I’ve wondered why hobbits always seem to be employed in the service sector. You never really hear of hobbit attorneys, hobbit investment bankers, hobbit doctors, hobbit teachers, or hobbit intellectuals. Really, a hobbit’s only apparent purpose is to run around like an asshole and accompany humans and elves on their quests. Which makes them sidekicks. Thus, hobbits are there to provide nothing more than comic relief. But life isn’t just about providing comic relief. Even in the role of servant, one must take some responsibility for one’s actions.
So what was the point of hobbits? Why for example didn’t they get it on with elves and have a half-elf, half-hobbit love child from time to time? Hell, why didn’t they have any sexual desires? I presume that hobbits were small yet integral in some way to Middle Earth’s economy, there to befriend non-hobbits like Aragorn and Gandalf and to remain more or less subservient the entire time, never expressing a singular self-interest. Thus, I have developed the theory that hobbits were the Burger King employees and janitors of Middle Earth, even though they seemed to possess a good deal of free time. Perhaps they didn’t need a service sector because nobody was ordering frappuccinos and everyone had settled upon drinking standard mead and blowing smoke rings.
But let us consider vocation: When wandering outside of the Shire, hobbits are not unlike antebellum slaves. Unchained, to be sure, but still the token inferiors. Even when the hobbits hit Bree in Fellowship of the Ring, they were largely ancillary figures, there to observe rather than participate. It was almost as if all the other characters put up with them because they were cute and subservient, as opposed to the intellectual and cultural equal to the men and elves. Why, for example, were there separate rooms for hobbits and men at the Inn of the Prancing Pony? Even accounting for the fact that hobbits are smaller, why not equip the rooms to serve both hobbits and men? Wouldn’t it be more cost effective, particularly at a highly frequented inn with limited vacancies, simply to have a few small roll-away beds for hobbits for the larger rooms? That such an expense would be actively carried out by the Inn of the Prancing Pony suggests a more ominous Jim Crow-like treatment between hobbits and everyone else. While hobbits do not have dark skin, they have hairy feet, as if to imply that they are a Morlock-like underground savage that has been skillfully domesticated to serve the master race of warriors and wizards.
If you ask me, Tolkien had Nietzsche very much on the brain.
This is probably why I don’t care much for Tolkien.
(Thanks to Tao Lin for inspiring these thoughts.)
© 2007, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.