HARRY POTTER ANTI-BACKLASH….Tired of Harold Bloom and his literary ilk trashing Harry Potter? Charles Taylor has your back in the LA Times today:
In Bloom’s world, it’s his way or nothing. He claims to have the divine foresight to know that no child who ever reads Harry Potter will ever go on to “The Wind in the Willows” or Lewis Carroll.
….Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the New Republic, took a similar tone during a visit to Borders with his chum, Maureen Dowd. Dismayed about the profusion of chick lit, Wieseltier mused that “these books do not seem particularly demanding in the manner of real novels. And when we’re at war and the country is under threat, they seem a little insular. America’s reading women could do a lot worse than to put down ‘Will Francine Get Her Guy?’ and pick up ‘The Red Badge of Courage.’ ”
It’s the same insufferable mixture of pompous instruction and baseless certainty. If people are reading a pop novel, it follows that they must be disengaged from the social and intellectual and political life around them.
Jeebus. Did Wieseltier really say that we should all be reading The Red Badge of Courage because we’re at war? Does he think that’s what everyone was reading during WWII?
The whole Harry Potter backlash continues to mystify me. I mean, I guess it’s inevitable when anything becomes as popular as the Potter books have become, but do the anti-Potter hordes really think the alternative is James Fenimore Cooper and Rudyard Kipling? When I was a kid I read The Happy Hollisters and Tom Swift, and I gotta tell you: J.K. Rowling is better. But I survived even those blights on my childhood.
Anyway, who cares? Let ’em scratch their chins somberly and gripe about the downfall of western civilization all they want. I just want to know what happens to Snape.