Humans Of New York is a cultural phenomenon that proves simply giving a window into the unseen corners of humanity in a city as broad and diverse as New York can foster both deeper understanding of those around us and some of the most cloying, saccharine Facebook comments ever posted. By sharing the simple responses offered by the subjects of photographer Brandon Stanton’s lovely street portraits, millions of Facebook users–and gift-book recipients–have had the opportunity to better recognize our shared humanity and to declare “SOMEONE SHOULD DO A KICKSTARTER FOR THIS GUY” to countless strangers.
In other words, Humans Of New York is a good thing, but it is also a satisfying target for some satire. And that’s expertly delivered by the Facebook group Orcs Of New York, whose creator, filmmaker Harry Aspinwall, made his first post on August 30. The posts on the page deliver both the street-level photographs of the migrant orcs who’ve left Mordor in pursuit of a better life in New York City that we’ve come to expect from Stanton’s project, as well as note-perfect parody of the quotes that accompany those photos. “I was born and raised in the Bronx. I don’t really feel much connection with Mordor,” one opens, while another opines that, ” I didn’t know how I was going to deal with the noise and the stress and the loneliness” that came with the move to the big city, until “I started thinking about how I grew up in Gorgoroth under the flaming eye of Barad-Dur, and if I can get through that I can probably do just about anything.” The depth of Aspinwall’s commitment to both the Humans Of New York tone and aesthetic and his full indulgence of the Tolkien mythology that brings his orcs to life is impressive–even if we’re probably only a few days away from xenophobic bigots commenting “GO BACK TO MORDOR” after every post.