Noted Tolkien expert Stephen Colbert was bummed a little during his monologue on Monday with the news that Italy’s new neo-fascist Prime Minister is apparently really, really into “the Lord of the Rings.”
And in explaining why it doesn’t make sense for extreme right wingers to love Tolkien’s legendarium, he nerded out so much even his own camera started to drift off.
“The part that hurts the most for me personally,” Colbert said after explaining the situation, “is that Meloni, who leads a party that has often been described as neo-fascist, claims to be a big Tolkien fan, who used to dress up as a hobbit.”
“No! No! Or, as they say in Italian, no. Don’t you ruin the ‘Lord of the Rings.’ No self-respecting adult dresses like a hobbit. Unless you’re on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.” Of course, at this point the cover of EW on which Colbert did just that appeared onscreen.
“Now I get why an Italian politician might like Tokien. The trilogy is full of Italian characters,” Colbert said, at which point edited footage of Ian McKellen in the “You shall not pass” scene, but with dialogue in an exaggerated Italian accent, popped up onscreen.
“You gotta love the soundtrack by Howard Shore,” Colbert continued, singing, ‘when you see a big eye flaming up in the sky, that’s a-Sauron.”
“But, Meloni takes her fandom to the extremes, saying ‘I don’t consider the Lord of the Rings fantasy,’ adding that to her, it’s ‘a sacred text.’ I’ve never said these words to anyone,” Colbert said with a solemn tone of voice. “But I think you’re taking the ‘Lord of the Rings’ too seriously.”
“Even worse, this isn’t just confined to Meloni. In Italy, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ has been a central pillar of the hard-right identity,” Colbert added, quoting a New York Times article.
“No. No, fascists. ‘Lord of the Rings’ is not some sacred text for the far right. That’s totally misunderstanding the words of Ulmo, Lord of Waters, who chose Tuor as his instrument to tell the Elven king Turgon, after the founding of the great kingdom of Gondolan, ‘love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart,” Colbert went on as the camera started to drift to the left to get away from his lecture.
“Hey! Hey! Get back here,” Colbert ordered the camera. “I work hard, I’m allowed to have hobbies.”
Watch the clip above.