[DWJ] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Phil Boswell phil.boswell at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 05:54:42 EDT 2007

On 17/07/07, Farah Mendlesohn <farah.sf at gmail.com> wrote:
> The entire noxious mess is straight out of Stanley Elkin's book on
> slavery where he argues for a "slave mentality" in the teeth of
> evidence of endless slave revolts and attempts by slaves to poison
> their masters. I felt when reading HP and GF that someone had stranded
> me in Tara,

Well, to me, the whole argument smacks of a ridiculous interview I saw
on the Big Breakfast one time which still has me fuming.

It was with this woman who was some kind of militant vegetarian, about
how she had managed to convert her cats to vegetarianism.


Yeah, right...as those of us who are actually aware that cats are
obligate carnivores would be cross but not entirely staggered to
discover, she utterly failed to mention (except in a throwaway, almost
inaudible comment right at the end) that she had to give them vitamins
to make it actually work and not kill them.

But there are still stupid and misguided people out there who are
convinced that cats could be vegetarians if they JUST TRIED HARD
ENOUGH. Some of them will have seen this interview and been convinced
that they are correct.

Like the couple who were in the papers a few weeks back who managed to
kill their baby because...as fervent vegans...they had decided that
"mother's milk" was not going to do their new baby any good and it
effectively starved to death.

There are perfectly intelligent vegetarians out there who know just
how stupid these people are, yet they never make the
headlines...mostly because they don't do mind-numbingly stupid things
like try to force a baby or a cat to live on a totally unsuitable

Hermione is sadly...but for the best of reasons...doing exactly what
she complains of other people doing: she has decided what is best for
the house-elves without consulting them or researching the situation
properly (which is in itself a shocking omission from the normally
sensible Miss Granger ;-) and is going to plough ahead trying to
change their circumstances despite anything they try to tell her. She
will shrug off their protests on the grounds that they are "falsely
conscious", an invidious little phrase my wife has taught me from her
sociology studies: because they don't know any better, her opinions
are automatically more correct.

What will be interesting is whether her stance will adjust itself in
future books: she's shown herself to be flexible enough in other
contexts after all.

Sorry for the rant, but this subject seems to push several of my "red
buttons" all at once...


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