July 3rd, 2003

breaking bad

Defence against the dark arts

A Polish friend of mine once said to me that before the fall of the Iron Curtain, the best readers of Russian and Polish literature were the censors, because they read books with close attention and desire to know their subtext.

In just this way, Michael Bronski argues that Evangelical Christians are good readers of Harry Potter.

The question raised by the evangelical attack on the Harry Potter books is this: Do we dismiss their complaints as yet another example of right-wing craziness, or do we invest the time, the thought, and even the empathy to listen to what they are saying? Obviously, banning the Harry Potter books is absurd and wrong. But the anti-Potter frenzy might prompt us to examine the deeper, more serious reasons why children love these books and the complicated, and very disruptive, precepts on which they are based.

I believe there is good stuff in the Harry Potter books. In particular books 3-5. The Christians respond to this good stuff - they respond emotionally to it. That is how they know they have to ban it.

Furthermore JK Rowling is now clearly playing games back at them, but that's a different subject.

(thanks to pink dormouse for mentioning this article)