Nov 092005
Authors: Jonathan Kastner

The Harry Potter phenomenon is sweeping the nation as if by magic! With her writing wizardry, J.K. Rowling has enchanted us all with the wondrous world she has conjured. But will those Hollywood sorcerers turn these books into blockbuster gold?

Whether you like Harry, love Harry or merely have scarred your own forehead in his likeness, the Potter phenomenon is worthy of study. Children reading is mostly considered a good thing, but what's even better is more children sitting still for almost three hours and eating sugary foods. Thankfully, the new movie is due to come out Nov. 18!

Here's a quick summary of the books up until this movie. Harry Potter is a moisture farmer on the distant planet of England, until he learns his parents were killed by the Dread Darth Voldemort. So with the help of his talking effeminate robot friend, Ronald Weasley, and his high-pitched know-it-all robot Hermione Granger, they strike out to save the galaxy from Storm Trooper Eaters.

I skimmed the cliff notes. Anyway, it's all very moving and my heart literally was warm while I read it. If it can have this much affect on an elderly fellow like me, what exactly do these books do to little Potter-heads?

News reports show lines wrapped around bookstores, and children wearing pointy hats, waving wands and chanting nonsensical phrases. It's unnatural and unwholesome and I for one will not stand for it. Bookstores are for stodgy, antisocial types such as myself, not for happy, noisy, snot-nosed Muggle brats.

Some people will claim the magic presented in Harry Potter is more unnatural and disturbing than the fact there are children reading. To disprove this, ask any parent which of the following scenes they consider more unnatural.

Scenario 1: They find their children reading quietly.

Scenario 2: They find their children inexplicably belching up slugs and claiming it was a magical curse.

This is why parents have hospitals on speed dial, not libraries.

If you're not yet convinced Potterism is a menace, consider this – reading leads to educated children. This may seem harmless, except until clever analysis pairs it with the following – educated children designed the atom bomb!

Clearly, we must stop Harry Potter. But how? The boy has already proven resistant to certain… direct methods. No, if we cannot slay the boy, then we must attack the symbol.

Right now Harry Potter is a symbol of idealistic imagination, a fabricated world where people fly and education is practical. Thankfully, there's always a quick, certain death for all things imaginative – marketing.

Just slap Potter's face on pretty much anything – molded on action figures, imprinted on toilet paper, or tattooed on an overweight 40-year-old man. There's nothing that will kill their enjoyment faster than realizing it's suddenly 'cool' to be into Potter.

I hope I accomplished my noble goal of thwarting children's literacy. Join me next week, when I steal Thanksgiving!

Johnathan Kastner is a senior English major. His column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. He's often wondered what Voldemort has against conventional explosives. Seriously, you know where he sleeps, you lazy Dark Lord.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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