HP review

Ms Kathleen Jennings s368333 at student.uq.edu.au
Thu Jul 3 21:04:23 EDT 2003

Nicely said, Anna.


----- Original Message -----
From: Anna Clare McDuff <amcduff at math.sunysb.edu>
Date: Friday, July 4, 2003 9:21 am
Subject: Re: HP review

> On Thu, 3 Jul 2003, Charles Butler wrote:
> > I agree with all of this (and with Roger's similar points in his 
> post).> Did I mention that WitW is one of my favourite books, by 
> the way? I
> > certainly don't see it as an allegory with a Point or a Message, 
> and of
> > course, like a lot of great books it is flexible enough to 
> accommodate a
> > good many interpretations. The interest in class is fairly 
> explicit I
> > should say (not just with the stoats/weasels but throughout, eg 
> in the
> > Ratty/Mole rel'p) - one certainly doesn't need to resort to 
> allegory to
> > make it plausible! - but my main point was simply that this book 
> has its
> > baggage, like any other, and that it's not a sign of intolerance or
> > pseudism to say so.
> 	Absolutely! I hope my post didn't sound as if I were
> misrepresenting you or tarring you with the Adamsian brush as it 
> were. I
> wrote it in a hurry so as to finish before going out to the 
> theatre (went
> to see an original no-budget musical comedy called the East End of 
> Chicagoat the Circus Theatre Stratford in which an old friend of 
> mine is playing
> Al Capone. Lots of great dancing. It's on 'til Saturday if anyone is
> interested </plug>) so I may not have been clear.
> Ideological criticism
> > isn't the most interesting kind, IMHO, but it's not a a 
> ridiculous, still
> > less a fascistic, line to take.
> 	Certainly, where the notion of fascism comes in for me is when
> people label things ideologically *and* decree that only certain
> ideologies can be represented and all else must be subjugated. I 
> don't see
> anything wrong in discussing underlying ideologies. Actually I 
> think it's
> kind of healthy both psychologically and socially because we 
> usually bring
> our ideologies to what we read and we usually take ideologies from 
> what we
> read so being clear about what's going on seems like a sensible 
> course of
> action to me. It maybe the old academic blood stirring in my veins 
> but I
> personally love seeing if cases can be made, there's a thrill to 
> seeinghow a marxist reading of Harry Potter could pan out, or a 
> queer theory
> one, or a christian reading or whatever viewpoint takes your fancy 
> really.I just get itchy when books are *denounced* for being 
> ideologicallysuspect.
> > Even so, I feel I'm missing something here. Adams's article 
> didn't (and I
> > _certainly_ didn't) say a word about censorship or what is 
> 'acceptable' in
> > children's lit. Where did all this come from? Was it raised in the
> > correspondence following Adams's article? I haven't read that.
> 	Oh yeah, there was a lot of muttering on the old letters page & I
> think to a large extent Liddle was reacting to that, the whole 
> thing was
> set in motion by the Adams article, but as usual it gathered a lot 
> of moss
> very fast. Certainly all that stuff about censorship, and yes, 
> censorshipwas mentioned, came up on the letters page & much 
> besides. But of course
> there is no doubt in my mind that Liddle was also enjoying being
> provocative which is something of a specialty of his! You may 
> remember a
> while back where he got the sack from his day job as editor of the 
> TodayProgramme because of some very rude & extremely funny remarks 
> he made in
> his Guardian column about the Countryside Alliance. He was offered the
> choice of keeping his prestigious BBC job or his Guardian column and
> shocked his bosses by keeping the column and jacking the job in. 
> He is
> willing to pay the price for voicing his opinions & to do it with 
> greatcivility and good humour. I often disagree with him, but I do 
> think he is
> a Good Thing...
> 	And yes, it's a strong kind of fun, but I strongly believe that
> it's a good kind of fun to have. Once things like book burning become
> something we cannot joke about, my reading of history suggests to 
> me that
> book burning becomes all the more likely. Enforced Solemnity can 
> be as
> smothering as silence; like everyone's been saying here fair and free
> debate is the way forward, and I think satire, including fierce 
> satire, is
> a healthy part of that.
> 	Anna
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