December 04, 2003

Harry Potter

Conservatives don't yet seem to know just what to make of Harry Potter, but they're working on it:

When fundamentalists look at Harry Potter, they see a seething Hieronymous Bosch painting, a grotesque and frightening world rife with sin and temptation and devilry. When Elshtain looks at Harry Potter, she sees a Norman Rockwell painting with a Bosch painting behind it, a world of peace and family and Sunday afternoon dinners, behind which, and sometimes perilously close, is a world of sin and destruction. These two views of Harry Potter mirror two fundamentally conservative views of the world.

I, unsurprisingly, prefer Michael Bronski's reading:

He argues that fundamentalists, who find the series subversive, are on to something: "The Harry Potter books are a threat . . . not because they romanticize witchcraft and wizardry, but because they are deeply subversive in their unremitting attacks on the received wisdom that being 'normal' is good, reasonable, or even healthy."

I would only add that their romanticization of witchcraft and wizardry also makes them great.

(Left-wing Harry Potter analysis is provided by The American Prospect, with a nice blog discussion of the article here.)

Posted by Carey at December 4, 2003 07:29 PM
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