Cultural critic Elon Musk has spoken, and he’s not a fan of Prime Video’s Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power. Given what Musk (a 51-year-old billionaire with nine young children) has thus far deemed cool and uncool, does his negative review make you more or less likely to tune in to the show?
Perhaps you need some specifics about Musk’s qualms before you come down on one side or the other. On Sunday, Musk tweeted that “Tolkien is turning in his grave,” though he didn’t elaborate as to what exactly the venerated author would have been so bothered about. Instead, he added, “Almost every male character so far is a coward, a jerk or both. Only Galadriel is brave, smart and nice.” (Whether or not that assessment is true, would that make Rings Of Power bad? Sometimes men are cowards, jerks, or both. It’s called representation in media.)
Musk didn’t come right out and say it this time around, but it’s clear he’s joined the Internet bandwagon that argues the new LOTR is too “woke.” The SpaceX founder previously opined that “The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” so it stands to reason that’s what he’s getting at here. Woke, in this and most other instances, is code for “not white as the driven snow” and “includes a powerful female character.” Would Tolkien really turn in his grave over a television show depicting his powerful female character as powerful? And if he did, would his opinion on the matter be worth respecting?
There’s another reason Musk may be broadcasting his Rings Of Power opinions, and that’s simply to take another dig at his rival, Jeff Bezos. The two titans of industry have taken plenty of petty swipes at each other on social media and beyond over the years. Much as it might seem inconsequential to us mere mortals, the world’s two richest men seem very concerned about which one’s richer and who’s getting to Mars first and if one is experiencing success in the entertainment industry while the other is trying to dig themselves out of a Twitter hole.
For what it’s worth, Musk also offered his non-Prime Video LOTR thoughts, too: “Peter Jackson did excellent work with Lord of the Rings,” he replied to one user. “The Hobbit was stretched too long for a short book.” Many a nerd is surely resting easy now that their overlord has made his opinion known.