Harry Potter

Harry Potter and The Half-Witted Media

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My family and I are fans of the Harry Potter films, so we will definitely be joining quite a few other Muggles in trekking to a theater to do our bit to make J. K. Rowling wealthy enough to buy a few smallish nations.  I have never read any of the Harry Potter books, although one of my sons and my daughter have read all of them, as has my wife, who has read them in several languages other than English.  (Yes, I did marry above my intellectual station in life.)  I don’t read any great message into the Harry Potter phenomenon, other than that there will always be a market for escapist fiction with good guys, bad guys, and a definite beginning, middle and end, laden with action, humor and sentiment.

I did find it intriguing that L’Osservatore Romano gave an overall enthusiastic review to the latest film, or rather I found the reaction to the review intriguing.  Damian Thompson  celebrates this here as a Vatican about face on Harry Potter and takes a swipe at Americans and Italians while doing so, reminding us yet again why Brits are so beloved the world over.  Robust British ethnocentrism notwithstanding, I think Mr. Thompson and much of the media are wrong as playing this as some sort of reversal in Vatican policy.  (As if the Vatican has a Harry Potter policy!)  True, L’Osservatore Romano had previously published a negative piece on Harry Potter in January of 2008.  A translation of the article is here.  However, this piece ran with a positive assessment of Harry Potter in an article which may be read in English here.   A balanced look at the current review is here.

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