The Mary Sue:

Honestly, the real question we have is whether or not the series will address Velma's status as a queer girl icon. Let Velma kiss girls, you cowards!

It's Friday, have a great weekend and be good to each other in this, your OPEN THREAD.

[American Conservative / The Mary Sue]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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