Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Harry Potter, sacred cow
When somebody e-mails to say, "Seriously bitch u need to watch what teh fuck you say," it certainly commandeers a critic's attention. Add to that the dozens of correspondents who took the trouble to call me dork, idiot, schmuck or worse, and it's all occasioned some serious soul-searching here on the literature desk.Kipen is actually quite gracious about the whole affair, answering some of his correspondents' gripes and commending a critique by his 10-year-old niece. He also asks: "Is this degree of protective devotion some form of mass hysteria, or a hopeful development in otherwise unreaderly times?" I'd opt for the former, myself. Surely J.K. Rowling, the most successful author of the modern era, can handle an occasional nicker of negativity (that sounds like Spiro Agnew, doesn't it?). Even Harold Bloom, who's been fighting a one-man battle against Pottermania for some time, concedes that there's no point in complaining. “Protesting Harry Potter is like standing in front of the Atlantic Ocean," he said during an interview last year. "It’s ridiculous, you haven’t got a chance.” Which hasn't stopped Bloom, or Kipen, from trying.