The end of the world came and I didn’t notice it, what with the bike rides, the model train constructions, dinner with friends, work and wife. The last Harry Potter movie hit the screens.
Facebook had rung like a gong when Casey Anthony got off. Now it was ringing against from all the Potter fans bellowing about what a wondrous thing this series was, how it taught their kids to read, about morals, ethics, the importance of good vs. evil, of fellowship, of commitment.
That the adult fans point to their children as the justification for their canonization of this water-weak story is bad enough – you’d rave for a children’s book but have nothing else to rave about? That, in itself, is sad.
But their kids have read the books a dozen times and watched the movies a hundred. So what?
How as it made anything better? Most obviously, do you see children reading anything else? Some do, some don’t. But those who do largely dovetail into vampire crap or knockoff nonsense. No gain there – you couldn’t get your kids to eat their dinners so you gave them desert first. Now all they eat is Jello. Improvement?
And where is the gain of all this? Are they more literate? Are they more thoughtful? Do they seem more in touch with the world at large, more empathetic to their fellow man, more courteous, more adult? No. Over the last decade, for all this smoke and these mirrors, no difference.
When I was a kid, my dad told me about the books he’d read, of the Ten Thousand, of the Old Guard at Waterloo. He taught me (though old Avalon Hill games) about Jutland. We watched Moby Dick together. He had me tally the deaths in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and gain its life-lesson. He didn’t give me to someone else to inspire and instruct – he did it himself.
And that’s the sad thing – all you Potter mommies and daddies couldn’t take enough interest to give your sons and daughters your unique perspective on the world, to communicate the good and bad, to teach chess (I sucked) and poker (even more). No, you joined the lemmings, tossing your children’s curiosity and creativity to a publishing house and a studio conglomerate to give them make-believe good-evil stories that they don’t really believe in, not really, because its just a book and a movie, just for fun, because everyone knows that all it is.
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Book of Merlin
Fighting the Flying Circus
War of the Worlds
20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea
…to name a few.