Thursday, June 26, 2003

HP Revisited Stick to what you know ...

Some things never cease to amaze me.

Take as an example that a "children's book" sold 5 million copies on Saturday alone. Amazing.

Another example is that kids age 3 and up love Harry Potter and what he represents. Astounding.

Then there's the fact that a former destitute transformed her life while using a character she created in her mind as a bridge to help kids love to read.

Oh, and then there's the fact that some zealots want to tear down that bridge.

"Harry Potter is a tool of the devil," they say. "Those books push children into the occult (or satanism or witchcraft - whatever. take your pick)."

Anyone that listened to my show on Monday heard a conversation that I had - first with a woman who basically stated the above - then with a man who agreed and asked if I'd read the Bible.

For those who missed Monday's show, let me explain:

I mentioned the Potter phenomenon and asked callers opinions of it. I think it's awesome that there would be so much interest in a BOOK (see previous column).

Well as goes so often, my callers aren't interested in what I want to talk about. They've got their own things going on.

But then about half way through - a little more really - a woman called and explained her point (that Potter was an intro to witchcraft). She and I disagreed and had an amicable divorce. She went her way. I mine.

Next caller (paraphrased): "I agree. There's good and there's evil. You ever read the Bible?"

Me (again paraphrased): "Yeah. I've read the Bible. It doesn't mention Harry Potter."

Caller: "Well he's evil."

As with the previous caller, I asked if he had ever read any of the five exquisite books put out by author J.K. Rowling. In a word: No.

And here's the crux. How can you make a judgment on something that you admittedly know nothing about?

A better question: How can you bear witness to an event you have not seen?

Some people are so quick to tear down that they don't even watch to see what's being built.

It's like when it's not their turn to talk, just turn around, put their hands over their ears an hum.

Then when it is their turn, they shout as loud as they can.

Look, I could understand if a parent read one of the five books in the Potter series and said, "No, this isn't for my kids. It's too (dark, violent, whatever)."

But to not read it and say the same in unconscionable.

And while we're at it, I'm sorry, but the whole notion that HP would turn kids into witches or sorcerers.

A parallel argument would be that anyone who went to see Hulk over the weekend could decide to become a big green monster with a bad temper.

And I must admit - from the previews that looked like a bad movie - but I'm not going to tell people not to go see it just because I think it looks bad from the outside.