Is Iran using Lord of the Rings to quell protests?

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

As security forces and protesters continue to clash in Iran, the government has begun using propaganda and entertainment in an attempt to quiet the populace, TIME magazine has reported—and it turns out that a Lord of the Rings marathon on Tehran 's Channel Two is part of that plan.

The newsweekly was contacted by a resident of the capital, who asked for anonymity. He or she reported that "Iranian television usually treats its viewers to one or two Hollywood or European movie nights a week. But these are not normal times, so it's been two or three such movies a day. It's part of the push to keep people at home and off the streets, to keep us busy, to get us out of the regime's hair. ... Channel Two is putting on a Lord of the Rings marathon as part of the government's efforts to restore peace."

The writer shared that many viewers are finding a political subtext to Peter Jackson's trilogy:

"I wonder which official picked this film, starting to suspect, even hope, that there is a subversive soul manning the controls at seda va sima, central broadcasting," wrote the anonymous Iranian. "It is way too easy to find political meaning in the film, to draw comparisons to what is happening in real life. There are themes that seem to allude to Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the candidate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims to have defeated: the unwanted quest and the risking of life in pursuit of an unanticipated destiny. Could he be Boromir, the imperfect warrior who is heroic at the end, dying to defend humanity? Didn't Mousavi talk about being ready for martyrdom?"

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