Friday, July 11, 2003
Some poor woman, A.S. Byatt, a British writer, has dared to critique J.K. Rowling and poor Harry Potter for not being cerebral enough. Her criticism seems to flow out onto the general populace and its inane pastimes, as well as into the halls of academia, where she accuses higher education of watering down the literature of the ages with popular culture and cultural studies. It does read like the "younger generation is going to the dogs" attributed to Socrates. I agreed with the points about cheap junk on television, in the movies and in popular press, but that is nothing new, just new media for junk. In her defense it should be said that in Britain one does have the freedom of speech, and she has a right to her own opinions. The resulting flap is one she no doubt expected after attacking a popular icon of the age. Harry Potter still remains one of the best series of books to come out of anywhere in a long long time, and I look forward to my turn at book 5.