Charming Notions: The Neo-Orthanc cult of Saruman

Over at Bruce Charlton’s Notions, the good professor shares some Ork-related humor:

A simple household candle… or is it?

Few have yet noticed the sinister resurgence of those who revere the name of Saruman.

I became aware of the problem some years ago when a shiny black pillar was erected near to my place of work, and I realised it was a coded reference (a ‘dog whistle’ as it were) to the Tower of Orthanc. All easily deniable, of course – indeed the pillar was topped by a signpost – yet the dark sympathies were obvious to the sensitive eye, trained by years of being the unacknowledged victim of microaggressions.

We all know that Saruman was the Worst Person Ever; but to hear these cultists, he was a man ‘ahead of his time’, with ‘some good ideas’. ‘At least he was aiming in the right direction’, they will say – pleading that the man was ‘misunderstood’.

That, at least, is as far as they will go in public; but in private it’s another matter. There is, indeed a covert Neo-Orthanc party; meeting in shady corners of the internet and seedy corners of our universities. Here, in what they imagine to be ‘private’, some of the more extremist (or perhaps just more honest?) will exchange theirĀ realĀ feelings about their hero.

For these fanatics, Saruman’s only ‘fault’ was that he happened to be on the losing side; and was defeated by an unsavoury coalition of tree giants and reactionaries. But so far as his visionary politics goes? Well, that they believe was wholly A Good Thing.

They will cite his ‘advanced’ ideas on destroying the ‘Nordic’ peoples, such as the Rider of Rohan, and replacing them with his mixed Master Race of the Urak Hai – who blended (according to these misguided but dangerous cultists) ‘the best’ qualities of Dunlander Men and Orcs. Hence the symbolism of the severed White Hand and the cloak of ‘many colours’

Although wanting to cleanse the world of militaristic pale males is – obviously! – laudable; eugenics is an absolutely unacceptable method.

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