Hey, you want to have some blood pressure spikes? I did. Here. Read this.
Follows is my response. Understand that it is not an attack on Catholicism. I am Catholic. I am proud of it. Nevertheless, it is something you lot probably didn't know about me, and the reason I am not forthcoming to mention it...is because of articles like above.
He is frankly a very poor writer indeed. Or a fine writer, and a poor thinker. That was a lazy, knee-jerk article without any particular purpose or use, just mindless puppeteering. Harry Potter is evil! Harry Potter kills Gods!
Ladies and gentlemen, if Harry Potter can kill God, then he's been croaked a long time now. By the same system of argument that he uses in this article, rock 'n' roll killed God (starting with that evil Elvis fellow) and so did the Roman Empire, and so did Leonardo Da Vinci, and for that matter most of the rest of the world, which has continued to contain quite a lot of things unrelated to God.
The article is cheap and stupid, when it comes to it. He has not read the books, he has not thought about the books, he has not treated the books as works of fiction, on the line of Stephen King or Gene Wolfe or Neil Gaiman, not on the line of the Bible (portions of which, certainly, are also fiction? Unless we're following a Protestant belief that Every Biblical Word Is True and Verbatim).
The article is dangerous, in that he takes a nearly militant stand against The Evilness of Harry Potter. My God, it's that same sort of "if it's not for the Bible and God, then it's AGAINST the Bible and God!" attitude which can be further translated to "Those stupid Muslims are all terrorists," and just a bit further to "Kill them all, God will know his own." It's a black and white worldview, a "with us or against us," decision that is dangerous and stupid and lazy. You have no business writing an article of any sort, about anything -- be it Harry Potter, world politics, the Minnesota Twins, or wormholes -- if you have decided that the world is thus, and everything which does just jive precisely with you is therefore evil, or bad.
Let's look at the good things Harry Potter does, all of which he glosses in a happy attempt at waving torches and pitchforks.
1) Harry Potter has brought quite a lot of kids back into an interest in reading. When they finish a Harry Potter book -- which they read fast and easy, something that is sweet -- then they have a year or two to wait until the next one. Or, now, they have no more at all. And therefore they seek out something else to read. I spend a lot of happy time in my used bookstore -- at last five or six times a week, if not more -- with a beleagured mom and a hyper kid, looking for other books they've liked. I'm afraid I've turned them on to such godless books as Isaac Asimov, the Lord of the Rings (we'll come back to LotR) and other interesting books like A Series of Unfortunate Events.
2) Harry Potter has several messages beyond death. From the get-go, we learn that you should rely on your friends. That's a good message. We learn that Good is Good and Bad is Bad, and you should always fight for Good, you should always fight for what's right. Even when the odds are stacked against you, even when it's hard and painful and the whole world thinks you're crazy, you should fight for good. This is a message we find in great literature all across the board. Isn't that one of the key messages of Babylon 5? This far, and no further. "You can say No I Won't one more time, and they can say Yes You Will. But as long as you don't give in...you've beaten them." This is the message of Harry Potter, the message of Babylon 5, the message of the Lord of the Rings, Superman, every comic book ever written, and...oh. The Bible.
3) The Harry Potter books are full of references to fairy tales and mythology, to the point where I happily helped a child find a book on the mythological and historical references of the Phoenix bird. This is wonderful. If we have all manner of scientists in the world because of Star Trek (I'll come back to that too), then I am content to think we will have all manner of historians and anthropologists because of Harry Potter.
Articles like this don't think of any of that. The author, who I will unhesitantly refer to as a fool, picks a small bad point of view and, when there is the potential for it not to exist (as it fails to here) then he makes it up. What does Frodo say about Sauron? He cannot create, only pervert? This is true of articles like this.
And speaking of the Lord of the Rings. God is not visibly, actively, in this moment present in the Lord of the Rings, therefore they are killing God by teaching us that this is a World Of Men. This is true of the Lord of the Rings books, as well. Only if you go further into The Silmarillion and the Lost Tales do you find out about Middle-Earth's God and Angels. The Lord of the Rings are easily so evil as Harry Potter -- full of wizards!!! -- and for that matter, so are the Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson. And yet we do not see articles such as this appearing which accuse the Lord of the Rings of destroying God and killing young minds and leading them down a path of Satanism (A claim that baffles me, in that Satan has failed to even be mentioned once in Harry Potter, for how often they are is bandied about together).
Also, I mentioned Star Trek. Where all the other titles I have mentioned are just Not Mentioning God, Star Trek is anti-religion. It always has been, of course. And yet Star Trek has existed for decades now, for thousands of TV episodes and eleven movies, coming soon. So where are the rampant articles declaring Star Trek a menacing evil to religion which will destroy God and bring about the end of a hallowed view of the universe? There aren't any. Not particularly.
The reason for this is simple. It is fashionable, at the moment, to attack Harry Potter books. What better a "me too" article could you write than a "Harry Potter is Evil And Bad And Stuff," article? What an easy thing to find a home for. It's like writing a lazy article that says "Those Muslim Terrorists Sure Are Bad Aren't They?" I bet you could find a home for it. But it's lazy, it's following a crowd that is, upon closer inspection, made up of mostly non-literate lemmings who are getting ever closer to a cliff.
I find, in my little bookstore, that the people who scoff at Harry Potter...usually have never read anything beyond Dr. Phil self help books, Sylvia Browne books on Finding Angels For Real This Time In Your Life, and occasional romance novels called things like Her Thunderous Heart.
Does that give them the right to judge? No. It won't stop them, but they have no right. They are Pharisees paying a crowd to shout "crucify him." They are knee-jerk fools with no thought beyond the popular conceit.
Does having a wider reading base give someone a right to judge? No. No. No. Who are you, or me, or anyone to decide if a book is good or bad? This is where censorship has come from, one of the greatest unnoticed evils of our lifetimes. I personally have a hearty loathing of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code style tripe, but would I prevent someone from reading it? No. Would I declare it evil terrorist propaganda? No. I have not the right. I have an opinion. Nothing more.
Articles about the evil of Harry Potter consign the author to the same bin of worthless fools as people who declare that Elvis will destroy the morality of America, television brings lawlessness and godlessness into the home, video killed the radio star, and so on.
I have this nagging suspicion that God doesn't care if we read or don't read Harry Potter, if we do or don't take back Jerusalem, if we kill the Muslims, or if we "kill them all, and let God sort them out."
This article makes it frankly embarrassing to be Catholic. Fortunately, there's more to a good religion than fools with pitchforks and stupid opinions.
Fortunately, there's more to life than that too.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Hey, you want to have some blood pressure spikes? I did. Here. Read this.
Posted by Pete at 8:47 AM