[CrackMonkey] [qotd-request@geomatics.ucalgary.ca: Quote of the day]

Bryan Fullerton bryanf at samurai.com
Tue Jul 11 10:46:59 PDT 2000

----- Forwarded message from Quote of the day <qotd-request at geomatics.ucalgary.ca> -----

"As long as it gets kids to read it's all right, right?"

 Wrong. It's a megadose of fandom and faddishness, a global full-body
 immersion into numbing zombie conformity and the need to have something
 now because everyone else who counts is going to have it now. Some
 parents in New York lined up for the 12:01 a.m. sales event so that
 they could Fed-Ex the great tome tout de suite to their kiddies at
 camp. They weren't buying a book; they were appeasing a monster.

 The great stampede is its own proof. The race for millions to buy this
 book is obviously more important than reading it, being part of the
 "event" more important than the pretext -- good word in this
 circumstance -- of the event.

 As far as the "as long as it gets the kids to read" argument goes,
 well, this is just the skin on the baloney. Wrestling has its
 "plotlines," The Phantom Menace had its anticommercial "message,"
 Madonna, back in the Middle Ages -- that would be the late eighties --
 used to "reinvent" herself, Bill and Monica were a "constitutional
 crisis," the Back Street Boys . . . well I haven't figured out the Back
 Street Boys -- very possibly they're about to save the Rainforest or
 end world hunger. Every hype needs its cover.

 Harry Potter has the best cover in the world. Reading. Reading is the
 last, the only, unassailed piety. "It's got great plot. The vocabulary
 is stunning.  It's so imaginative. I'm so happy it's a book and not
 some TV show." These are the last desperate squeaks of a million guilty
 mouths before their owners plunge neck deep into the sand. Harry Potter
 may be the greatest collective rationalization binge the planet has
 ever known.

 Once upon a time, long ago and far away, Harry Potter used to be a
 book. A book. That is, something calm and private, whose excitements
 unfolded, unmediated and unpressured. Before the midnight
 Gotterdammerung of a few days ago, it called forth a pleased and
 measured response, nicely caught I think, in this report from a young
 critic: "Harry Potter is a blend of humorous magic, and bizarre
 characters. It uses an innocent form of magic that appeals to many age
 groups. The language used in these books is fairly simple except for
 the spell components they will occasionally use. It's well sequenced,
 the writer made each book take up one year of Harry's schooling. This
 is probably done deliberately to get people to want to read them, not
 only in order, but also to anticipate the next book."

 See how calm that is. It's natural, easy enthusiasm. That was
 then. Now?  Now it's in the same whirling continuum with Ricky Martin
 and Chicken Run, the loudest video game and the latest CD.

 - Rex Murphy, on the hype surrounding the release of the latest Harry
   Potter book.

    Submitted by: Terry Labach
                  Jul. 10, 2000
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----- End forwarded message -----

Bryan Fullerton               http://bryanfullerton.com/
Core Competence
Samurai Consulting          | "Windows is the bastard child of Meatloaf.
Can you feel the Ohmu call? | I hate both of 'em." - Dana-Christene Umanetz

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