Ceci est une pipe (2)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Codebreaking, Semiotics

One in an irregular series of posts analyzing and celebrating the pipe’s metaphorical significance in US pop culture.

HiLo Hero J.R.R. Tolkien, whose novels celebrated Hobbit pipe-weed so lavishly that Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell developed a semi-coherent paranoid theory arguing that the Shire’s surfeit of that addictive crop leads to Middle Earth-wide war, was a voracious pipe-smoker. It’s said he favored Capstan Navy Cut or Player’s Navy Cut tobaccos.

J.R.R. Tolkien's drawing of Bag-End, with a pipe-smoking hobbit

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Joshua Glenn is a cultural and brand semiotician, and co-principal of the agency SEMIOVOX LLC. He is editor and publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age sci-fi paperback imprint HILOBOOKS. He is author of (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY (2008) and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY (2011), and editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY (2007) and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (2012). With Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Tony Leone, Josh produced the popular family activities guides UNBORED (2012), UNBORED GAMES (2014), and UNBORED ADVENTURE (2015), not to mention two UNBORED activity kits from MindWare. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons.