Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Reading is fundamental. Or evil. Whichever.

So I've been busy lately. I had a stack of excellent books I've been working my way through. And no, it didn't include THAT one. Because. Surprisingly. I keep forgetting to go pick it up. Really.

Sure, I hear you thinking: "How could you possibly forget to pick up your copy of Harry Potter? Why didn't you have it shipped? Blah blah blah."

And here's the reason: I went on-line and read the spoilers. I know how ends. Supposedly. So I'm not in any real hurry.

Yeah yeah yeah. I cheat. BFD.

It won't diminish the magic of the story for me though. It's like with any movie that has a dog, I won't watch it unless I know the dog's fate. "Is the dog gonna die?" I always ask. I need to be emotionally prepared for the outcome. I don't want to be surprised if someone I have come to love is going to die.

Same reason I stopped going to psychics. And stopped reading my horrorscope. (Purposely typo'ed. Don't write me about it.)

But get this. Last night my neighbor was over and we were watching the news. One clip mentioned the weekend sales total of the current Potter and it reminded me. "Oh shoot", I said, "I've got to go pick up my copy of the book soon......" ( I had pre-ordered but there's an expiration date on the voucher.)

My neighbor became very still and I could feel something going on. So, of course, I just had to stir the pot. I then added, "Man, I wish I just had $1 from each book sale. That J.K. Rowling really raked it in on those books. I wish I had the talent and imagination to write like that." And my neighbor quietly replied, "It's because she wrote about the devil."

Blink blink


I know my mouth dropped open. And I know my neighbor belongs to one of those weird Christian churches. And I know that she's never even read an excerpt from the book but merely believed when her preacher decried it as "EVIL". One letter short of DEVIL.

But is she implying that an author is hugely successful only if they sell their soul to the devil? Or writes about him? Puhleeze.

(BTW, it's the same neighbor who once said to me that if it's not in the Bible it does not exist and I retorted "What about microwaves and color tv? They aren't in the bible and I have them in my own house. I know they are real." Sorry. Couldn't help it. I love my neighbor but I can't stand to hear crap parroted like that. Or the devil made me say it. One of those reasons.)

So come on. You know I had to reply this time too. "Harry Potter is not about 'the devil'. But it is the story of good versus evil. Many books throughout history contain the story of good versus evil and never talk about the devil. MOST books, in fact, are the story of good versus evil. (and the clincher...) THE BIBLE IS THE STORY OF GOOD VERSUS EVIL AND THE BIBLE TALKS ABOUT THE DEVIL."

(Yeah. Explain the success of THAT one.)

Anyway, I knew that would get her and she couldn't argue with my point. She didn't say too much about it after that. She murmured about magic or witchcraft or something. I think. I'm pretty sure she rolled her eyes though.

My neighbor usually comes over to watch some popular shows on tv with us. I wanted to tell her to pick a tv show. Any detective show. Cops versus murderers and rapists. Good versus evil. Right? Are they hugely succesful because the writers and producers sell their souls?

Hmmmmm. On second thought. It is Hollywood. And there is Tom Cruise. Maybe I need another example to prove my point.

But it did remind me of something my father once told me.

My dad loved watching westerns. He must have seen every cowboy movie ever made. At least twice. Sometimes though, in more recent years, they were interspersed with whatever movie was K's film du jour, which as any parent knows, is the movie that is watched over and over and over until you can recite the dialogue in your sleep. AND hearing the songs will now cause your ears to bleed.

One such movie was The Lion King (1994). (Are you thinking of an Elton John song now?)

My dad told me that every western, and probably every other movie as well, was the retelling of the story of "The Lion King". A children's story of good versus evil. He was right too.

Think about it.

Simba, the good guy, the hero, the protagonist. Scar, the bad guy, the antagonist. Mufasa, the sage, the advisor, the old champion. The Hyenas, the evil minions. Nala, the girl, or the horse depending on the western. Timon and Pumba, the comic relief.

Every western. They are all there. Pick a movie. Pretty much any movie. Pick a POTTER movie. You'll find them in there as well. Good versus evil.

Harry Potter is the Lion King. But without all the singing.

Wait a minute. That thought IS diabolical indeed.

Ah well. Such is life.

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