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Friday, July 15, 2005

Just Like Us

I'm encouraged when I see pictures like this in the morning paper:


ball-and-chain said...

Don't be. It's just propaganda. According to what happened in London, those smiling girls who read Harry Potter could just as well grow up to murder the other girls in the picture.

PsychoToddler said...

That was the other half of this post that I took down.

I know, it scares me.

I have this hope that little girls who read Harry Potter and like the same things as my kids won't one day try to kill them.

I can have hope, can't I?

BTW: These girls are all sisters and live in Milwaukee. The one on top (who looks like Hermione) is a dead ringer for my 2nd daughter.

Doctor Bean said...

Wow. b&c took the words right out of my mouth. It's like we share a brain. She's using it this week.

You can have hope. And you can also teach your kids to operate firearms. Can't hurt.

Mirty said...

Yeah. I'm sorry. Maybe at another time, but I don't feel optimistic now. But who really knows, maybe this next generation will be better. As the handsome Dr. Bean said, hope and firearms.

PsychoToddler said...

As little as a month ago, I think we all would have seen this as a good thing. Maybe our culture and materialism will win out over Talibanism and Jihadism.

Unfortunately, London proved us wrong again. This picture was printed on the front page of today's paper. Under it were two other articles dealing with havoc that Muslims are raising around the globe, including one about how much of a cricket fan one of the bombers was.

Propaganda? I think you're probably right.

Too bad they've made me have to think this way.

PsychoToddler said...

Oh, and Dr. Bean is handsome? Now I HAVE to meet him.

Stacey said...

Confession of the day: I have not read one Harry Potter book nor have I seen any of the movies. But the glasses are kind of cute.

dan said...

As someone who grew up in the Milwaukee Orthodox community, qualified by going to Hillel academy, spending many summers at camp Gan-Israel, Camp Moshiva and the inaugural summer at WITS' summer camp. I feel that the murders like this happen because of people's belief in the imaginary and their devout dedication to the fantasy of illogical belief that there is some magic being in the sky who "makes everything happen" Were it not for religion, any religion my former and your current, I know the world would be a better and safer place to live.

Steve said...

I have several reactions to Dan's post:

1) The vast majority of religions and religious people are essentially peaceful. Christianity has gone through a reformation and Islam needs to do the same.

2) The moral clarity of Judeo-Christian principles forms the basis of democracy, human rights and justice. Secularism forms the basis of communism and fascism, the most murderous ideologies of modern times.

3) We are seeing how secular values such as hyper-individualism have led to a dangerously low birth rate in Westen Europe. They don't have enough young workers to sustain their socialist societies so they are forced to open themselves to massive immigration, especially Muslims. To make matters worse, the same "enlightened" and "progressive" people adhere firmly to the faith of multiculturalism -- a masochistic brand of tolerance which views all cultures as morally equivalent. These are the same people who refused to confront the evil of communism during the Cold War, and are now the ones who cannot even bring themselves to refer to our enemy as they are: Islamic Fascists.

4) To believe in an omnipresent G-d requires faith, but it requires much more faith -- and cynicism -- to believe in a G-dless world. Finally, GK Chesterton wrote, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything."

Doctor Bean said...

Steve: I think I love you (in a platonic way that would be accepted by all monotheistic faiths).

Dan: What Steve said.

fudge said...

i for one find it extremely amusing that somehow this conversation ended up on my homestar dad's blog. it sounds just like our haskhafa debates.

Doctor Bean said...

The same topic is being debated on our blog here if any are interested.

Ralphie said...

S'funny - I always thought it was money that caused all the world's evils. I wish the Left could make up its mind so we could know what we need to eradicate.

PsychoToddler said...

i for one find it extremely amusing that somehow this conversation ended up on my homestar dad's blog. it sounds just like our haskhafa debates.

I for one find it funny that this conversation ended up on my post about Harry Potter and American Muslims. There are plenty of better religion posts on this blog.

Essie said...

Stacey, ditto. I felt completely "out of it" at every conversation at the Shabbat table this week.

PsychoToddler said...

Stacey and Essie:

It makes for a good adult read too.

I didn't think I would like the Potter books for many reasons: it's aimed at kids, silly Halloween-like mythology with witches in pointy hats and magic wands, my background in "serious" fantasy like Tolkein, etc.

But it is very well written stuff, great character development, and a surprisingly consistent internal logic. It's something you can share with your kids and not feel like you're slumming it by reading a kid's book.

Anne said...

I must've missed something in the photo. I see a bunch of adorable girls reading Harry Potter. Two of them are wearing headscarves. Somehow we get from girls reading kiddie lit to blowing up trains?

And if I'm wary of casting suspicion on ALL Muslims, this somehow makes me a leftist dupe?

Sheesh. And I'm bringing a baby into this nutty world on Friday. Maybe I should just take a nice vacation to, uh, Cancun or someplace and re-think the whole thing.

Ralphie said...

How did we get from girls reading kiddie lit to blowing up trains to hurricanes to late-term abortion?

parcequilfaut said...

I liked the photo and what it implies, too, PT.

One of the things I love about HP is that it's tolerant without being obnoxiously PC -- we know Lee Jordan and Angelina are Black (and they were Black in the movies, too, which also made me happy) but it's not an issue, not even mentioned after the first 2 books...because it has no place in the storyline. Nor does national origin come up except where relevant to the story (Seamus Finnegan's family in the Ireland/Bulgaria match sequence from HP4, for instance, is the only time after the first book that the fact that he's Irish comes up).

The book confronts intolerance from its own internal standpoint (the pureblood/Mudblood thing -- she essentially indicates that "Mudblood" is hate speech without feeling the need to go onandonandon about it to make sure We Get It), and makes it quite clear that we should judge people on who they are and not where they come from or their background or how much money they have. It doesn't beat it into the reader's head with a big ol' AGENDA flag like some of the modern YA lit I've read, but it definitely makes "-ists" (racists, classists etc.) out to be the uncool people (Draco Malfoy and family) and I think kids reading it will internalize that message while still enjoying the story. (The Zilpha Keatley Snyder book "The Egypt Game" did the same thing for me about racism, and I never realized how much so until I read the book as an adult.)

Also, I think the adult characters' reminesces about the first Voldemort War will give kids parallels to help them understand when they learn about the Holocaust -- which, when I first came across it in literature (at the age of eight or nine) I thought was something the author had made up, because it was just too horrible to possibly be true. (My mother set me straight on that one and we had some learning time after that about WWII and what my granddads did in it, and why...she realized she'd tried to protect me for too long and gave me Anne Frank's diary to read. I read above age level and I think she was trying to avoid the discussion in part because neither of my grandfathers ever wants to discuss the Second World War and what they saw there.)

I think JK Rowling made those parallels on purpose -- there are just too many of them to be otherwise, although it could be Tolkien Syndrome on my part.

To condense an overly long comment: kids who are allowed to read more than one book, yay. Kids of different cultures coming together to read the same good book, double yay. The fact that I get to read the new one tonight? Triple yay.