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July 21, 2004


French professors worry Harry Potter "glorifies individualism, excessive competition and a cult of violence." Or possibly that it is a socialist tract. My simplisme suggests they do not have much to do with either (via The Therapy Sessions).

The five Harry Potter books -- enormously successful in French translation -- are stuffed with "neo-liberal stereotypes" which caricature approvingly the "excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model," (Ilias) Yocaris wrote.

Thus all representatives of the state (the Ministry of Magic) are lampooned as ridiculous, or incompetent or sinister. Harry goes to a "private" school, whose "micro-society" is a "pitiless jungle" that glorifies "individualism, excessive competition and a cult of violence."

Public institutions are unable to protect individuals. Au contraire, Harry Potter and his friends find that they have to break the magical state-imposed rules to protect themselves from evil forces.

...Le Monde last week published an equally erudite reply to Yocaris. Far from being a capitalist lackey, Harry Potter is the first fictional hero of the anti-globalist, anti-free market, pro-Third World, "Seattle" generation, according to Isabelle Smadja.

...Harry and his friends show great concern for the "house elves," the unpaid servants of the magical world. The fact that the elves are mostly content with their lot is, says Smadja, a "pertinent" critique of globalization.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 21, 2004 08:30 AM

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Cthulhu forbid that any doubt should take root about the fuctionaries of the State! Individualism, forsooth! Don't we all realize that individualism is outdated, a holdover relic from medieval times and not in tune with modern Western thought?
Sadly, I think something very like this is being maintained. Just goes to show that the Anglosphere is a new civilization, no longer part of "the West", which seems to be following the track of past civilizations: decline and fall.

Posted by: Demetrius at July 21, 2004 12:02 PM