Viewing posts tagged harry potter

The Anti-Potter, Part 1: J. K. Rowling and the Effable Mirror

Happy Friday, all.  Notices first:

There’s a new episode of Wrong With Authority up for you to download, here.  WWA is a podcast about movies about historical events, created and starring myself, Kit Power, Daniel Harper, and James Murphy.  We take it in turns to host.  This time, James is hosting, and we’re talking about Shadow of the Vampire and Gods and Monsters, two movies about the lives of genius directors of classic horror cinema.  So far, the show is getting better with every episode, so check it out.  I believe podcasts in which white guys talk about movies are a real rarity online, so tell all your friends.

I still have a Patreon, as does Eruditorum Press generally.

Sam Keeper is still being really interesting about Rogue One at the moment… and I’m not just saying that because Sam is saying nice things about me and Phil (though that obviously shows excellent taste).

I myself do have more to say about Rogue One and Star Wars generally, but I’m taking a bit of a break for now.  Instead, here’s the first of a new occasional series about another obscure, niche fantasy franchise you probably haven’t heard of.  

  ...

Harry Potter and the Popular Consumption of Hegemonic Bourgeois Moral Ideology

Killing people.  It's a tricky one, isn't it?

We... (and, in this instance, by the word 'we' I mean that rather narrow band of people who produce and consume the artefacts of the Western narrative culture industries) ... we want to tell ourselves - in those bourgeois morality plays we call entertainment - that killing is WRONG.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The killing curse is an 'Unforgiveable Curse'.

"Make the foundation of this society a man who never would".

Luke can't be won to the Dark Side because he won't kill his father.

"Coward.  Every time."

"Stop!  I command it!  There will be no battle here!"

Etc, etc, etc.

But lookity here... our heroes kill people, or they support the necessity of killing people.  Even the 'moral' ones (i.e. the ones who aren't James Bond) do so.  Luke is nobly refusing to kill his father even as Han and Leia and Lando are killing loads of Imperial soldiers in the big battles.  The Doctor refuses to kill the threatened people of Earth even as the survivors of the Gamestation are fighting and trying to kill Daleks, and Rose solves the ...

The aliens... They're just so... alien

J.K. Rowling recently reignited the Potterite shipping-wars by saying that she should never have coupled Ron with Hermione.

Among the things she apparently doesn't regret putting into the world's most widely-read/seen Fantasy franchise of recent decades are the following:

  • Gold-obsessed Goblin bankers with big noses and a nigh-communistic inability to comprehend or respect 'human' notions of private property.
  • A race of willing slaves with brown skin, huge rolling eyes and 'pickaninny' speech patterns.
  • Giants who are born savage and thick, and who live in 'primitive' tribes.

Lest it be thought that I'm singling Rowling out for special snark, let me broaden this out immediately.  The SF/Fantasy genre, as a whole, contains a discourse of race that represents a peculiarly insidious reflection of racial ideology.  Race pervades these genres as a category.  Tolkien's Middle Earth is full of different 'races'.  The world of Star Trek is full of different 'races'.  The world of Doctor Who is full of different 'races'.  Just think how often we are assailed with 'races' in Fantasy that can be told apart by both physical characteristics (the blonde hair of the Thals, the crinkly ...

Harry Potter and the Labour Theory of Value

Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. 
- Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto

In this post, I noticed that Star Trek portrays the society of the future as essentially capitalist (in all but name) despite the fact that the people of the Federation have 'Replicators' that can summon material objects out of pure energy. Such a development of the forces of production ought to have banished scarcity of any description, thus also banishing any need for the exploitation of labour, the extraction of surplus and the existence of class, along with many other features of capitalism which persist (open or half-hidden) in the Roddenberry/Berman utopia.  In short, given the technology it possesses, the Federation ought to look a lot more like 'the Culture' of Iain M. Banks' (though, actually, the Culture is as much a liberal vision as it is socialist or anarchist... with its dependence upon the benevolent dictatorship of super-smart AIs ...

Potterless

I can scarcely believe I'm doing this...



Saw the Potterocalypse.  Well crafted.  I've had worse afternoons in the cinema.

One of the most interesting things about the films is how much better they are than the books.  That goes for all of them.  This last is no exception.

Rowling is a poor novelist but Kloves is an excellent adaptor.  It's quite amazing how he streamlines the windy, pompous, digression-ridden plots so that audiences can follow them without flowcharts. 

Also, the films have always made Harry easier to like than the books, partly because Radcliffe is naturally likeable and partly because cinema can't give us what Rowling insists on foisting upon readers: unfettered access to Harry's every self-obsessed, uncharitable, weak-willed, petulant thought.  Again, in this latest film, Kloves helps mightily by snipping out acres of Potterian sulking and obsessing over irrelevancies, like the ancient and brief moral failures of mentors, etc.. 

Harry's wobbles over loyalty to his dead headmaster go on for faaaaaar toooooo loooooong in the book... and yet, in the film, even after all the set-up from the last film, we get only the briefest ...

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