Confessions of a Harry Potter Virgin
I admit it, I have never even so much as picked up a Harry Potter book to look at.
I just don't see the big deal.
My resistance to Harry Potter is not part of the Christian anti-Potter mentality that rejects the books because it involves magic. What a load of crap. The Lord of the Rings is a pseudo-Christian allegory that involves the use of magic. The Chronicles of Narnia is based in a 'magical' other world reality. No, my curiosity in Harry Potter is that many people seem to be willing to give up their precious reading time to books of this nature when there are so many other books out there that need to be read.
I mean there are books out there that are a whole lot more important to understanding the world around us and they don't create the kind of freakish fervor I've seen in the last few weeks. It is bizarre.
I read a lot. Mostly books other people don't seem to read. I'm alright with that. But this Harry Potter thing is off the scale. I've heard of Harry Potter tail gate parties in front of book stores at midnight the day it became available. I heard over the radio that one guy that was interviewed had his name leagally changed to Harry Potter to commemorate the release of the new book. By the way, the guy was 32.
I just don't get it. I mean nobody stood in line when the 9/11 commission report was released in book form. I've read it, I think it is more important than Harry Potter for our world. But it did not generate buzz among the masses. The news media didn't cover the release of Surviving the Sword, Resource Wars, or Collapse. I was crestfallen.
I just don't get it. Or at least I didn't get it until I left the house today. Some of my best learning opportunities happen when I leave my own little self created world and step outside.
I went to the grocery store , did my shopping and then stood in line for check out. For some reason even Vons is selling copies of the newest Harry Potter. A kid, I'm guessing around 10, was pestering his parental unit to buy it for him. The parent resisted the pressure and said no. I was thinking "Good for you for not caving in to the pop cultural pressure of assimilating your kid into this series of books that are over hyped."
But then I thought, wait a minute, this kid is actually asking for a book. In my profession it is a minor work of divine intervention to even get a student to read their homework, much less a whole book, a thick book at that, with no pictures.
Quick, as fast as the Italians switched sides in World War II, I found myself silently cheering for this kid all of a sudden.
He entreated his mother again, "Please, I'll put back the Doritos and Diet Coke". Again, his stalwart mother gave him a firm "No". I almost found myself intervening on behalf of the child. "Aw, come on mom, it's a book he's asking for. Don't you understand the paradigmatic shift his request symbolizes." But I resisted.
As the line moved forward, our underdog gave it one last shot. "Look mom, if you by me the book I won't ask you to take me to see the next movie". Hmm...he's probably lying, but the very fact that he is going to these lengths to get a book and probably, actually, for real, read the darn thing was impressive. By this time I think the mother sensed I was eavesdropping. She looked at me with a smile so barely detectable only another parent could discern its presence. I looked at her and returned the same grin. She then told the boy "Go ahead and get it. But stop bothering me about it. Put the Doritos back like you said, but you can keep the Diet Coke." They checked out and left. I felt nearly jubilant.
Yeah, I think Harry Potter is over hyped. The people who stay up for 48 hours straight to read it the moment they get it are probably weird. But you know, if it can generate the kind of enthusiasm that this kid in the grocery store had, then so be it.
I still won't read a single one of them though.
Be well all.