OSLO, Norway (Prager News Service, Jan. 5, 2004) -- In a just-published interview with the Norwegian Society for Universal Neutrality (NSUN), former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said that the blockbuster trilogy "Lord of the Rings" is sending dangerous messages to the world's young people.
"For three hours in this latest installment of 'Lord of the Rings,' young people the world over watch my work in the United States and your work here in Europe -- to get nations to disarm, not to make moral judgments about any nation other than America or Israel -- undone.
"We who love peace," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate continued, "have to initiate a campaign to jolt people back to our view of the world. Let's be clear about the dangers. What if young people start identifying George W. Bush with Aragorn or Gandalf, and Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden with Saruman? Even worse, impressionable moviegoers might identify the American war against Iraq and so-called 'Islamic terror' with the war against the Orcs and Mordor.
"Who knows what might happen if enough young people start thinking that war is an option, or that some people or countries can be labeled 'evil,' or that there is something noble about a soldier who kills for a 'just' cause?"
The former president continued, "I hope that the European community, enlightened Democrats and progressives in America begin to realize the potential consequences of this film. There may even be a demand among American college students to allow the return of ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) recruiters to campuses. People might start regarding war as an option.
"When I saw the audience in the movie theater cheer when Orcs were killed, I shuddered," Mr. Carter said, visibly pained. "The message of 'Lord of the Rings' is just plain bad.
"We must do something to counteract this celebration of violence," Mr. Carter said emphatically. "To see even trees fight and kill is enough to make any right-thinking person sick to his or her stomach.
"You Europeans, and we in America who identify with your beautiful values of moral neutrality and pacifism, must create a major public relations campaign against these films. We have to use our access to people's hearts and minds to counter that of Hollywood, which is almost always on our side, but for the sake of profits has produced this reactionary propaganda.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”