July 27, 2005
More talkin’ ’bout Potter.

Hey folks -- sorry for the slight delay regarding the next article! Not only have I been kinda busy and exhausted lately, but I thought I'd leave the Harry Potter feature in the top spot a little longer to ensure that it gets the maximum opening exposure. Should have a new food experiment piece up for you tomorrow, though, so keep an eye out for that.

Regarding the HP piece -- I was pleasantly surprised to return from da big city to find voices of agreement and even something of a discussion taking place in the previous blog entry's comments section! As far as I've been able to discern from the site logs, most of the other opinions folks have had on the article haven't been very kind (though no one's ventured to send me any hate mail yet :(), so the concurrent thoughts and additional insights were greatly appreciated. Everyone had something worthwhile to add, which was pretty cool! Thanks, peeps. 🙂

To respond to Shaun's question, I can't take complete credit for the notion of reading being instrumental as opposed to fundamental, as philosophers have been more/less saying that for hundreds of years. Actually, it was pretty much taken as a given that reading was instrumental until the relatively recent campaign in which the slogan "reading is fundamental" was employed -- which I guess was fairly successful, since it got people thinking that reading is intrinsically valuable. And, admittedly, I grew up thinking the same thing until I got into philosophy and started reevaluating the cliches by which I had been raised. And then, if I ever had any doubt, working at the bookstore proved to me that even voracious readers can not only still manage to be complete morons, but that the books that they read can actually be a significant reason for their idiocy -- as we see with the crazed reactions Harry Potter and similarly zombifying ilk.

One of the more subtle points that I made, though -- and one that took some hardcore (though insubstantial) heat in the forum threads that bashed the article -- was the one concerning Dean Thomas. I do think it's an interesting point, though, as for an author who portrays her characters with such description, for Rowling to simply refer to one character as a "black" boy seems indicative of a slight bias (however unconscious) on her part. Anyway, I'll stop there so as not to delve even deeper into the realm of social commentary (this is supposed to be an entertainment site, after all! -- not that one can't entertain and make a point at the same time, but still), but if anyone's got anything else to say on the subject, whether it's in Rowling's defense or some other aspect of it, feel free to e-mail me. I will add, however, that Rowling's not the only author to exhibit this descriptive bias -- and that it often exerts itself in the reverse in "African American" fiction. But surprisingly -- or not -- erotica is a genre in which physical description is detailed across the board! God help us if smut is our savior.

"While I get the impression that [Wes] is a dipshit mallgoth, I have to say he's right..."

Finally, someone with a more favorable reaction to the article wrote the above quote about me! I think I'll use it as a testimonial or something. 😀

-posted by Wes | 2:19 pm | Comments (0)
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