ROME — Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right leader who is likely to be the next prime minister of Italy, used to dress up as a hobbit and attended “Camp Hobbit” a gathering of hard-right youth.
As a youth activist in the post-Fascist Italian Social Movement, she and her fellowship of militants, with nicknames like Frodo and Hobbit, revered “The Lord of the Rings” and other works by the British writer J.R.R. Tolkien. They visited schools in character. They gathered at the “sounding of the horn of Boromir” for cultural chats. She attended “Hobbit Camp” and sang along with the extremist folk band Compagnia dell’Anello, or Fellowship of the Ring.
All of that might seem some youthful infatuation with a work usually associated with fantasy-fiction and big-budget epics rather than political militancy. But in Italy, “The Lord of the Rings” has for a half-century been a central pillar upon which descendants of post-Fascism reconstructed a hard-right identity, looking to a traditionalist mythic age for symbols, heroes and creation myths free of Fascist taboos.
Worth reading the whole article. Incidentally, the article suggests that,
Ms. Meloni …. said she had learned from dwarves and elves and hobbits the “value of specificity” with “each indispensable for the fact of being particular.” She extrapolated that as a lesson about protecting Europe’s sovereign nations and unique identities.
Given the history, I expected her to say it sounded like (20th Century Italian Fascist) corporatism. But, no, it’s just dressing up 21st Century nationalism and bigotry.
Putin dies and ends up in hell. After a few years, the devil calls him in and tells him that he is being paroled back to Moscow for good behavior. Putin arrives in Moscow and goes to his favorite bar and orders a small pitcher of vodka. He starts talking to the bartender. “I’ve been away for a long time, Tovarisch, and I have been out of touch. Do we still hold Crimea?” “Yes,” the bartender replies. “How about the Donbas?” “That, too,” says the bartender. Putin is hesitant to ask, but he jumps in the deep end, “Do we have Kyiv?” “Yes, we have Kyiv.” “That’s wonderful!” says Putin and pulls out his money to pay for his drink. “What’s that?” asks the bartender. “Ten rubles,” says Putin, “eight for the drink and two for you.” “Rubles? We haven’t used rubles for years. The price is ten Euros.”
If the map in the right column is to be believed, I have eight recent Russian readers (representing under 0.2% of the total recent audience). As I understand Twitter is blocked in Russia, I’ve taken the liberty of hosting a copy of a video originally posted by this Tweet (crediting @ZelenskyyUa) [Warning: graphic scenes]: