You'll have to excuse this salacious slice of commentary. The subject matter requires ribaldry.
There's a rock-n-roll morning show in my little corner of the world that is hosted by two male DJs and a female sidekick. The DJs have been in the same time slot on the same station for about fifteen years.
After returning to my hometown a few years back, I listened to them, just as I had when home from college during the summers.
But then they started grating on me. Everything carried a sexual connotation.
Comedian on the show? “Do you like holding your mike?” Ha ha ha. Home improvement specialist on as a guest? “You must have a pretty good hammer.” Chuckle. Talking about the annual hot-air balloon race in a neighboring city? “We like big balloons.” Female model representing a beer manufacturer on the show? “I bet people really like your kegs.”
The dog-tired sexual perception hit me one day when the female sidekick made a reference to a bowl, and one of the guys said, “You have a pretty nice bowl, if you know what I mean.”
I was lost. I thought I had heard every sexual reference, but I could just only, with too much imagination, begin to fathom what they meant. After that it dawned on me that no one could say anything around these guys without them analogizing it to a body part. And furthermore, usually the analogies made sense. Unlike the bowl comment, most of the analogies were immediately recognizable (hammer, mike, balloons).
While reading material about Tolkien during the cinema craze these last three years, I discovered that Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings suffered a lot of criticism. It was called Fascist, imperialist, childish.
Frodo sexual? Gandalf? The chaste love between Aragorn and Arwen somehow lascivious?
Yes, according to some feminists and Freudians. Joseph Pearce in Tolkien: Man and Myth, provides this quote from one female critic, who interprets Frodo's and Sam's encounter with the great spider Shelob in sexual terms:
Shelob's lair, reached by entering a hole and journeying along tunnels, may also be seen to represent the female sexual orifice. At the entrance, Frodo and Sam have to force themselves through the bushy, clutching growths (the pubic hair) . . . Frodo, with the obvious phallic symbolism of the sword, pierces the web . . . [Galadriel's phial] also represents a phallus more potent than their swords. . . Sam's battle with Shelob . . . represents a violent sexual struggle between man and woman. [After Sam defeats her by repeatedly stabbing her with his small sword], Shelob then crawls away in agony as Sam in a final gesture holds up the phial, once more asserting male supremacy, brandishing the phallus, the male symbol of power. . .
The lair, the spider, the sword, the phial. It's all sexual, according to that critic.
The Real Reason for Sex Perception
It's sometimes contended that feminists and Freudians are merely obsessed with sex. But the real implication of this didn't hit me until I read this woman's commentary on Tolkien and juxtaposed it with my puerile disc jockeys.
I don't think the DJs are closet feminists and Freudians. They're just juveniles having fun and entertaining an audience of teenagers and college kids. The sexual perception is clever to such immature and shapeless minds.
I know this from experience. I went through a stage in which everything humorous was siphoned through a sexual framework. It was in college. In a frat house where twenty-two year olds with no military or work experience were the leaders, where the most-illuminating information was found on MTV, and where our biggest problem was the college dean prying into our keg parties.
I think I can be forgiven for thinking such things were clever because I was just a kid. But to my shame, I kept that penchant for sexual references for a long time.
It was so easy. I wanted to make friends laugh, and the sexual perception route was effortless. Anyone who has half-a-brain and is willing to wallow in dirty trenches can do it. And the material is always at hand, as those two DJs demonstrated to me.
The same thing goes for the feminist's and Freudian's reference to the phallus and vagina. As evidenced by the critic who compared the hobbit Sam Gamgee to a predatory penis, such material is always at hand, and anyone can do it: you just need half-a-brain and a willingness to wallow in dirty trenches.