Racism in harry potter
Rowland, Jennifer A B
jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Thu Jul 20 05:09:48 EDT 2000
Does anyone else love (Michael) Flanders and (Donald) Swann? (Songwriters
and performers. Not as satirical as Tom Lehrer but just as funny. Wrote The
Hippopotamus Song aka Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud).
They wrote A Song of Patriotic Prejudice which starts "the English, the
English, the English are best/ I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest"
and is rude about the other inhabitants of the British Isles, many European
countries, and in fact everyone, saying how unsporting they are ("They argue
with umpires, they cheer when they've won/ and they practice beforehand,
which ruins the fun") and how generally awful. It ends "Yes, the English are
all that a nation should be/ and the flower of the English are
Donald/Michael and me!"
I think this is what a lot of the stereotypes are about- bolstering
self-conceit by saying that of course, the writer and his (usually) reader
belong to the most perfect country in the world, the only one that really
deserves to be written about, and the others are all a bit ridiculous. (Not
to suggest that the English are not the only nation that does this, but
Hollywood can tend to be a bit, erm, insular).
> The English are so nice
> So awfully nice
> They are the nicest people in the world.
In "Antarctica" Kim Stanley Robinson said "There's no one as rude
as the English when they want to be." I cherish this remark -- its a
fine example of seeing ourselves as others see us. What he was
talking about was an incident involving the explorer Amundsen. To
refresh the background, the Norwegian Amundsen reached the
South Pole ahead of the English Scott's party. One of his
advantages was that he planned to, and did, eat his sled huskies,
which didn't endear him to us famous animal lovers. So, some
years later, at a Royal Geographical society dinner In Amundsen's
honour, someomne stood up and proposed a toast "To the dogs".
Amundsen walked out.
You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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