PZ Myers has a link to this article about Harry Potter and an accompanying rise in the popularity of "Witchcraft".
I read it, but its kind of long. There's a lot of hyperventilating about the popularity of fantasy in the current culture, some self-righteous pontificating....but the really significant quotes are as follows:
"In these standby novels, girls fret over friends, popularity, sports, parents, boyfriends, jobs and homework—or a neighborhood "mystery." But in this new darker world, girls don’t simply ask a friend’s advice, hang out at the soda shop or give the team their best effort. That would be too boring and too passive. Today’s girl takes charge, even in the heavenlies—these young priestesses cast spells. The paperbacks are laced with actual spells and rituals suited to many teen occasions. They are also packed with sexual innuendo and activity;"
uh huh...'cause hanging out at the soda shop had nothing to do with sexual innuendo and activity...and "boring and passive" girls never get into trouble. Seriously? You want your little girls to be boring, passive door-mats who know nothing about sex and hang out at the soda shop? (I think they actually hang out at coffee shops nowdays) Jesus people, you might as well tattoo targets on their vaginas.
"It’s a seductive method of manipulating human envy by ensnaring naïve youth: if you’re a misfit, it’s not because you are lacking something; it’s because you are "above" the rest in a unique way."
Yeah...the other kids didn't pick you up and stuff you in the trunk of your car because you're an asthmatic shrimp with a 135 IQ, and they're a bunch of muscle-head jocks whose daddies told them they had to live it up 'cause these are the best years of their lives when they get to rule the school and have no consequences for their actions, and they know they'll have to spend the rest of their lives answering to people who are smarter and more educated than them. They did it because YOU are lacking something.
But my favorite is this one:
"As adolescents peak in self–absorption, our panacea is to hand our offspring the sorcerer’s wand to wave away all troubles. They can use it to raise that already inflated self–esteem."
Obviously, this lady hasn't read the books she's condemning. At no point does Harry simply "wave his magic wand" and have his troubles disappear. Harry is initially protected by the loving efforts of his parents to shield him from danger, and prepare for his future. Later, he learns to draw on the wisdom and advice of his teachers, and ask for help when he gets in over his head. His loyalty to his friends and their resulting loyalty to him helps him through situations he could never have survived on his own.
In the end, he has to put his life on the line and risk everything...and it has nothing to do with his powerful magic. It has to do with giving back to all of the people who stood by him what was given to him. Giving love freely, and being willing to risk everything for the good.
Magic has nothing to do with Harry's final triumph. It is achieved through love, trust, and courage. The whole point of the ending is that he doesn't even raise his wand in order to win.
And, of course, no hyperventilating, hysterical scrawling are complete without the faint-hearted whining about D&D:
"Too numerous to mention are sites specific to role–playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and toys, CDs, DVDs and video games with occult themes."
OH NOES! CHILDRENS CAN HAZ IMAGINASHUNS! IM IN UR COMPUTER BRINGIN TEH DEBIL!
But how oh how do we stop it?
"Today we are urging parents and educators to prayerfully consider a general boycott of Scholastic materials in homes and schools country–wide." Kathi, a former witch who is now a Christian, has strong opinions about the Potter books. "Anyone who allows their children to read these books and participate in related activities is allowing their children access to the occult."
Of course! Boycott the Scholastic-sponsored school bookfairs which is usually a primary vehicle for funding literacy programs in the school district! What we need is more illiteracy and less funding for the schools! Naturally. Genius.
Ill skip over the part where she bends herself into pretzel shape to involve Planned Parenthood, the feminists and homosexuals, and the ACLU in the plot to make your kids witches. It's entertaining, but too self-satirizing to need my attention.
"And if your teen isn’t an activist or practitioner in middle school or high school, college is a fertile field for the growth of witch sympathies. Your daughter or son who takes a religion or women’s studies class at a non–Christian college can expect to be exposed to the benefits of alternative religions, mostly occultic, in overcoming the "oppression" of the entrenched Christian mainstream. "
For reals? The University of Minnesota must be a Christian college then! Except for my comparative religions class (which spent more than half the time on Christianity, 'cause there’s so many flavors). Whatever. Has this woman even BEEN on a college campus except maybe as a crazy mall preacher?
"If you are "as gods," you can make your own rules. Forget parents! Forget teachers! We’ll just live for the moment, the latest sensation and party on down. So witchcraft is a perfect fit for a paganized, pleasure–centered, shallow America.
I swear, everytime I hear a Christian's description of what their life would be like without Christianity, I thank God that they have Christianity. People who have such a vivid imagination for depravity should certainly have a religion that makes them able to repress it,and keep it decently confined to airport men's rooms.
And I just have to say..."party on down?" For real? Linda, You. Are. ADORABLE!