The weekend has passed, and Harry Potter Mania, much like Star Wars Opening Weekend, is slowly receding into the vast wasteland of our collective memories. Bookshelves have been cleared out, memorabilia has been peddled off, and America’s young (well, those familiar with the printed word) are now tucked into their nooks and crannies as they frantically digest each and every precious, precious word comprising The Half-Blood Prince. Jeff got his copy on Saturday morning and finished the whole thing by the evening (I only did something like that once, when I got my wisdom teeth out and had nothing better to do for a day than to swim in pain and read, in its entirety, Dean Koontz’s One Door Away from Heaven). I think he was had, though, as the hardcover version he bought from Borders has no proper stitching along the spine; just glue. There are books from the 16th century that will be in better condition five years from now. It’s a shame.
It’s also shameful how the watchdogs have, yet again, raised their voices in protest against J.K. Rowling’s corrupting of young impressionable minds. I turned on the radio yesterday and heard callers on Drudge complaining about how the latest Harry Potter release is nothing but a black magic farce being marketed to children. It’s a book, for Rowling’s sake! No better or worse than a movie release, or a Pepsi-powered CD party thrown by the as-of-this-writing very pregnant Britney Spears. I can’t imagine parents putting moral responsibility on a pop star, a movie studio, or, in this case, a book publisher. The Harry Potter franchise is a money-maker, sure; a subliminal social conditioner, maybe—but why have so many people come to expect such institutions to raise their own children properly? The responsibility has never been (and should never be) in the hands of anyone but the parents who need to spend time with their children explaining the difference between fantasy and reality. Yeah, it’s tragic when some punk jumps from a rooftop to emulate an episode of Jack-Ass, but chances are his motivations had more to do with his family situation than with some kind of subliminal signal being broadcast through the airwaves. If a teenage misfit shoots someone in the head and blames it on Eminem, does that mean Eminem’s music should be banned from stores? Or does it mean that said teenage misfit would have followed any role model in an effort to express his angst? What if he’d been a Barry Manilow fan? What then?
Entertainment should be treated as what it is: entertainment. TV sitcoms, pop music, fiction books are not educational, they’re certainly not gospel—why would you expect, say, Family Guy to be politically correct? It’s an adult TV show, for adults, yet I always hear parents talking about how they don’t like their kids watching it. So don’t let them. Be a parent—again, it’s an adult cartoon, for adults.
Ah, but everybody needs someone else to blame, because it certainly isn’t their own fault. Nothing ever is…meh. Now I’m all worked up—but I suppose that’s J.K. Rowling’s fault for making me leave the radio tuned to KFI. Damned sorceress!