Viggo News

Viggo News

Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Print View Link to this newsitem

One Does Not Simply Use Aragorn for Spanish Far-Right Propaganda

Source: Vice News

From Vice News.


It wasn’t so long ago that Benito Mussolini’s granddaughter was squaring off with actor Jim Carrey over his sketches of her dead, fascist grandpa. Now, it’s Viggo Mortensen's turn

Image Richard Shotwell/Invision.
© AP.
The next installment of Hollywood Actors Feud With Far-Right European Politicians has begun.

It wasn't so long ago that Benito Mussolini's granddaughter was squaring off with actor Jim Carrey over his sketches of her dead, fascist grandpa. Now, it's Viggo Mortensen's turn. He's famous for playing Aragorn in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy — and apparently now the platform of Spain's nationalist Vox party.

Last week, Vox tweeted an image of Aragorn with the Spanish flag and the party's emblem on his cloak. He was standing with his sword drawn before a horde of the party's enemies: leftist, LGBTQ, and feminist groups. The tweet was captioned with the text: "Let the battle begin! #ForSpain."

Vox's platform is nationalist and gives a special place of pride to the Spanish flag. Its leaders vow to essentially "make Spain great again" — and want to abolish laws on gender violence and repeatedly wage other attacks on women's and LGBTQ rights.

Mortensen, who lives with his wife in Madrid, was not pleased with his most iconic character being used for far-right propaganda purposes. He was perhaps even angrier than Aragorn was when Boromir died — so mad, in fact, that he drew a weapon mightier than the sword.

"One must be quite ignorant to think that the use of Aragorn's character in the film trilogy 'The Lord of the Rings' to promote the electoral campaign of a xenophobic right-wing party like Vox would be a good idea," Mortensen wrote in a Tuesday letter to the Spanish newspaper El PaĆ­s.

He continued: "It is even more ridiculous to use the character of Aragorn, a polyglot statesman who advocates knowledge and inclusion of the various races, customs, and languages of Middle-earth, to legitimize an anti-immigrant, anti-feminist and Islamophobic political group. I would laugh at this clumsiness, but Vox has entered the Congress with 24 seats. It is not a joke, and we must be attentive and proactive, as is Aragorn in the Tolkien saga."

Mortensen is correct: Vox saw a decent political surge in Spain's election. In 2016, the party gathered just 0.2% of the vote. In the last election, that jumped to 10.3%. Before then, Spain had, in a relative sense, avoided the resurgence of far-right mainstream politics seen in other parts of Europe.

Social scientists said that's because the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco is still fresh in Spaniards' minds.

© Vice News. Images © AP.

Print View Link to this newsitem



Our thanks to Colette Hera for the heads up.


Seating first-come, first-served

The BAFTAS Nominees Party - VIP Arrivals
The BAFTAS Nominees Party - VIP Arrivals
Image Dave J Hogan.
© Getty.
September 17, 2018
New York City
07.30pm - 09.00pm

Voices of a People's History of the United States brings to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who built the movements that made the United States what it is today, ending slavery and Jim Crow, protesting war and the genocide of Native Americans, creating unions and the eight hour work day, advancing women's rights and LGBTQ liberation, and struggling to right wrongs of the day.

Join us on September 17, Constitution Day, at this special free event in the Great Hall at Cooper Union featuring live readings and music in a celebration of resistance and radical struggle. By giving public expression to rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past—and present—VOICES seeks to educate and inspire a new generation working for social justice.

Viggo Mortensen
Allison Moorer
Brian Jones
Aasif Mandvi
Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby
Susan Pourfar
Ty Jones
Staceyann Chin
Jessica Pimentel
Laura Gomez
And more special guests to be announced.

Registration required, but seating is first-come, first-served. This event is cosponsored by The Cooper Union

The Great Hall is located in The Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues
The Great Hall is wheelchair accessible. Assisted listening devices are also available upon request.

© Images © Getty.

Print View Link to this newsitem

Viggo Mortensen urges Americans to look to history to understand current political climate

Source: CBS News.
Found By: Lindi

Thanks to Lindi for the find from CBS.


Viggo Mortensen believes in the importance of understanding our past. On the 55th anniversary of the March on Washington, the actor explains to CBS News why he believes the voices of people in American history can inspire us today.

Oscar Red Carpet 2017
Oscar Red Carpet 2017
Image Frazer Harrison.
© Getty.
by Andrea Park

Mortensen is reading passages from Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States" at SummerStage in New York's Central Park, alongside other notable performers, including Uzo Aduba, Marisa Tomei, Rosanne Cash, Hong Chau, Staceyann Chin and more, as part of a free show called "Voices of a People's History." Mortensen says he has been participating in various "Voices of a People's History" shows since the early 2000s.

The actor says of Zinn's work, "It's maybe as important as ever right now, when there seems to be a lot of division socially and politically in the country and an ideological hardening in terms of binary choice — one extreme or another. … I think it's always important in any democracy, anywhere, that voices of dissent, voices of opposition or at least voices that question the status quo and authority be heard."

Mortensen points out that some of the selections in the book are by people who fought successfully for freedom from slavery and the right to vote.

"They were up against a lot of harder things than we are now," he says. "It seems to me like it's a pretty divisive time and we need good reminders that even when things seemed to be stalled and there doesn't seem to be much farther communication, what these people communicated can maybe help us open that logjam we seem to find ourselves in now."

Mortensen, who frequently posts readings and quotes on his publishing website, plans to read a selection by Zinn and also one by friar Bartolome de las Casas, who documented Spanish mistreatment of indigenous people in the New World in the 16th century.

Mortensen says that people should look back to the March on Washington to appreciate the gains the country made during that time, and be careful not to lose them.

"I don't think we ever had a president who fomented as much division and ideological rigidity and conflict, who fanned the flames," he says. "There's a lot happening now that threatens the gains made by people represented in the book. That's why it's always good to hear these voices to read them and keep them in mind today. One, not to give up hope if you're disappointed about, two, if you're not informed about the history of the U.S. and what really has happened over the centuries leading up to now and why things are the way they are right now — why we have certain rights and certain laws in place — it has a lot to do with these people. They were hard-fought gains and things that are much more easily lost than gained. … Everything that's been gained through legislation, through people's rights, animal rights, environmental rights, is under siege at the moment."

He continues, "Life is not just about having stuff. Making money on Wall Street — that does not excuse the multitude of injustices happening. We can go backwards; we can take a lot of steps backwards if we're not careful and don't keep history in mind."

The actor says he is hopeful for a big turnout during the November midterm elections, but he also wants to see more grassroots activism.

Mortensen says the performers at SummerStage Tuesday night won't be going off script to slam President Donald Trump; the point is not to attack, but for audience members or readers to judge for themselves.

"What's great about these voices is they speak for themselves," he explains. "Whether they're about activists against the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 or whether they're from las Casas talking about the horrible treatment of the indigenous population when Europeans first came to colonize on these shores, no extra commentary is needed. You can connect those dots for yourself, and connect them to the president as you like."

Mortensen, who is also a poet, says the political climate occasionally seeps into his own writing as well.

"I don't live in a vacuum," he says. "The weather — physical and political — at any time when I'm writing affects me like it does most writers, I think."
His next film project is alongside Mahershala Ali in "Green Book." In it, he plays the driver for a black pianist in 1962. The actor says he doesn't intentionally seek out subversive films — in his last film, "Captain Fantastic," he portrays an anarchist father raising his children in the wilderness — but he does say that he looks for great storytelling.

"I wasn't looking for something political, but often, really great stories can't help but be connected to what's happening in the world," he says. "'Green Book' takes place in 1962, the year before the March on Washington, but there are clear resonances to what's happening now, to racial tensions, to social tensions and also class differences."

Mortensen says he thinks of "Green Book" as timely, even though it is set more than 50 years ago, and hopes viewers will learn more about civil rights from the film.

"Voices of a People's History" takes place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in Central Park. Doors open at 6 p.m.

© CBS. Images © Getty.

Display options:
Order by:        
Jump to page:
RSS feed for this page
Last edited: 5 July 2020 14:24:54