On his web site, aclaimed British actor and prominent gay rights activist Ian McKellen, who of course portrays the cinematic Gandalf, answers email questions from fans. But one correspondent goes after McKellen for comments quoted on a right-wing Christian web site. This particular jackass writes:
Tolkien was a Catholic and deemed a Papist by some.
Uh huh. “Papist” means the same thing as “Catholic” — except it’s a derogatory term invented during The Reformation, to remind people that Catholics were supposedly beholden to a foreign power. Anyway…
Although I love your acting and much more Tolkien’s work – and for his respect and Catholic sentiments – I will not be watching the hobbit in 2011 clearly due to your comments against Catholicism – why don’t you bash Islam instead – afraid of a fatwa ?
What did McKellen say that so upset this fellow? Let’s check the original gaybashing site, which uses cool made-up words like “homosexualist”:
McKellan [sic], the actor who has used his fame, derived in part from his role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films, to promote the homosexualist cause, said in a speech at a dinner for Stonewall, “From the pulpit, homophobia is preached by some arrogant religious leaders who think their beliefs are superior to our inborn and, some would say, God-given nature.”
I am not one of those who thinks Frodo and Sam are lovers but it is a relevant matter of fact that Gandalf recruits no women to the Fellowship of the Ring and that whatever his sexuality or the teachings of his religion, Tolkien certainly relished the all-male society of Oxford where he worked and much of the Middle Earth he invented. Please don’t deny yourself the work of Guillermo del Toro on The Hobbit. You could always just shut your eyes whenever Gandalf appeared.