HP review

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu Jul 3 15:14:36 EDT 2003


>On Thu, 3 Jul 2003, Charles Butler wrote:
>>  I haven't read enough Harry Potter to comment pitch into the HP debate
>>  itself, but I did wonder about the Rod Liddle piece. It was funny, but
>>  afterwards I started thinking (in perhaps too po-faced a way) what the point
>>  of it was. What did he find in the Richard Adams article that was so
>>  risible? Not the particular argument he was making well or badly, it
>>  seems(*), but the fact that he was mixing children's lit and ideology at
>>  all. Liddle seemed to find it hard to believe either that children's books
>>  can carry significant ideological baggage, or/and that children are capable
>>  of taking in ideological content, even if they are ill-equipped to
>>  articulate them.
>	I read the Liddle article another way, I think he was accepting
>the ideological baggage children's (and indeed, any) literature carries,
>but poking fun at the idea that we should censor literature that does not
>meet our own social agenda exactly*.

Coming to this rather late, and some of it's been said already, but 
it seemed to me pretty strong 'fun', in response to an article which 
didn't even suggest that anyone *should* censor literature.   Maybe 
I'm overreacting because book-burning is such an incredibly emotive 
image - I do feel it shouldn't be used just because someone writes 
critically about a book, no matter what the book is.

Not that I'm saying it's right to call JKR 'a racist' at all, but 
again, the article didn't do that.  Either the books are dismissed as 
populist rubbish which are unworthy of critical examination (NOT my 
view) or else they'll get examined critically; and if people dislike 
elements such as racist or conservative or fat-people bashing 
tendencies they see in them, they should be free to say so.   And 
seeing as we all spend a fair amount of time talking about 
ideological aspects of DWJ books, and loving and appreciating (among 
many other things) the way she takes conventions of older children's 
literature and examines them, discards what doesn't work - subverts 
them, I find it hard to see the problem with examining the same 
aspects of JKR's books.  Well, aside from the obvious one that this 
is a DWJ list, but I *did* tie the discussion  in to DWJ, so that 
doesn't count. :)


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