[CrackMonkey] [email@example.com: Quote of the day]
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
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
Submitted by: Terry Labach
Jul. 10, 2000
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----- End forwarded message -----
Bryan Fullerton http://bryanfullerton.com/
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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