The deep thinkers at Indymedia have come to the conclusion that the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy paints a "racist stereotypical tapestry" that does a disservice to young viewers everywhere.

Lloyd Hart says people of color are all associated with the Dark Lord Sauron in the movie and the elephant-riding mercenaries too closely resemble the cultures of Africa, Persia and East Asia. The Uruk-hai also too closely resemble Native Americans, which is sure to cause "a great deal of cultural and racial alienation."

The fact that King Theoden, a white guy, calls his troops the "great warriors of the West" clinches it in Hart’s eyes.

"Can you imagine how people of skin color, of Persian, Arab and East Asian ethnic background feel when they come out of these films where all the heroes are white and all the 'evil doers' are of dark skin," Hart writes.

Double Standard?

A captain in the San Francisco Police Department is accused of creating a hostile work environment by referencing the race of a black colleague at a holiday party, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

At a party, Capt. Paul Chignell and Inspector John Monroe were described as trading good-natured barbs when the former said, "Johnny, now you're the highest-ranking black guy in the auto detail -- in fact, you're the only black guy. ... We haven't had a black guy in the auto detail since we called you Negroes.''

The remark was prompted by comments from Monroe to the effect that he "made more money than the chief" and "spent all my time f--- over you white boys'' in a previous job.

A complaint was later filed with the department’s civil rights unit about Chignell’s comments and an investigation is now underway.

Monroe’s comments apparently went unnoticed.

Glenview Grumps

Firefighters in a Chicago suburb were told to take down the Christmas decorations inside their firehouse because some residents complained that they were offensive, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Some residents of Glenview said that because the firehouse is a public building, the decorations improperly cross the line between church and state. The decorations were inside but visible from the street.

The firefighters had decorated the outside of the firehouse earlier in the season, but were told to remove those as well.

"We need to serve all our residents and customers, and we had been receiving calls from citizens who were not happy seeing what they perceived to be Christmas or Christian decorations on a particular firehouse," said Janet Spector Bishop, a spokeswoman for the village.

That Iraqi Chap

London’s Sun says bosses at the BBC have told their reporters not to refer to Saddam Hussein as a "dictator" because to do so would compromise its neutrality.

Staff have been informed that they are instead to refer to him as "the deposed former president." The Beeb sent out the instructions to reporters on its Web site. A spokeswoman said it was merely a reminder "of the need to use neutral language."

What Part of 'Shall Make No Law ...' Do They Not Understand?

Lawmakers in Arizona want to pass a law forbidding college professors from spreading comments that are deemed "inflammatory" or "offensive" toward minorities via campus computers, reports the Arizona Republic.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Gallardo said he believes intellectual liberty is important, but that hate isn't protected under the U.S. Constitution. He wants professors that don’t toe the multi-culti line to be dismissed.

Gallardo is irked that Glendale Community College math professor Walter Kehowski had the nerve to call some Latino students racist following a Dia de la Raza celebration in October. Following the event, he sent out a campus-wide e-mail saying that ethnic groups should be assimilated into society and that activists are using ethnic pride as an excuse for separatism.

Great Questions of Our Time

A homeowners association in California removed holiday signs from light posts because they had images and words associated with Hanukkah on them; some association members complained that they were fostering religious messages, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Dos Vientos Ranch East Homeowners Association thought the blue banners featuring a silver menorah and small dreidels would be a nice addition to the annual holiday display. But less than two weeks after they went up, they were replaced by white banners with images of green, red and blue presents on them. Association board member Kevin Corbett said the board was trying to stay away from religion.

"Many holidays have both a religious and a social context and it's the social context that the board feels is appropriate to publicly acknowledge," Corbett said. "The religious component is something that members of the community should celebrate in their own way."

Now, some Jewish residents are irked. Mark Alyn says the remaining banners symbolize Christmas, with their candy canes and red ribbons. "While this isn't blatant anti-Semitism and discrimination, it's intolerable," said Alyn. "Why can't we celebrate the holidays together and appreciate our differences?"

For a daily dose of politically correct shenanigans, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Manfred W. writes:

I am in the US Air Force currently deployed to Southwest Asia. I had the opportunity the other day to go sight-seeing in downtown Doha, Qatar. I saw throughout the day in different places, Christmas decorations! I find it extremely disturbing that Christmas is increasingly becoming taboo in America and yet over here it's a non issue.

Shawn C. in Flushing, Mich., writes:

This country was founded on Christian principles and while other religious groups are free to live here, they shouldn't be able to force the majority to bend to their will. No one has the right to decide that our society is wrong and call us insensitive or exclusive just because his or her beliefs are different than ours. Just as I, for example, do not have the right to move to the Middle East and complain about Islam.

Laura W. writes:

I'm confused about the fuss over using Santa Claus in holiday decoration because it's considered "religious." Anyone who thinks Santa Claus is synonymous with the Christian celebration of Christmas doesn't know much about Christianity. Santa Claus is, more accurately, king of holiday commercialism and has no religious affiliation. I've never sung a hymn about Santa Claus at any church service. As many Christians like to point out, "Jesus is the reason for the season."

Nasser M. writes:

(All this) reminds me of growing up in Iran as a child. As a member of a minority class, a Bahai, with Christian and Jewish ancestry, we stayed away during those yearly Islamic celebrations. It simply wasn't safe. You could get bloody or perhaps lose your life if recognized to be a Jew or a Bahai.

However we could not, nor wanted to, avoid learning the details about Eid, or Ramadan or other Islamic religious activities and holidays. Their beliefs, however primitive, were never offensive. Even though at times it was bizarre watching men knife themselves and beat themselves with chains. It simply raised some questions that our parents answered calmly or sometimes with wit and humor.

Of course it would have been futile to display any of our religious symbolism in public -- or even in private, if a Muslim came to know if it. And no Christian, Jews or Bahais demanded it to be otherwise.

I guess we were happy to know we had each other -- a family that we loved, a community that bore the same belief, and a country that allowed us to prosper. This was Iran before the Shah was toppled.

I guess this is the reverse of what I remember in Iran. Here, a few minority groups wishing and so adamantly and vehemently wanting to do away with any display of what the majority celebrates and holds dear. It makes me wonder what 's in store for us. God help us all.

Lisa M. writes:

It is funny to me to listen to how the "left" in this country has become the very essence of what they hated in the 60's: fascist dictators of public discourse and policy. It just goes to show that the pendulum continues it's course on schedule.

Steve C. writes:

I am a "WASP" stagehand who regularly works at rap shows doing lighting and sound. On more than one occasion, myself and other stagehands have tried to estimate the number of times that the "N" word has been used during a show. Although we never came up with a definitive number, we estimate that, depending upon the artist we saw, the "N" word was used between 12 to 20 times per minute. A show usually lasts at least an hour and a half some times they are an all day event.

What good can possibly come from all of this?

Rick M. in Huntsville, Ala., writes:

Regarding the violation of free speech at Georgetown University: If "grossly offensive and inflammatory" statements are "not protected in any case," what need is there of freedom of speech? If everyone agreed with what your were saying and no one wanted to restrain your speech, then there would be no need for a freedom of speech clause in our Bill of Rights.

New translation: You can have freedom of speech as long as we like what you're saying.

Respond to the Writer