Pop Culture

All Hail The German Mud Wizard!

Gandalf in Ralph Bakshi's animated iteration of the Lord of the Rings.

Recently, climate activists have occupied the village of Lützerath, Germany, where they’re protesting the expansion of a local coal mine. The villagers were forced to relocate in order to make way for “peaceable” mining, and once the activists arrived for the occupation, the riot police showed up.

As an American, I was honestly bracing myself for the worst regarding this news. What I truly could have never anticipated was the arrival of the esteemed Mud Wizard:

Although my job requires me to have the words to describe various things, this is a scenario in which I truly have no words. I am merely catatonic, on my knees, prostrating myself before the awe-inspiring presence of his holiness, “Some Kind of Mud Wizard.”

Note the panache with which he consistently picks up the cops’ clipboards, unhelpfully picking them up and dropping them over and over again. The way he dances around the mud as only the most skilled elementalist could. How the police flop around like fish, for their hubris has blinded them to the proper way of traversing the muddy domain of his Holiness.

Now, as much as I love this, I don’t want to diminish what’s going on at the protest. We live in a day and age when there’s no reasonable excuse for mining coal unless you’re rich and trying to get richer. There are plenty of other energy alternatives, most of which do the job much better than coal. It’s just that coal is still, somehow, a lucrative business venture—at the expense of everyone who actually has to touch and live around the mining process.

On top of this, the invitation of riot police inevitably means some kind of violence, and that’s exactly what happened: undue violence for a largely peaceful protest. Yes, the protesters gave it right back to the police, but they are civilians and incapable of causing the kind of harm that riot police can inflict.

This may have you wondering, What, then, is the point of protesting? The point is largely optics; bringing the protested issue to the frontline of the news in the hopes that someone may suddenly grow a spine and halt the ceaseless grind of capital. And in this case, our hero of the day is his immaculateness, Der Lehmzaubaber. What I find incredible is that this is seemingly just par for the course for many Germans, who have a storied history of fighting back against The Man. We may be seeing one Mud Wizard, but there is really just an entire coalition of them out there doing the lord’s work. Love to see it.

In any case, I wish the protesters the best of luck and I hope that they stay safe from any lasting harm. Then again, who needs luck when you have that beautiful man on your side?

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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