April 23, 2009


This week at Goat Rope, El Cabrero is fessing up to being a Tolkien dork. It is my opinion that, far from being just escapist fantasy, The Lord of the Rings has some pretty practical applications for those struggling for social justice.

Here's one for today. In contrast to epics like the Iliad or the Aeneid, in which the big dogs get most of the airspace, with Tolkien a decisive role is played by the (literally) little people or hobbits.

These are often dismissively referred to in the books as "halfings" and often are not considered worthy of serious attention by the apparently more significant (i.e. bigger and louder) characters. But without them, all would have been lost.

It's yet another riff on the ancient theme in myths, folklore and religion that, as the psalm put it, the stone that the builders refused has become the cornerstone.

And it's a good reminder that one doesn't have to be a politician or the head of some major organization to make a difference. Ordinary people at the grassroots level can have far more power and influence than anyone expects (including themselves).

THE COLOR OF JOBLESSNESS. Unemployment is hitting college-educated African Americans much harder than others with similar levels of educational attainment.

GREEN BOTH WAYS. Investing in green jobs pays of in more ways than one, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

MOVING MOUNTAINS. Here's a Newsweek interview with an award-winning anti-mountaintop removal activist.



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