Groovin’ to the oldies
I used to buy the Sunday Star Ledger for three reasons: Roger Harris’s book reviews, Paul Mulshine’s articles, and Prince Valiant (been reading Prince Valiant since early childhood, and I still love it, but I digress).
Roger has now retired. Paul and PrinceV. remain.
The Ledger has come up with good articles every so often. But the Star Ledger still manages to come up with nostalgia-focused op-eds, like this gem, The awful truth about Harry by Charles Taylor.
As an aside, just last week a member of the Star Ledger referred to bloggers as “childish and immature”, not knowing that I blog. The best way I could prove him wrong was to totally ignore that remark.
Taylor believes Bush = Valdemort. Obviously he’s been drinking from the same water-cooler as the bushhitler crowd, but I wonder how long it took him to come up with that brainstorm. Still, he claims that
It would be cheap (and, for an American, narcissistic) to reduce the meanings of “Harry Potter” to a political metaphor. (George W. Bush as Voldemort? That’s too easy.)
Not as easy as noticing that the media forgets to use the word “terrorist”, especially if deadly deeds are done by suicidal Islamofacists. Like Voldemort, those words shall not be named.
Taylor says, about the movie HP&tGoF and the book HP6,
what links the two works is that they speak to the emotional tenor of a time when the dominant mood is dread.
To some of us, the dominant mood is defiance, but never mind that. Taylor’s fondly groovin’ to the 1960s soundtrack:
It was a moment like this, a moment when the very notion of good intentions seemed poisoned, that inspired the Rolling Stones to write “Gimme Shelter,” a storm warning of the trial and heartbreak and horror that lay ahead in the era of Vietnam.
But it’s a song from the year before, Fairport Convention’s 1968 “Meet on the Ledge,” I also hear in my head when thinking about where the Harry Potter series is now. The song speaks to the threatened camaraderie of Harry, Hermione and Ron, being an elegy to dreams dashed at an age before one should experience such things. The song speaks of losses already endured (“Too many friends who tried/Blown off this mountain in the wind”) and the promise of reunion tied inextricably to the specter of death (“when the time is up I’m going to see all my friends”).
At the end of “Goblet of Fire” Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore says that what awaits us is the choice between what’s right and what’s easy. Fine words, but words that could be seized on to justify any of the simplifications used to explain our current predicament.
Taylor can’t seem to be able to grasp “any of the simplifications” that, as Hitchens put it,
A globe-spanning war, declared and prosecuted against all Americans, all apostates, all Christians, all secularists, all Jews, all Hindus, and most Shiites,
not simply “our current predicament”, is taking place now, in the 21st century, not 40 years ago.
Update While pondering old songs, Betsy’s Page links to a debunking of old myths about Vietnam, and those who fought.