harry potter and the rabid fundamentalists

I would sincerely enjoy writing a hilarious parodoxical essay of the wizarding books where the hero gets attacked by mindless American Christian fundamentalists.

I was talking with someone who mentioned that the books ‘promoted witchcraft’ and ‘disrespect for adult authority.’ Not only that, but I was asked pointblank: ‘Would you like your children to be reading about magic, witches and evil?’

Perhaps they should have come out and just said ‘We don’t think kids should be exposed to any hostile outside influences that could possibly help them become mature adults able to face the injustices that regularly beset grown-ups. So they shouldn’t read about evil. And while you’re about it, you’d better go and burn all that CS Lewis and Tolkien stuff you have on your bookshelf, never mind the fact that they were Christians. Hell, you may as well just go and burn the entire Crime/SF/Fantasy section of your local bookstore. Can’t be done, exposing kids to that kind of stuff.’

There’s an analogy for this in biology. Some parents warn their kids about the deadly ‘germs’ which they might pick up if they play in the dirt or generally aren’t spotless all the time. The problem is, once these kids go to school and meet people who haven’t avoided the ‘germs’, they’ll contract the whole lot and the usual exchange of colds which all kids encounter when first going to school will be even worse for them. You need to build up a resistance to these germs so you’ll be able to weather them later in life.

Germs are a bad thing, no doubt about it. And mostly you should avoid them, but first you need to encounter them. Same with this so-called evil. If you grow up thinking that the world is a nice cuddly place where everyone cares, you’re in for a nasty shock when you venture outside.

We can’t possibly protect our children from all outside influences, even if we wanted to or thought it’d be a good thing. People don’t realise that the very curiousity that makes us humans is our main mechanism for learning, and for surviving. And that’s called experience.


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