Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oh, I'm Just Wild About Harry!

I feel bad for people, like this letter writer to the Indianapolis Star, who are afraid of the Harry Potter books. People of this mindless ilk must think that all of the rest of us are nincompoops and that we will take every word of the books seriously, as instruction on the way to live on earth.

What sort of person would take the every word of some fiction book seriously as instruction on the way to live on earth?

Of course, I was raised by parents who taught me the difference between what is real and what is make-believe. I learned that lesson. The Harry Potter books - as you might have heard - are make-believe. There are elements both savory and unsavory in the books - it is a story of good versus evil, after all. There are bound to be bits that are less than pleasant. The letter writer, of course, dwells on the unsavory bits and bemoans the fact that the following are missing from the books:

Obedience - such as all those instances when Harry follows Dumbledore’s orders to the letter.

Respect for authority - see above. Also, respect for authority - like all respect - must be earned, not granted arbitrarily. She refers, obviously, to Harry’s lack of respect for both Fudge and Scrimgeour - who do nothing to earn respect. They are painted as sketchy characters, and Harry sees them as such. He does not confer upon either of them any more respect than is justified - though it must be noted that when he learns of Scrimgeour’s death, Harry has a momentary twinge of sorrow. That’s integrity - taking the trouble to re-evaluate your position when new information is offered.

Truth-telling, honesty, pure words, self-control - apparently this letter writer would have all the characters in literature be just as perfect as she believes her make-believe Jesus was. But she’s not railing against all the characters in literature, just against the ones in Harry Potter. Gosh, I wonder why that is.

Avoiding alcohol - this is dumb. Is even the wonkiest teetotaler threatened by the concept of “butterbeer?” Give me a break.

Avoiding tobacco - decrying this without also talking about The Lord Of The Rings is simply disingenuous. But you won’t see these anti-Potter quacks railing against Tolkien. Wonder why? Oh, and the only kid who smoked? Dudley, and it was mentioned once in passing, in the fifth book.

Modeling clean living - uh...witchcraft is make-believe. That sharp pain you’re feeling is perspective stabbing you in the eye. Also, how many people got laid in the Harry Potter books? Exactly one person got knocked up in seven books, people. One. (And to go by her first name, we should be lucky it was only the once, huh? Then we might have had to worry about the abortion argument. Gad, can you even imagine? Accio fetus!)

These are the same people who complain that Michael Moore only tells one side of the story in his “documentaries.” Spare me. There’s nothing in the Harry Potter books to be afraid of, provided that you raise your kids with some measure of what is real and what is not. There is much worse in literature than the Harry Potter books when it comes to these “lessons” that this letter writer mentions - but maybe nobody has told her about Henry Miller and James Joyce and Charles Bukowski and Stephen King and Mario Puzo, and on and on.

Now, if you will excuse me...I’m off to my attic room to read Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. I’m about halfway through my second go-round. I’ll see you in hell. You’re still driving the bus, right Justin?


Aaron said...

It is the people who write these crappy letters that make it so difficult for me to argue and uphold my belief that there is objective Truth in the world. Apparently, anyone can read any thing and take from it whatever they wish.

Like just the other day I heard some crazy man talking about how the pheonix movie and book were some political rant about the cracked up bush administration.

Hope things are going well, Haag

"To be a Christian is to be a hypocrite; it isn't wrong, it's difficult"

Jason L. Maier said...


Justin is driving and I'm riding up front.