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Harry Potter and the Decline of the West (Spengler)
Asia Times ^ | Jul 20, 2005 | By Spengler

Posted on 07/18/2005 9:57:30 PM PDT by Eurotwit

What accounts for the success of the Harry Potter series, as well as the "Star Wars" films whence they derive? The answer, I think, is their appeal to complacency and narcissism. "Use the Force," Obi-Wan tells the young Luke Skywalker, while the master wizard Dumbledore instructs Harry to draw from his inner well of familial emotions. No one likes to imagine that he is Frodo Baggins, an ordinary fellow who has quite a rough time of it in Tolkien's story. But everyone likes to imagine that he possesses inborn powers that make him a master of magic as well as a hero at games. Harry Potter merely needs to tap his inner feelings to conjure up the needful spell.

"Tonstant Weader fwowed up," Dorothy Parker reviewed A A Milne's "Pooh" stories in the New Yorker, and I am sad to report that reverse peristalsis cut short my own efforts to read J K Rowling's latest effort, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In any event I am less interested in reviewing the book than in reviewing the reader.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but complacency is the secret attraction of J K Rowling’s magical world. It lets the reader imagine that he is something different, while remaining just what he is. Harry (like young Skywalker) draws his superhuman powers out of the well of his "inner feelings". In this respect Rowling has much in common with the legion of self-help writers who advise the anxious denizens of the West. She also has much in common with writers of pop spirituality, who promise the reader the secret of inner discovery in a few easy lessons.

The spiritual tradition of the West, which begins with classic tragedy and continues through St Augustine's Confessions, tells us just the contrary, namely, that one's inner feelings are the problem, not the solution. The West is a construct, the result of a millennium of war against the inner feelings of the barbarian invaders whom Christianity turned into Europeans. Paganism exults in its unchanging, autochthonous character, and glorifies the native impulses of its people; Christianity despises these impulses and attempts to root them out. Western tradition demands that the individual must draw upon something better than one's inner feelings. Narcissism where one's innermost feelings are concerned therefore is the supreme hallmark of decadence.

A culture may be called decadent when its members exult in what they are, rather than strive to become what they should be. As God tells Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust, Man all too easily grows lax and mellow, He soon elects repose at any price; And so I like to pair him with a fellow To play the deuce, to stir, and to entice. [1] What characterizes the protagonists of great fiction in an ascendant culture? It is that they are not yet what they should be. The characters of Western literature in its time of flowering either must overcome defining flaws, or come to grief. Austen's Elizabeth Bennet must give up her pride; Dickens' Pip must look past the will-o'-the-wisp of his expectations; Mann's Hans Castorp must confront mortality; Tolstoy's Pierre must learn to love; Cervantes' Don Quixote must learn to help ordinary people rather than the personages of romance; Goethe's Wilhelm Meister must act in the real world rather than the stage. Goethe's Faust I have long considered the definitive masterwork of Western literature, first of all because its explicit subject is the transformation of character. As Faust tells Mephisto, Should ever I take ease upon a bed of leisure, May that same moment mark my end! When first by flattery you lull me Into a smug complacency, When with indulgence you can gull me, Let that day be the last for me! That is my wager! [2] Failure to correct defining flaws, of course, leads to a tragic outcome, as in Dostoyevsky or Flaubert. More consideration is required to portray characters who change rather than fail, to be sure; that is why the late Leo Strauss thought Jane Austen a better novelist than Dostoyevesky. Finding the right partner in marriage, after all, is the most important decision most of us will make in our lives. Whatever good we otherwise might do has little meaning unless another generation draws its benefit, and that character of the next generation depends on the character of the families we might form. If we take inventory of all the married couples we know, how many of them can be said to have done this with due consideration? Courtship is a high drama that should keep our teeth on edge. Instead, we relegate the subject to the genre of romantic comedy, and to the consoling familiarity of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

The more one wallows in one's inner feelings, of course, the more anxious one becomes. Permit me to state without equivocation that your innermost feelings, whoever you might be, are commonplace, dull, and tawdry. Thrown back upon one's feelings, one does not become a Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker, but a petulant, self-indulgent bore with an aversion to mirrors. To compensate for this ennui one demands stimulus. That is the other ingredient in J K Rowlings' success formula. Magical devices distract us from the boredom inherent in the characters, and one cannot gainsay the fecundity of the author's imaginative powers. She manufactures new enchantments as fast as Industrial Light and Magic churns out new computer-generated graphics for the "Star Wars" films, or amusement parks erect faster roller coasters.

Pointy hats, it should be remembered, were made to fit on pointy heads. Rowling's fiction stands in relation to real literature the way that a roller coaster stands in relation to a real adventure. The thrills are cheap precisely because they could not possibly be real. The "boy's own" sort of adventure writing popular in Victorian England had a good deal more merit.

When we put ourselves in the hands of a masterful writer, we undertake a perilous journey that puts our soul at risk. Empathy with the protagonist exposes us to all the spiritual dangers that beset the personages of fiction. In emulation of the ancient tale in which a seven days' sojourn among the fairies turns out to be an absence of seven years, Thomas Mann sends Hans Castorp to the magic mountain of a tuberculosis sanitarium - but it is the reader is captured and transformed.

We are too complacent to wish upon ourselves such a transformation, and too lazy to attempt it. We find tiresome the old religions of the West that preach repentance and redemption, and instead wish to hear reassurance that God loves us and that everything is all right. We have lost the burning thirst for truth - for inner change - that drives men to learn ancient languages, pore over mathematical proofs, master musical instruments, or disappear into the wild. We want our thrills pre-packaged and micro-waveable. Above all we want our political leaders, our pastors, our artists and our partners in life to validate our innermost feelings, loathsome as they may be. I do not know you, dear reader; the only thing I know about you with certainty is that your innermost feelings would bore me.

Western literature, along with all great Western art, is Christian in character, including the product of a putative heathen like Goethe, whom Franz Rosenzweig correctly called the prototype of a modern Christian.[3] It is Christian precisely because it deals with overcoming one's "inner self". A jejune Manichaeanism pervades the Potter books as well as the “Star Wars” films, and I suppose a case could be made that such a crude apposition of Good and Evil corresponds in some fashion to the emotional narcissism of the protagonists.

In that sense, Christian leaders who disapprove of the whole Potter business simply are doing their job. According to some news reports, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, disparaged Rowling's books in a private letter written two years ago. But according to NZ City on July 18, "New Zealand Catholic Church spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer says there is some question over the validity of the letter. She says more importantly, Vatican cultural advisors feel the book is not a theological work and is just plain children's literature. Ms Freer says it's wonderful children are being encouraged to read, and the Potter books are no different from the likes of Grimms' Fairy Tales and Star Wars." How reassuring it is that the ecclesiastical authorities of Auckland have taken the initiative to correct the pope on this matter.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: gotpantiesinawad; harrypotter; lionstigersbearsohmy; run4yourlives; skyisfalling; spengler
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To: retrokitten
but the author says he hasn't even read the books so I doubt it.

I lost interest in the second paragraph. Who the hell writes this way? The title should be a giveaway that the author is a pompous ass.

151 posted on 07/19/2005 9:37:37 AM PDT by js1138 (e unum pluribus)
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To: SamAdams76

He's a Roman Catholic. Or, a Comin' Wratholic. Take your choice.


152 posted on 07/19/2005 9:37:38 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
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To: Eurotwit

Help is available, Mr. Spengler. Dial 1-800-GET-A-LIFE.


153 posted on 07/19/2005 9:37:57 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: Junior
LOL!

Really? Wow!
I guess the wonks at the Ernie Douglas Institute of Advanced Dorkosophical Studies will be asking for my membership card back.

I have a lot of catching up to do in Ghostbusterosophy 101!

Is there a Cambridge Companion to Ghostbusters? Does it come with flying green Jello?

Courtesy of The Ernie Douglas Fan Club

154 posted on 07/19/2005 9:42:39 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Billthedrill
I do think that the overall issue of magic - or magick, or majick, or a basketball player named Johnson - has a good deal to do with the desperate hope of the powerless for some means of bringing the powerful to their knees through some means that is at once mysterious, obscure, omnipotent, and nonexistent.

Isaac Asimov once classified such notions into six broad "Security Beliefs":

1. There exist supernatural forces that can be cajoled or forced into protecting mankind.
2. There is no such thing, really, as death.
3. There is some purpose to the Universe.
4. Individuals have special powers that will enable them to get something for nothing.
5. You are better than the next fellow.
6. If anything goes wrong, it's not one's own fault.

155 posted on 07/19/2005 9:44:48 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: retrokitten

I always figured DD was some kind of degenerate. I'm taking back that nefarious HP book and locking my kid in a closet until he gets older.


156 posted on 07/19/2005 9:47:04 AM PDT by Gone GF
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To: dsc
Who are a tiny fraction of the population.

In the real world, geniuses are a tiny percentage of the population. Are you opposed to education programs specifically designed to hone their special ability?

157 posted on 07/19/2005 9:53:45 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: RogueIsland
What accounts for the success of the Speed Racer series, as well as the "hot rod" films whence they derive?...

LOL! You ought to expand that into an article. I bet you could get it published.

158 posted on 07/19/2005 10:01:15 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: Kermit the Frog Does theWatusi; Tax-chick

"Now, Chip, if I catch you or Ernie reading my Playboys or any of those
sick Harry Potter books again, you can kiss those electric guitars goodbye!"

159 posted on 07/19/2005 10:07:12 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

My Bill just checked another HP out of the library today. (Anoreth turned up her nose.) I have a Regency Romance, talk about the decline of civilization :-) ... but wait, aren't Jane Austen's novels Regency Romances?


160 posted on 07/19/2005 10:09:52 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: Tax-chick

Hee, hee. Have they modernized Nancy Drew yet - i.e., put her in low-cut skanky Cristina Aquilera/Britney Spears clothing?


161 posted on 07/19/2005 10:12:32 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity

I recall a scandal a while back when new editions gave her a modern hairstyle and a visible figure.


162 posted on 07/19/2005 10:13:57 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Democrats ... frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.)
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To: steve-b
LOL! You ought to expand that into an article. I bet you could get it published.

I hate to admit this, but it's not far removed from the sort of stuff I churned out for papers in college. It seemed to work very well, and I'm not sure if there was always this unwritten acknowledgement among the professors that "yeah, we know this is all intellectual auto-eroticism, but that's the way the game is played."

163 posted on 07/19/2005 10:23:27 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: dsc
I think this is the best article yet on the subject, and I think it lamentable that pride or lack of education seems to prevent some from giving it fair consideration.

Well said!

164 posted on 07/19/2005 10:30:55 AM PDT by Chief_Joe (From where the sun now sits, I will fight on -FOREVER!!!)
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To: All

Dear Lord, I hate dim little Harry...now "1776" - there's a book I can sink my teeth into! Better yet check out "April 19 - the first day of the revolution". It is very detailed, even giving insight into the hygeine and culinary habits of the forefathers...


165 posted on 07/19/2005 10:35:31 AM PDT by whitecastle1968
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To: Tax-chick
Somehow you get the sense that Nancy Drew in a thong, doing volunteer work for Planned Parenthood, and casting wiccan spells is sort of...inevitable.
166 posted on 07/19/2005 10:43:56 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Eurotwit
The answer, I think, is their appeal to complacency and narcissism... everyone likes to imagine that he possesses inborn powers that make him a master of magic as well as a hero at games.

Good point.

167 posted on 07/19/2005 10:46:22 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: dsc
By the way, how many times did you see Farenheit 9/11?

Is this the level of argument that you want to sink to??? Really scraping the bottom there, FRiend.

What is it, just a desperate attempt to deny that intelligent, educated people could possibly disagree with you?

I invite people to disagree with me. This forum would be the conservative version of the goosestep party known as DU if we all agreed on anything.

He's got special powers that the school is merely refining and developing.

...which requires study and effort, and does not always yield results. There are a few spells which Harry cannot successfully cast--if you were familiar with the book, we could discuss what that says about the kind of boy Harry is.

And along the way, we see him breaking school rules, disobeying teachers, lying, and doing things that the dumb old teachers couldn't get done.

Most of the actions that you have cited are not glorified at all. In fact, it shows Harry to be a pretty common teenage prat. And no, he does not go unpunished or unscathed for his digressions.

(me) "I have no problem with discussing controversial aspects of the books"

(you) "Yeah, you do."

No, I do not. We have different goals. I am enjoying a discussion--I am, really. If I weren't, I'd be weeding the flowerbed or something. You are trying to convince me that you're right and I'm wrong. Different goals. I am not insisting that you must read the book. That is no different than telling someone that they must NOT read the book. When it comes to specific content of the book, however, having read it helps when arguing a point.

I sure hope that the F/11 crack was uncharacteristic on your part.

168 posted on 07/19/2005 10:53:57 AM PDT by grellis (Ravenclaw, class of '87)
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Dude! The guys talked about carrying "unlicensed particle accelerators" on their backs. The weapons, themselves, are referred to as "proton packs." Protons are positively-charged subatomic particles. Seing has how they are charged particles, it's pretty obvious why the "beam" is more like a lightning bolt.

Ya just gotta pay attention more closely to tech in the movies like us nascent gear heads.

169 posted on 07/19/2005 10:56:00 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
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To: steve-b
Isaac Asimov once classified...

LOL! Do you have any quotes from L. Ron Hubbard too?

170 posted on 07/19/2005 10:59:25 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Junior

Hence, the "joke" and non-serious flippancy in the prior response. The descent into absurd silliness from Potter kitsch is a riot! Love it!


171 posted on 07/19/2005 11:01:20 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Junior

How do you think Harry Potter would hold up vs. Gozer? Like Rick Moranis, running around barking?


172 posted on 07/19/2005 11:05:13 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity

Depends upon his answer when she asks him if he's a god...


173 posted on 07/19/2005 11:11:18 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
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To: Alkhin
I'm a huge fan of Tolkien. My oldest son--the one currently reading the HP books--wanted to read The Hobbit last summer, before he began second grade. After the first few pages, I could tell he was becoming very frustrated. The language is still too advanced for his age (at the time, he was not quite seven). I had him set the book aside; I didn't want him to be put off of Tolkien. It'll keep. I had the same hesitation as you did with GoF and the successive books. Our discussions have lengthened, certainly. He knows it is fiction. He has a very matter-of-fact way of discussing the books. He enjoys the adventurous aspects more than the magic. He loves quiddich. He doesn't get very emotional about the stories, though. To him--and to so many other kids who are blessed with parents who guide them through literature--they are just stories.

When we talk about the Crucifixion, when we discuss how God sacrificed His Son so that our sins may be forgiven, he cries. Always. He knows that it is real. It touches him in a way that fiction never will.

Next time I read LOTR (it's been a few months, after all!) I'll keep in mind what you've said about the different POVs. I've never noticed that.

174 posted on 07/19/2005 11:14:42 AM PDT by grellis (Ravenclaw, class of '87)
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To: spinestein; Rightfootforward

(RFF: Maxa ping)

Harry Potter is about as nefarious as The Three Little Pigs. At its core, it's essentially the same story. Overpowering forces exist; be prepared, be smart, do right, and you can win out in the end.

The author of Potter got a lot of inspiration on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland she said in a recent interview.

Coincidentally, Rudy Maxa, travel writer who has a PBS travel show, just aired his trip to Edinburgh in my market last week. Old Edinburgh legends and folklore would point a very imaginative writer toward a Harry Potter character. Hulking dreary ancient buildings there could easily be imagined as a school for wizards. There's even an "Apprentice Column" in a church in Edinburgh, a much better column than others in the church created by an apprentice whose work so angered the jealous master sculptor that he tried to kill the apprentice.

Though Maxa said nothing about the similiarity to the Potter books, the seeds are all there for anyone to see. I guess that good Christians should never visit Edinburgh, Scotland, the last outpost on the road to hell.


175 posted on 07/19/2005 11:17:56 AM PDT by Veto! (Opinions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: Junior
Depends upon his answer when she asks him if he's a god...

LOL!

His character seems flexible enough that he can be worked into a variety of absurd and high-weirdness situations. I'd like to see Harry Potter worked into the famous "Gorn" episode of Star Trek.


176 posted on 07/19/2005 11:22:03 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: dsc
They are functional morons, and yet they are convinced that they are among the best and the brightest. The frightening thing is that they may be.

A chilling post. Especially since teaching kids "to think" no longer retains any elements of logic.

177 posted on 07/19/2005 11:24:06 AM PDT by Veto! (Opinions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: Eurotwit
Spengler is a condescending, elitist twit.

From this review of (the readers of) Harry Potter books, he exudes contempt for those who are looking for escapist literature.

When I was younger, I loved reading, because I was brought up on Edgar Rice Burroughs and C.S. Lewis, as well as Heinlein's juvinile books. I "graduated" to "real" literature, but I never lost my love of escapist stories.

Sometimes it's nice to read something that just takes you away from where you are, and what you're doing. I find myself spending at least 4 hours a day reading: Mostly technical and system administration manuals, network protocol guides, and trying to understand just what the heck the network architects at Microsoft were doing... I just started reading a little ditty titled "Mastering Windows Server 2003," a light read at a bit over 1700 pages. Hopefully, I'll have it finished in the next week.

Believe me, once I'm finished with my first Microsoft test (I'm scheduled to take my first Windows Server exam a week from Friday), I'm going to be ready to read the new Harry Potter book, to get as far away from computers as possible. And it will be with something I can sit back and enjoy as fun, rather than something "good for me." Something I can read over quickly, without having to look for any hidden meanings. Look, I could go back and re-read "The Oddesy," Dante's "Inferno," or another of the classics, but I'm looking for something light and fun.

Mark

178 posted on 07/19/2005 11:29:44 AM PDT by MarkL (It was a shocking cock-up. The mice were furious!)
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To: Junior

179 posted on 07/19/2005 11:30:43 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Free Vulcan
I think this guy is right on.

Rowling has nothing on Tolkien.

Agreed, but they are coming from two completely different places. While I love Tolkein, let's face it, to really "get it," with Tolkein, it takes some work. Tokein actually created middle earth because he felt that England had been "cheated" by having no indiginous (sp?) mythology. Sure, there's Beowulf, but that doesn't really compare with the Norse, Greek, or Roman mythos, does it?

His was a decades long work to come up with an entire mythos.

Rowling wrote a story about a little wizard.

They're both wonderful (IMHO), but in entirely different ways. And I'm one of those guys who "poo-poo'd" the whole "Harry Potter thing" while the LOTR movies were coming out. I never even saw one of the movies until after the Return of the King movie was released. I had no interest in the HP movies or books. But I saw the first movie on cable, thought it was pretty good, decided to read the book, and I was hooked!

Mark

180 posted on 07/19/2005 11:37:26 AM PDT by MarkL (It was a shocking cock-up. The mice were furious!)
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To: dennisw
This Draco character in the HP books is a stand in for reptilians. The author has been stealing from David Icke.

An educated woman, with a degree in classical literature and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of legend and folklore, steals her ideas from a two-bit conspiracy theorist? Riiight.

No one ever thought of using a snake as a symbol of evil before Icke. </sarcasm>

181 posted on 07/19/2005 11:39:25 AM PDT by RansomOttawa (tm)
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To: RansomOttawa

What HP book first has Draco in it? And what reptilian chracteristics does Draco have?


182 posted on 07/19/2005 11:43:28 AM PDT by dennisw (WON)
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To: stinkerpot65
Star Trek is pure Marxism.

Given the technology in the "Star Trek Universe," I don't know that would really be the case.

You need to remember that given the sort of technology they "have," there really aren't any economic models in our "real universe" that would actually corespond...

Imagine unlimited cheap power supplies, based on anti-matter. Combine that with the replicators they have. If you can create anything of value (gold, jewels, etc...) using a replicator, any sort of a standard economy would collapse. Nothing would haven any sort of commercial value any more.

Again this doesn't necessarily lead to marxism. But then it wouldn't lead to any sort of realistic economic model that we would have either.

Mark

183 posted on 07/19/2005 11:45:40 AM PDT by MarkL (It was a shocking cock-up. The mice were furious!)
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To: dennisw
What HP book first has Draco in it? And what reptilian chracteristics does Draco have?

Make your point, assuming you have one.

184 posted on 07/19/2005 11:50:29 AM PDT by RansomOttawa (tm)
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To: FreedomSurge
"Oft times wrong but never fails to make you think."

Yeah, he makes me think he has not read the books and is totally unfamiliar with the material he is critiquing.
185 posted on 07/19/2005 11:50:45 AM PDT by yuleeyahoo
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To: Durus
Saw the movies, and didn't see much complexity there. I could be wrong, but it looks like Harry was born good and Draco born bad. Maybe there's more sublety in the the later books (Harry has trouble living up to his mission), but plenty of critics agreed. Harold Bloom was pretty nasty -- probably too nasty, but other reviewers had a similar impression. I'm not saying it's horrible or bad for kids -- It's good that they're reading, and probably doesn't hurt them at all -- just that it's not the thing for adults.
186 posted on 07/19/2005 11:53:30 AM PDT by x
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To: Junior
Ya just gotta pay attention more closely to tech in the movies like us nascent gear heads.

There are some of us who are pretty much hopeless like that... During the Sandra Bullock movie, "The Net," when she was tracing the IP address of the "bad guys," they showed the results of her trace, and without thinking I blurted out, "That's not a valid IP address!"

I couldn't believe I did that, and neither could anybody I was with that day! I wonder why I don't get invited to movies any more...

Mark

187 posted on 07/19/2005 11:55:07 AM PDT by MarkL (It was a shocking cock-up. The mice were furious!)
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To: RansomOttawa
No one ever thought of using a snake as a symbol of evil before Icke. 181 posted on 07/19/2005 2:39:25 PM EDT by RansomOttawa

LOL!

See #176 (above). The "Gorn" (reptilian lizard man) from a Star Trek episode circa 1968 thereabouts.

188 posted on 07/19/2005 11:55:52 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Veto!

For convenience sake, I offer Harold Bloom's commentary on Potter. It mirrors my own 100%. Yes, yes, I know. I'm a curmudgeon, a party pooper, and likely a mugwup. Can't be helped. It's in my DNA.




From Dumbing down American readers By Harold Bloom, 9/24/2003:
What's happening is part of a phenomenon I wrote about a couple of years ago when I was asked to comment on Rowling. I went to the Yale University bookstore and bought and read a copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." I suffered a great deal in the process. The writing was dreadful; the book was terrible. As I read, I noticed that every time a character went for a walk, the author wrote instead that the character "stretched his legs." I began marking on the back of an envelope every time that phrase was repeated. I stopped only after I had marked the envelope several dozen times. I was incredulous. Rowling's mind is so governed by cliches and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing.
But when I wrote that in a newspaper, I was denounced. I was told that children would now read only J.K. Rowling, and I was asked whether that wasn't, after all, better than reading nothing at all? If Rowling was what it took to make them pick up a book, wasn't that a good thing?

It is not. "Harry Potter" will not lead our children on to Kipling's "Just So Stories" or his "Jungle Book." It will not lead them to Thurber's "Thirteen Clocks" or Kenneth Grahame's "Wind in the Willows" or Lewis Carroll's "Alice."


189 posted on 07/19/2005 11:59:44 AM PDT by Rightfootforward
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity; RansomOttawa

Snake in the Garden of Eden.

And isn't David Icke the one who thinks that the English Royal Family, the Bush family, and pretty much everyone in power are actually all lizards wearing people suits ala "V" staring Kirstie Ally?


190 posted on 07/19/2005 12:00:21 PM PDT by retrokitten (www.retrosrants.blogspot.com)
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Hmmm. My sarcasm tag seems to have scarpered, so I don't know how to take your response.

Of course, I was thinking a touch farther back than Star Trek, anyway . . .

191 posted on 07/19/2005 12:00:44 PM PDT by RansomOttawa (tm)
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To: dennisw
What HP book first has Draco in it? And what reptilian chracteristics does Draco have?

Draco Malfoy is in the first book, and he (and his father) are members of "Slitherin" house.

Mark

192 posted on 07/19/2005 12:00:59 PM PDT by MarkL (It was a shocking cock-up. The mice were furious!)
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To: dsc

Agreed.


193 posted on 07/19/2005 12:01:21 PM PDT by denydenydeny
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To: retrokitten
everyone in power are actually all lizards wearing people suits ala "V" staring Kirstie Ally?

Nerd alert: You are thinking of the beautiful Jane Badler, not Kirstie.

194 posted on 07/19/2005 12:07:01 PM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: MarkL
If you can create anything of value (gold, jewels, etc...) using a replicator

Nerd alert 2: replicators cannot reproduce "gold-pressed latinum", hence its value as a currency medium in Deep Space 9.

195 posted on 07/19/2005 12:09:07 PM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: RogueIsland
Nerd alert: You are thinking of the beautiful Jane Badler, not Kirstie.

I'm a big nerd, but for different reasons. LOL I watch too much E! True Hollywood Story. Kirstie Ally was in Star Trek 2.

196 posted on 07/19/2005 12:13:05 PM PDT by retrokitten (www.retrosrants.blogspot.com)
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To: RansomOttawa; retrokitten
Uh...yeah...I do remember something about that "Eden" story. LOL! [irony]

The...uh...Star Trek allusion was itself somewhat tongue-in-cheek and bewitched with whimsicality and silliness. Sort of like Captain Kirk's outfits.

Something about snake bites and venom may have a connection on the anthropological level. Although the rumors of snake men and/or lizard men extraterrestrials always keep things interesting and lively! An Ickes/Potter hermeneutics delivers.

197 posted on 07/19/2005 12:13:13 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: dsc
One of my objections to HP is the same one I have to "The Karate Kid." In KK, the wimpy little twit finds a teacher who teaches him how to short-cut past the years of hard work that are (in reality) required to obtain any such skill.

Having read the books, can't say that I agree with you there. Hogwarts (the Wizardry school the characters attend) is a very intense seven-year school. The book clearly points out the enormous amount of homework that needs to be done and students are routinely in their dorms until well past midnight catching up on it all. Many of the teachers are portrayed as ruthless and as having little tolerance for slackers in their classrooms.

On the other hand, I completely agree on the "Karate Kid." Those movies always annoyed the hell out of me for the same reason you describe. Also the "sensi" in the Karate Kid movies was obviously overweight and probably had trouble climbing a set of stairs in real life.

198 posted on 07/19/2005 12:13:52 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (Need a Waffle House in Massachusetts)
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To: Tax-chick
He could be a nuclear engineer with a secret identity as a rock star who saves the world from George Soros.

Sounds like the plot of "Buckaroo Banzai".

199 posted on 07/19/2005 12:17:31 PM PDT by LexBaird (tyrannosaurus Lex, unapologetic carnivore)
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Something about snake bites and venom may have a connection on the anthropological level.

I think it's just cause snakes are icky. (Icky, get it?? HAhaha! Okay, nevermind)

200 posted on 07/19/2005 12:17:49 PM PDT by retrokitten (www.retrosrants.blogspot.com)
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