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.
"We have to publicize our vision of what the movie should have portrayed. We have to make it clear, for example, that the proper response to Saruman and the Orcs was for Gandalf and his followers to go to the negotiating table, not the battlefield. And if only the Middle Earth had a United Nations and a World Court, no unilateral war against Mordor would ever have been waged."
Mr. Carter went on to offer suggestions about how to wage a public relations campaign to turn people against the martial messages of "Lord of the Rings."
"Let us get the academic community to sign ads in the New York Times and other journals that identify with our pro-peace vision of the world. These ads would declare Gandalf a war monger and imperialist, and emphasize that the Orcs were not evil, but rather suffered from poverty and hopelessness.
"We also need," the former American president continued, "a major bumper sticker campaign. Every progressive must get a 'War is not the answer' or 'Visualize world peace' sticker to proudly respond to 'Lord of the Rings.'
"The stakes are enormous," the distinguished former president said with great emotion. "If enough people start thinking in terms of good and evil, all our years of cultivating moral and cultural relativism, anti-military thinking, pacifism and internationalism will be jeopardized. And college students, our greatest hope, may no longer accept their professors' view of America as an imperialist war monger."
At the conclusion of the interview, Mr. Carter was asked if his campaign against "Lord of the Rings" had a name. The peace activist thought for a moment, and replied, "Compassion for Mordor."
This story is fictional, but not false.