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What Would She Say About Howard Fans?

Me, I’ve never had any strong opinion about the late Steve Irwin, although I agree with him that “Crocs rule!” (While watching the old Tarzan films on TV as a child, I used to pray for a riled-up river dragon to play catch-and-non-release with Johnny Weissmuller, holding him underwater and thereby sparing us Jungle Jim).

So if I mention that militant-enough-to-give-harridans-a-bad-name academic Germaine Greer crashed the wake all of Australia seems to be staging for Irwin to fault him for “massive insensitivity” and “jumping all over crocodiles” like the worst kind of whip-cracking, chair-prodding lion-tamer, it’s only because it affords me an excuse to trot out my favorite Greer-bite. The success of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films and the tendency of the Tolkien source material to top readers’ poll after readers’ poll in the U.K. for Book of the (20th) Century caused her no end of distress, and in 2003 she finally let fly at the LOTR readership as consisting of “spaced-out hippies, environmentalists, free-market libertarians, social conservatives, pacifists, new-age theosophists, sexists and racists the world over.” It is to be hoped that such strange bedfellows have been taking advantage of the opportunity, and the bed, to make many more Tolkien (and even some Howard) fans…

LEO ADDS: My favorite Greer moment: vomiting over “a cesspool of garbage” on Celebrity Big Brother, in the processes metaphorically summing up her formidable cultural influence.