Harry Potter

Lou Paulsen wwchi at SPAMenteract.com
Sun Jan 28 13:30:57 MST 2001

-----Original Message-----
From: Juan Fajardo <fajardos at ix.netcom.com>

>My daughter is deep into the third volume of the Harry Potter series,
>but I haven't noticed anything particularly petty bourgeois about her,
>other than that she keeps counting to see how many Girl Scout cookie
>boxes she's sold so far and keeps telling her younger brother what to

Frankly I don't think it doesn't matter much what you read to your kids, or
what your kids read, with the exception of pornography and overt Nazi crap -
stuff where the racist / sexist / violent imagery is just way too vivid.
But other than that, it's not that easy to indoctrinate kids with
literature.  I mean, what did we read when we were kids?  The stuff I read
wasn't anything very progressive.  If superhero comic books and P.G.
Wodehouse and the "Freddy the Pig" series and Horatio Alger, for that
matter, were supposed to immunize me against
Marxism, they didn't do much good.

During the 1960's (I think) someone did a very good exposé of the
imperialist messages in the Walt Disney comic books; Scrooge McDuck bringing
prosperity to third-world countries of stupid animal natives etc.  But was
it effective imperialist propaganda?  I read and enjoyed all those comic
books when I was seven or eight.  Maybe I would have gone over to Marxism a
little faster if I had been spared them, but maybe they just didn't make any

In fact, when you think about it, the revolutionary impulses of any period
grow out of a conflict between ideals and reality.  People become
radicalized because the bourgeois system betrays its promises and can't even
offer bourgeois 'fairness', bourgeois 'justice'.  Our socialist thought is
not thought from another planet, it is thought from our own time and our own
places.  So I think it's quite ok for children to learn the culture into
which they were born.  All the sooner to learn the contradictions and
injustices of that culture.

Of course you can and should throw in editorial comment when necessary, for
example, to point out that the 'Little House on the Prairie' was built on
stolen land in Indian territory, or to say, "Yes, in those days they thought
that way, of course we know better now" with regard to attitudes about
gender, race, etc.

By the way, there were signs in DC comparing GW Bush to Voldemort!!  To an
extent, culture, including Harry Potter, is a weapon which can be picked up
and used by anyone.

Lou Paulsen

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