Thursday, July 14, 2005

'Evil' Harry Potter day cancelled

Ok, as much as I like to bash Harry Potter and the overblown Harry Potter Hype Machine, this is just ridiculous. This school tries to do something fun to encourage its students to read, and parents get upset because they may be led into "areas of evil". Are you kidding me? Do people not understand the concept of fiction anymore? It's pretty simple, it means it's not real. And anyway, what is this evil? I'm not too up on the story, but I thought Harry Potter was a good guy. But if they're just complaining that magic itself is somehow evil, well, then that's just completely insane. I mean, maybe I could see how you could believe any magic was evil...if it was real. But since it's not, I don't really see where it would be an issue.

Let's see, right now I'm reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but surprisingly, it hasn't made me either believe that there is such a restaurant or want to hitchhike around the galaxy or believe that there are robots that suffer from chronic depression. Because, much like Harry Potter, it's fiction. And if you're kids are too stupid to understand that, then frankly, they should be going to some kind of special school.

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Paul the Spud said...

My cousin doesn't allow her sons to read HP for this very reason. "Witchcraft is evil." She's beyond hope.

The sad thing is, this is something her kids *want* to read, but she won't let them. Now, they don't read anything. Not to mention how out of it they seem to the other kids at school.

Last Christmas I asked her why she allows her boys to watch "The Wizard of Oz," which also has a good witch, and not allow them to read HP. She didn't like that question too much.

Robert Bayn said...

i love the harry potter movie's and books.

Ol Cranky said...

I read the chronicles of narnia as a child and loved them, I also loved the wizard of oz growing up, but then I turned out staying Jewish (despite some hard core proselytizing and attempts at converting me to Christianity). Maybe that's what they're afraid of. If we see an upsurge in the Jewish population in 20 years, we'll know it was JK Rowling's doing.

Chris Howard said...

Paul, that's exactly the argument that exposes the hypocrisy. There are unlimited examples. Do they let their kids watch Disney movies like Cinderella, Snow White etc...? What about Casper the friendly ghost and Wendy? I think the fundamentalists were secretly pissed off that Harry Potter outsold the Left Behind books.

John Howard said...

Left Behind, now there's a great series...

But seriously, if The Rapture ever actually came, my theory is we wouldn't even know about it, since so few people would actually get taken. We'd have a slight upsurge in the number of missing people, but nothing like in that ridiculous book.

maurinsky said...

Monkey's (my 8 year old daughter) best friend is not only not allowed to read or watch any Harry Potter, she isn't allowed to go trick or treating because it's satanic.

Loki gave Jordan's mom an excruciatingly detailed history of Halloween and its Catholic roots, but she wasn't buying it.

John Howard said...

I don't know what the origins of Halloween are. But people need to use some common sense. The only thing Halloween is about these days is putting on a costume and getting free candy. Unless there's something satanic about that, then I don't understand the objection.

The Disgruntled Chemist said...

"Common sense" is an even bigger oxymoron than "jumbo shrimp", or "intelligent current President". If good sense were even somewhat common, stupid fucking stories like this would never exist.

Although I guess in that case, this blog wouldn't be nearly as entertaining.

John Howard said...

Yeah, good point Chemist. I should be thanking these idiots.

Christiana said...

As a Christian, I've certainly come across a number of anti-Potter folks. My own take, I think REAL sorcery etc. IS dangerous, or at least potentially so, but there's a big difference between the real stuff and a story like Harry Potter.

If I had kids, I'd let them read it, but I'd have a serious discussion with them first, (if I hadn't already,) about the differences between the story and real life. As I feel confident in distinguishing between the two myself, I've read all of the books so far and am looking forward to the next one.

The argument against things like Harry Potter is that it puts a happy face on something that's actually dangerous. Which could lead kids down roads that might do them harm. I don't personally feel that to be very likely, certainly not for most kids, so I disagree with the anti-Potter crowd.

That said, they are entitled to their opinion, and they are free to give voice to it. If a public school was having a big party for the kids where they were all being recruited by the GOP and told that Democrats are evil, you'd probably be upset, right?

So while I don't think we should go completely down the road of political correctness and try to never offend anyone, if enough of the parents were upset about a Harry Potter day, then the school shouldn't have it.

Encouraging kids to read is one thing, but having a big themed party about one specific series that some people find offensive is something else.

John Howard said...

I think people look for too many things to be offended by. The bottom line for me is that the school was trying to encourage kids to read, which in my opinion is one of the best ways for them to learn, which is the school's job, so I think complaining about that is a little silly.

If the parents don;t like it, they should do what you suggest, talk to their kids about it and tell them why. You can't shield kids from everything you don't like. If it's something that could hurt them, I can see the objection, but this is harmless.

Oh, and "REAL sorcery"? I hope you're kidding. If not, then maybe you could clarify exactly what you mean.

Christiana said...

I think people look for too many things to be offended by.

I would agree with that, but it doesn't really change my point.

The bottom line for me is that the school was trying to encourage kids to read,

If the school had been having a "Reading Festival" that discussed all kinds of books and encouraged kids to dress up as their favorite book character, I doubt the parents would have had a problem. It was the emphasis on this one particular series, essentially an endorsement on the part of the school, that the parents objected to.

If it's something that could hurt them, I can see the objection, but this is harmless.

Harmless according to you. I happen to agree in this case, but there are a lot of people who don't. The people responsible for making the final decision, (The school administrators) shouldn't just ignore the opinions of a significant portion of the parents, should they?

Oh, and "REAL sorcery"? I hope you're kidding. If not, then maybe you could clarify exactly what you mean.

Well, not kidding exactly, though perhaps a clarification is in order. I'm not sure that I believe people can really do magic spells and curses etc, but I do believe that there are people who think they can. And even more others who try to do them.

The Bible is pretty clear about people trying to do magic outside of God. The point is that, if the "power" isn't coming from God, then it's not going to be coming from a good source, regardless of the user's intent.

That may seem beside the point, since I've already said I'm not convinced that any such "power" actually exists. I'm not terribly concerned that some kids using a Ouiji board are going to inadvertently get possessed by the devil or something. But the point is not whether or not this sorcery is real. The point is that even the attempt goes against God.

If a person tries to summon spirit forces or whatever to turn someone into a frog, that's sinful regardless of whether or not they have any actual chance of being successful.

Furthermore, if a child, intrigued by HP, decides to start trying to to real spells in real life, that could lead them down some paths that they would be better off not traveling, in my opinion. Not because they'll accidentally summon a demon or something, but because that sort of magic ideology isn't good for them.

The question all comes down to whether or not the child can effectively tell the difference between reality and fiction. My take is that MOST kids old enough to read HP can tell the difference, and will therefore not suffer negative effects of any kind. That said, SOME kids might have a problem. That should be up to the parents to decide.

Of course, all of this is merely my opinion.

Robert Bayn said...

if the rapture happens, people will just say aliens came and took them, and if that means no more fallwell and robertson, whats taken god so long!

Eryn said...

ah, this answers my other comment. :)

Eryn said...

Oh, and for the record, Halloween is actually a um... modern variation of an ancient pagan celebration of the ending of summer.
Samhain (Irish samhain, Scots Gaelic samhuinn, pronounced [sāvīn]) is the word for November in the Gaelic. The same word was used for the first month of the ancient Celtic calendar, and in particular the first three nights of this month, the festival marking the beginning of the winter season. Elements of the festival are continued in the traditions of All Souls Day and Halloween.

Robert Bayn said...

Alot of holidays come from Peaganism, christmas is one that does too, but don't tell a bible thumper

Eryn said...

I believe they did that basically because, the people (who were mostly "pagans" once upon a time) were going to celebrate the seasons anyway, so when they were trying to convert everyone, it was easier to just give the days christian significance than take them away altogether.
Christmas was originally celebrated as Yule, (Dontcha wonder what the tree, yule log, and santa have to do with the birth of christ?)
Look into the origins of easter, as well.It was originally a "pagan" FERTILITY FESTIVAL because, well, thats what spring is for. Eggs=fertility, and well, we all know what rabbits do.
I won't argue the validity of honoring Jesus's birthday, but, there is no evidence that it was even in the winter. The powers that be just decided to make it easier to convert the people by letting them " keep" their holidays.
Gee, way to get me going on a topic. lol

John Howard said...

Yeah, I knew about most of the holidays and their pagan roots. I say we should just abolish all holidays, and make up our own new ones from scratch. We can start with Festivus.