an example of political marketing

an example of political marketing



The leader of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia movement, Georgia May Leoni, does not hide her passion for the works of JRR Tolkien. Many of the metaphors in Giorgia Meloni’s language elements refer directly to “The Lord of the Rings” (1955). The pure land against the corrupt society, here is a contemporary allegory easy to exploit. “I don’t consider ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to be a fantasy book,” she said. And we know that the fantastic medieval universe exerts a strong influence on the partisans of the Italian right.

A fraudulent political strategy

By using the aura of JRR Tolkien, who has had tens of millions of readers around the world since the 1950s and 1960s and whose films by Peter Jackson have enjoyed great notoriety, Giorgia Meloni is part of a logic of political marketing; Meloni then sees in the Italians the Hobbits capable of overthrowing mountains.

It’s shocking because everything said goes against both Tolkien’s beliefs as a person and the messages of his books.Vincent Ferre

She voluntarily plays on this double confusion and deconstructs the image of a man, Tolkien, by reducing his work for his own political ends. For a man who advocates anarchy and unconstitutional monarchy equally, it is simplistic to want to stick a label on him.

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It is wrong to say, as it was recently written in the newspaper Le Monde, that the subject of knowing whether Tolkien is fascist or racist violently divides historians. No, there is no ambiguity on the question. He is not.” Vincent Ferre

A teacher at the University of Oxford in Great Britain, a specialist in literature and medieval language, Tolkien was allergic to politics and especially to propaganda. If he speaks against Hitler several times in his letters, he does not hide his reluctance with regard to Allied propaganda.

Valid progressive appropriations

According to Vincent Ferré, the most compatible appropriations of the “Lord of the Rings” with the coherence of the text, are progressive. For example, the American campuses of the 1960s valued the relationship of Hobbits to nature, and the American environmental movements in California still explicitly claim it.

There have even been Marxist readings that hold up quite well.” Vincent Ferre

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Indeed, in Tolkien, no people is superior to another: the Elves are dreadful reactionaries, the Hobbits are endearing, although annoying, and the Dwarves, too attracted to the precious metal, make armor and cause disasters.

An anti-totalitarian and anti-Manichean novel

Vincent Ferré cites a little-known text by Tolkien, “Farmer Gilles de Ham” – illustrated by Pauline Baynes and published in 1949 – which recounts the exploits of a peaceful farmer triumphing over stupidity and cunning, until he was designated king, instead of the hereditary king.

“The Lord of the Rings” is a eulogy to overcoming the differences between peoples. Dwarfs, Hobbits and Elves learn to support each other and work together so as not to die. Tolkien designs a reflection on the role of the community and demonstrates a great distrust of totalitarian power. Indeed, the characters in his books who stand on the side of confiscating power are negative figures. Tolkien deploys a critical reflection on the unlimited use of force.

Tolkien was a victim of the image given by the films of Peter Jackson which have many qualities but which are Manichean films, with an opposition between the camp of good shrouded in light and the camp of evil which is in darkness.Vincent Ferre

  • JRR Tolkien, “Unfinished Tales and Legends” edition by Christopher Tolkien, translation by Tina Jolas revised by Pauline Loquin, has just been published by Christian Bourgeois editor.

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