Friday, June 20, 2003

Harry Potter and the Mad Analysts

I don't have a copy handy, but I recall the Author's Note: or whatever at the beginning of "Huckleberry Finn" containing something to the effect of "those trying to find a plot in it shall be shot". And as crotchety as Mark Twain got toward the end, he might well have done it.

I suppose Harry Potter can take care of himself, but he's being analyzed every which way:
Nimbus 2003, the first international academic symposium on Harry Potter, will take place next month in Orlando. Organizers say more than 500 people have registered so far.

"For a lot of academics, it's looking at the greater themes in the books, and what she's saying about gender relations, labor and class issues in modern Britain," says Penny Linsenmayer, a Houston lawyer and Nimbus 2003 organizer.

About 70 writers and scholars will present talks on topics such as Jane Austen's influence on the Potter series and a comparative analysis of jurisprudence in the wizard world. Academic papers will come from as far away as Bombay, India.

Meanwhile, a volume on Potter and philosophy is due out soon from Open Court Publishing, the same outfit behind similar books on the Matrix movies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Seinfeld.
Alright, I like the Harry Potter books, and in a couple of days I'll be trampling innocent moppets left and right if I have to to get my own copy of the latest book. But even Freud could say that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Some people just can't help it though - they have to look for alternate messages, subliminal or otherwise. From them we've learned that Paul McCartney was dead, for instance. Or there were those who saw fit to synch Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album to the Wizard of Oz and found eerie synchronicity. We can't forget Charles Manson and the Beatles' "white album" (Helter Skelter is coming down fast...). And incidentally, to my knowledge it is *not* true that if you play Black Sabbath backwards or at 78 that you'll see God (which I think we owe to Cheech and Chong).

I guess they can have their fun. But I sure hope we're not spending any tax money on this.

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