Stupid, Stupid Harry Potter Fans

Apparently, I’m an idiot for daring to enjoy the Harry Potter series as an adult.  At least, that’s what this guy insists.  Yeah, you and just about everyone on the public buses and trains, who ask why I read Harry Potter, and then that not-so-subtle-meant-as-an-insult “How old are you?”  Why is it so hard for people to understand that an adult can like Harry Potter? Granted, the first few books were geared towards children, with an appropriate reading level, but the fourth and fifth books read like adult novels.  The Order of the Phoenix was 700 plus pages long, and touched upon many themes that can be discussed on more than a child’s level, like death, racism, and good vs. evil.  So screw you, Joel Stein, and every other jerk who probably still reads Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, but would belittle anyone over the age of 18 for having the gall to read HP.  Come Saturday (just one week!), I will be in a book store first thing in the morning to buy The Half-Blood Prince, and will spend one glorious weekend savouring it.

56 thoughts on “Stupid, Stupid Harry Potter Fans

  1. I’ll be there too. I like those books.  Wouldn’t it be sweet if someone fucked with me about it;

    “Dude, how old are you?”

    “Uh.  34, and I’m ABD in English Lit.  Were you about to offer some burning insight about the literary quality of the Harry Potter series?  That’s what I thought.  Now push off. . .  I’m at a good part.”

  2. So, um, dressing up as someone from the Ministry of Magic to read the first chapter of the book to the assembled throngs at a book store’s midnight HP release party isn’t a good thing? Rats.

    I guess I’ll just go kill myself now. ‘cuz Joel Stein says so. That’s why!

    Under “grasping for straws” in the dictionary, you’ll now find this quote from Mr. Stein: “…you had your C.S. Lewis and E.B. White and J.R.R. Tolkien. Isn’t it a clue that you should be ashamed of reading these books past puberty when the adults who write them are hiding their first names?”.

    Ignore the fuckwit.

  3. He states he’s desperate for attention twice in his bio.  Guess he’s not getting enough lately. 

    He’s a writer who doesn’t like to read?  Well, I have worked with programmers who didn’t own personal computers, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

  4. Idiot!  How can he write on a subject he knows nothing about?  Maybe if he’d read past the first 50 pages of teh FIRST book he’d see why people are so crazy over it.

  5. Les, you weenie pretender. The REAL fans have already ordered their copies of the upcoming Harry Potter book online, and will have it DELIVERED on the critical day.

  6. Interesting. I haven’t read the books (although the kids have dragged me to the movies). Not because I’m afraid someone will out me as an immature boob (because I am) but I’m just not that much into fantasy, magic and sorcery fiction. Give me that straight hard Sci-Fi any day but when you start waving magic wands I start to yawn.

  7. Hank, this is a guest entry by Iolite. My copy was preordered prior to my being laid off. I’m not crazy enough to try and find it in a bookstore the day it’s released. I much prefer to let it come to me!.

    Stoic, I’m not a big fiction reader in general these days and when I do read something it’s usually sci-fi, but J.K. Rowling’s books are the exception to the rule and the only fantasy books I make an absolute point to read.

  8. I’ll be waiting for FedEx to deliver my two books.  One for me and the other for my teenaged daughter.  The younger kids don’t want to be bothered.

  9. I’ve seen far more effective trolls on USENET.

    And if he really feels that media targeted to a given audience must only be experienced by that target audience…he is obviously in the wrong profession.

    -J1

  10. Whatever.  I dig Harry Potter and I’m 33.  As an adult I have also reread the Madeleine L’Engle books and everything by Roald Dahl…and enjoyed the hell out of them.

  11. When I read the title of this post I GASPED and got ready to be pissed off at Stupid Evil Bastard thinking you hated Harry Potter.

    Of course, then I read it and realized what you were saying. And of course I agree and can’t believe how much I have loved reading the HP books. Absolutely true what you said about the underlying issues like racism, etc. I secretly believe that J.K. Rowling was talking about politics today in the last book.

    Thanks for sticking up for the series. Screw all those muggles, anyways.

  12. I don’t know. For me it’s just that everything I’ve read in the books so far (borrowed them from my siblings) I’ve read in what I feel are other books better.

    Mieville and Martin are revolutinizing fantasy but they’re not household names?

    Harry Potter isn’t bad, that’s just to say for me it’s not all that and a bag of mustard.

    Bring on “Feast” in November!

  13. Harry Potter isn’t bad, that’s just to say for me it’s not all that and a bag of mustard.

    I’d say about the same but you wouldn’t have to be an HP fan to get how idiotic that columnist is. 

    I read his editorial to my youngest son (age 20) and his response: “If I were that guy’s editor, I’d tell him, ‘There are probably five thousand people in this city who are qualified to do your job and would like to have your job!’”

    My favorite kids’ book: “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel”.  Wonder if that would be too juvenile for Mr. Stein?  For that matter, I was recently moving some books and found our copy of Robert McClosky’s Make Way for Ducklings and thoroughly enjoyed his wonderful drawings (along with the memory of reading it to all 3 of our kids.)

  14. The REAL fans have already ordered their copies of the upcoming Harry Potter book online, and will have it DELIVERED on the critical day.

    Yeah, but the real SMART fans just go to Walmart (it’s evil, yes, I know) and buy it for $16.99 on the day it’s released.  I did this for OotP, and they had TONS of books piled up wand waiting, and I got a pretty good price to boot.

  15. I apologize for the ramble, but I’m in a mood…

    I’m a voracious reader. They are only a few among hundreds over the past years and I don’t remember every detail of each, but I’ve enjoyed reading the Potter books as they’ve come out.  I’ve not been the one who did the buying though… Mr. OB is into the whole ritual of it all so he goes and waits in line with his fellow geeks. grin

    Joel Stein was a bit rabid in his railing against Potter fans, but I almost wonder if the rant wasn’t a device sort of setting up these (rather interesting, IMO) observations:

    the next generation has opted for a stunted toddlerhood. Adults see “Finding Nemo” without bothering with the socially accepted ruse of dragging an unwilling 11-year-old nephew along. Grown men play video games and couples go to Disneyworld on their honeymoon, often for reasons other than having sex in Cinderella’s castle with the dwarfs watching. You need a wad of Disney Dollars for that one, by the way, 50th anniversary or no 50th anniversary.

    Gotta admit I’m a little bit concerned/annoyed myself by the part entertainment and media is playing in what I see as a dumbing-down and infantilizing of the populace.  Marketing encourages people to act like children, while at the same time there are enemies of free speech pushing hard for all entertainment to be sanitized to the point that it’s appropriate for a 13-year-old, and the media’s wimping out and censoring themselves.  It sucks ASS. 

    Sadly, there are a fair number of people who will read this Potter book and NOTHING else until the next one, and even then it’ll mostly be because they got caught up in the hype.  Or because it’s like a secret guilty pleasure that they indulge in, and then they go back to WND or FOX… and church, where they’re further encouraged to be like children or sheep.

    (BTW that sex at Disneyland line is pretty damn funny!)

    A culture that simplifies its entertainment down to fairy tales is doomed to simplify the world down to good and evil.

    That, my friends, is worth worrying about.  More importantly it’s worth ARGUING about – like adults; but it seems there are increasingly fewer people who are able or willing to anymore, prefering instead to see things as good or evil, period.  Or they simply don’t care, because they’d rather be playing a video game.

    Hmmm… yet not inconsequentially that same immature culture is being bombarded with the message that a fairy tale should be the basis of civil law and government, and that it really IS a battle between good and evil!

    Lastly there’s this…  Has Joel Stein perhaps got a bit of an axe to grind?

    And a culture in which adults go see the “Harry Potter” movies still won’t be enough to help the useless Time Warner options I got in the ‘90s

    Heh.  I hear ya, Joel wink

  16. Yeah, but the real SMART fans just go to Walmart (it’s evil, yes, I know) and buy it for $16.99 on the day it’s released.

     

    Nope, sorry, if you pre-order, you get the same discount, with guaranteed delivery on the release date. (I’m not counting on the guarantee, but the discount was worth it.)

  17. I hear you about infantile entertainment, OB, but from what I can tell flipping through an HP book, it seems like a pretty sophisticated story.  It doesn’t seem to be driven by marketing research executives, but rather by J.K.Rowling as it should be.  I’m just not a sword/sorcery fan or I’d probably read them.

    Sure, some people won’t read anything else and only read HP because of the hype but I doubt that’s a new phenomenon.

    Thinking back on television in the ‘60’s, it was a couple good shows but mostly crap, just like today.  With more channels there’s more crap but probably more good stuff too.  As always it’s up to the viewer to be selective.  Ditto for reading.

    Is black/white, good/evil thinking really more common than it used to be?

    What my insomnia-addled brain is trying to assemble is that 90% of everything is crap and always has been. There’s just more everything now than there used to be. 

    On a related note, I have noticed that fantasies which are not about sex are labelled childish.  You could make a good case that the opposite is true. Also fantasies in which the main characters are children are also labelled childish, which is a pity.  A good story in which children have serious problems to solve is a window into the emergence of problem-solving in developmental consciousness.

  18. I hear you about infantile entertainment, OB, but from what I can tell flipping through an HP book, it seems like a pretty sophisticated story.  It doesn’t seem to be driven by marketing research executives, but rather by J.K.Rowling as it should be.

    Oh, absolutely true – and Ms. Rowling controls with an iron fist everything to do with the subsequent merchandising of all things Potter.  What I didn’t do a good job of making clear is that it seems to me Joel Stein was using the popularity of Potter, and his rant about adults who read the books, to make the larger point (the new generation of adults are perfectly happy – and encouraged by marketing efforts – to act/think like children, and to see things as good or evil).

    Is black/white, good/evil thinking really more common than it used to be?

    I’m not sure, but I have noticed the rhetoric and moralizing in popular media that encourages people to see things in black/white, good/evil has been increasing over the past 25 years or so, and is certainly more pervasive now than when I was a teenager.  At the same time the battle cry of, “Protect the children!” is being used as justification for putting more and more restrictions on adult behavior and popular entertainment.

    What my insomnia-addled brain is trying to assemble is that 90% of everything is crap and always has been. There’s just more everything now than there used to be.

    LOL Can’t argue with ya there!

    On a related note, I have noticed that fantasies which are not about sex are labelled childish.  You could make a good case that the opposite is true. Also fantasies in which the main characters are children are also labelled childish, which is a pity.  A good story in which children have serious problems to solve is a window into the emergence of problem-solving in developmental consciousness.

    Good points, and again, no argument from me!

    Perhaps I’m just being the “elitist” those of us who dare to think for ourselves are always accused of being because we’d like to live in a society where the average person is more than a simpleton happy to be spoon-fed all their opinions and ideas via popular media.  Yes, we should do our best to protect the children, but not at the expense of educating them to become adults who think for themselves or by restricting citizens’ liberties to the point that all people regardless of their chronological age are being treated like children – and worse still, these (IMO carefully and deliberately molded) unsophisticated simpletons are easily manipulated by the fear-mongering that has them looking to the government to provide safety and security in a world they believe is more immoral and less safe than ever.

  19. Re: The idea that people are more infantile today than yesterday.

    Guys, look around you. Here we are thousands of years after civilization first got started, and …

    People are starving TO DEATH in the world.
    We’re overfishing the oceans.
    We’re EATING the gorillas.
    We’re screwing up the planet’s actual weather.
    George W. Bush is the most powerful man in the world—and great numbers of people think that’s a GOOD thing.

    Despite the fact that people ten thousand years ago were every bit as bright as people today, it was only a few hundred years ago that we got a formalized practice of science. And even today, religious/superstitious people are STILL resisting every new advance.

    Hate to break it to you, but the vast “intelligence” of humans is just one of those hopeful stories we tell ourselves.

    I’m not kidding.

    If you’re a deeply thoughtful, open-minded, bright person, there’s a reason you feel misunderstood most of the time by the people around you—it’s because you live among the functional equivalent of shit-throwing monkeys.

    You’re an alien being to them, and if you think about it, you’ll realize that you get along with them, you fit in, ONLY BECAUSE YOU HOLD BACK THE BEST WITHIN YOU. Because you know they wouldn’t understand or accept the least little bit of it.

    If you started speaking your mind, telling them the facts as you know them, showing them how silly are the things they “believe

  20. If you’re a deeply thoughtful, open-minded, bright person, there’s a reason you feel misunderstood most of the time by the people around you—it’s because you live among the functional equivalent of shit-throwing monkeys.

    Well then!  I don’t know whether to feel relieved or depressed now LOL

  21. Someone has a superiority complex, and I’ll give you three guesses as to who it is.

    Myself aside, since I already know I’m a pompous ass.

  22. I did take umbrage of Stein’s comparison of J.R.R. Tolkien to R.K. Rowling, suggestive of someone who probably read “The Hobbit” and then couldn’t get past Chapter II of LOTR. 

    Nonetheless, I think everyone’s getting in just a bit too much of fit over a piece of criticism which was largely tongue-in-cheek as well as self deprecating, like when he says reading is hard and he only does it when he can’t evade it.

    James, 47yo jeans-wearing biennial LOTR reading, HP movie-watching dude.

  23. Hey, if reading stuff like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings is wrong, I dont wanna be right. Those books are some of the most creative, insightful pieces of literature that I’ve ever read, and I’m not gonna give it all up just because it seems ‘childish’. Hell, as far as ‘childish’ activities go, I’ve got that pinned down. Im 20 years old, I read Harry Potter books, I’ve read the LOTR book trilogy (and the hobbit), I own the movies to all of them, I play videogames on a constant basis and im an anime junkie to boot. To hell with what this nutbar thinks! I say we give him that one ring, tell him to wear it, then hide behind a rock as the ringwraiths chop him to bits. Sure, sauron gets the ring back, but it’d be worth it.

  24. Have to agree withBachelon – Harry Potters good…but I drool with anticipation over “A feast of Crows”come November! George.R.R.Martin….write that name down in your notebooks!

  25. but I drool with anticipation over “A feast of Crows”come November!

      I as well, Frumpa!!!  I might have to order from the UK so I can get it a couple of months early!

  26. the difference between US and UK editions? – Well as the US publishers considered the title of the first book had too many big words in it,i’d expect the worst…(Its called Philosophers Stone through-out the rest of the world).

  27. On the topic of Harry Potter, does anybody have a definitive list of how the UK and US editions differ?

    http://www.hp-lexicon.org/help.html#british

    the difference between US and UK editions? – Well as the US publishers considered the title of the first book had too many big words in it,i’d expect the worst…(Its called Philosophers Stone through-out the rest of the world).

    Actually, most of the differences are simply slang or cultural translations, nothing is really dumbed down. Same with the title. “Philosopher” was an oft used term for wizard or alchemist popularized by Crowley but it never made the journey across the pond.

  28. Is it nessesary though,to change an authors works on the grounds of cultural differences and slang though? – Its a British book thats doing better than ever,and some American could’nt deal with it without putting his own mark on it.

  29. Is it nessesary though,to change an authors works on the grounds of cultural differences and slang though?

    Alas, it probably is.  I’ve read a lot of C.S. Lewis, Arthur C. Clarke, and Neville Shute and just gradually got to where Anglicisms seem normal.  But to most American readers they are distracting.

  30. I was watching the movie version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda last night (with my kids..I’m justified. :-p) and was really amused by one scene.

    Matilda is sitting on a chair, reading Moby Dick, while her parents are watching a show that involves a guy in his underwear, a jar of honey, and flying dollar bills.

    The father becomes incensed, becaue Matilda is reading a book, instead of participating with the family in watching the television show—and after tearing the book up, subsequently forces her to watch the show, in a style remeniscent of Clockwork Orange.

    The scene encapsulated most of this discussion into a brilliant a 2 minute segement—and that it was in a children’s movie only makes it more ironic.

  31. Is it nessesary though,to change an authors works on the grounds of cultural differences and slang though?

    If the book was intended for an adult audience, probably not. This is a children’s book, however, and we can’t expect children to have the same experience with British culture and slang that adults do.

    Its a British book thats doing better than ever,and some American could’nt deal with it without putting his own mark on it.

    The decision to alter the books, from the very beginning, has been Rowling’s, not some American’s. And if she hadn’t made that decision, the books may never have gotten as populars as they are over here.

  32. Another Brit with a popular series of books that made the jump over the big pond was Douglas Adams and he too changed quite a bit of material in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books for the American audience. Much of it was more drastic than anything Rowling has done for her American versions.

    Adams apparently felt we couldn’t handle too much profanity as words such as “fuck” were changed to “Belgium” (in the scene about an award given for the most gratuitous use of a word in a serious film or play) and “asshole” was changed to “knee biter” (in the scene where Dent is insulted by the immortal alien). You can imagine my surprise after having read the Americanized books to listen to audio books of the British versions and hearing these words. The original versions are much more funny rather than just being weird like the American versions are.

  33. Well, what prompted my question was a short conversation I had with Terry Pratchett, occasioned by a book signing. I came away with the impression that some of his books had been edited for the U.S. market in ways he did not agree with.

  34. I cant say I like HP but I see its worth. I am a fantasy/sci-fi reader so wand waving annoys me. I get into arguments with my brothers about the interest of HP all the time though. However any one mindlessly bashing a book that millions(maybe billions/) of people have read or at least know about is just plain stupid. Obviously people liked it or people would not have read it. But by responding to his arguement you kind of make stronger in that you aknoladge it. If you simply ignored the shit apparent in it then he might, just might, have the grace to go away, tail between legs. Although, you lot do a good job of bashing that mindless crap. His artical reminds me a bit of closed mind religious whack jobs who cant accept anything they dont agree with. And then forcing it onto other people.

    Again I say I dont particularly like HP, or even think it is particularly interesting, but then again I dont find engineering/applied mathamatics particularyly intersting but look what its done… the car(that so many americans will stoop to giving a name), huge buildings, suspension bridges, planes, computers, and 80% of what makes these religious whack jobs life so much better in the twenty first century over the thirteenth century.

    Not to mention any fiction book could be called childrens books due to the fiction element—the fact that they are made up. Well, where would that leave us as humans. Some of the greatest literature(or what we percieve as the greatest) is made up. What comes to mind for me is Chaucer.

    People bashing books in general I think is wrong. If a book has been written it is at least worth consideration before being trashed. No matter whats in the book. Otherwise you would be as bad as the crap that may be in the book you are throwing away.

    Cheers BunBun

  35. However any one mindlessly bashing a book that millions(maybe billions/) of people have read or at least know about is just plain stupid.

    Oh, I don’t know about that.  Not books, necessarily but for several years running, Baywatch was the most popular TV show on the planet.  oh oh  Popularity of itself isn’t necessarily a sign of quality.

    That said, HP clearly has ignited many peoples’ imaginations on a far deeper level.  It has more than just popularity going for it.

  36. Anyone who hasn’t read the books needs to keep their pie hole shut until they do so.

    Opinion based on nothing is nothing.

    Opinions are valid only if you have the experience to back it up.

    Which, most of us learn around age 5. “I don’t like that!—Why not?—Because….”
    That whole line of thinking doesn’t fly with most adults when you’re a kid, so why would it fly now?

    Whadda dumbass.

    Let’s hope that great authors continue to write great books that inspire millions of people to READ!

  37. hello, i am new to this site and wondering what the difference is between the kids version and the adult versions of the harry potter books.

  38. hello again. i am considering bying the adult version for mi son for christmas and would like to know the difference between the harry potter adult version and the harry potter childrens version.

  39. HEY GUESS WUT? HARRY POTTER IS STUPID!!!!!! if you think harry potter is a good fantasy then u either need to kill your self or go out and read a real book! i mean come on J.k. rolling is almost as bad as C.S. lewis. harry potter is the dumbest crap ever and anyone that thinks its good needs to die!

  40. HEY GUESS WUT? . . . u either need to kill your self or go out and read a real book! i mean come on J.k. rolling

    O’Rly?!?  U r Teh SToopd 1. !!!

    ****

    [snicker]

    I’m quite sure that I’ll be buying it when it comes out, and reading it to my wife at bedtime, just like every other rolling [sic] book that has been published.

  41. Hey, I’m one of teh smartest peeple I know, and I’ll be buying it too!  Hermione rocks and roolez!

  42. We have two copies of the next book on preorder because there’d be too much strife over three people trying to share one book in this house.

    I am so smart. SMRT.

  43. I find your title very insulting…

    Harry Potter Fans ARE NOT STUPID

    Harry Potter is the boy being hunted down throughout his life by Voldemort. In Voldemort’s resurrection… Harry Potter still decides to take vacations and run after the girls in his school.

    Harry Potter lives in a world, where the ministry of magic is run by delusional leaders who stall in making an army to counter Voldemort, and in fact, leaves the counter-resistance of the very-feared-one-who-cannot-be-named by a secret organization numbering merely 30 people…

    My Friends… it is THE HARRY POTTER PLOT THAT IS STUPID

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