Friday, April 21, 2006

Harry Potter on Trial

As we blogged earlier, a school district in Atlanta is debating whether or not to ban the Harry Potter books:
[The would-be book banner] admits she has not read any of the books in their entirety. She, and others who spoke against the books, said the stories glorify witchcraft and offend their Christian beliefs.

One girl, Jordan Fuchs, said she became fascinated with witchcraft after reading the first Potter book. Jordan said she and friends used to cast spells. Once, she said, they performed a seance during gym class. Jordan said she became angry and depressed as she became more enthralled with witchcraft. Jordan said she considered killing herself.

Jordan, now 15, said she has since turned her life around. But she said the books are dangerous.

"I truly believe the Harry Potter books should be banned," she said.
The more I follow these censorship issues, the more I think the people who would ban books have a fundamentally different relationship with literature than the rest of us do: that they see books as scary and corruptive, sometimes forcing their passive recipients to do terrible actions they wouldn't otherwise do.

The reality, of course, is that a book is nothing until it interacts with the person reading it. If a person has a psychological problem, as Fuchs clearly did, her relationship with a book may be disturbed, just as a football player with a psychological problem may have a disturbed relationship with football. But no one would ever consider banning football as a result of one player's actions.

The last word must go to one of the librarians defending Harry Potter:
But Lisa Eickholdt, a reading specialist at Freeman Mills Elementary, said the books encouraged many children — especially those who struggle in school — to read. Children enjoy the books' central themes of friendship, courage and good fighting evil, she said.

"The Harry Potter series of books are not the kinds of books that need to be removed," Eickholdt said. "If anything, they are the kinds of books we need more of."

4 Comments:

Blogger Natalia C. said...

That Jordan part made me laugh so hard.

"She used to cast spells..."

"...at 15 she has turned her life around."

AS IF. How about, she was being a kid and PRETENDING to cast spells and finally grew out of that phase.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Donovan S. Brain said...

Bet that girl will be pregnant by 17 and waiting tables at 21. We going to blame young Potter for that as well?

11:37 AM  
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8:23 PM  

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