Sunday 28 October 2007

Harry Potter and the (vain) Search for the Philosopher's Brain

In the world of Hogwarts there are certainly inequalities. But at the same time, since culture is open to all, Hermione – the child of Muggles – can outperform Malfoy, the child of wizards.

So what appears as elitist is in fact real equality, as opposed to the false equality of the Muggles. In this, Harry Potter is a war-machine against Thatchero-Blairism and the 'American way of life'.
So says left-wing French philosopher (oh dear, oh dear, oh dear) Jean-Claude Milner, speaking on the day that the last Harry Potter novel was released in France. He added that:
Reading it, one can see that J.K. Rowling -- like many cultured English people -- believes there was a real Thatcherite revolution, that it was a disaster, and that culture's only chance is to survive as an occult science.
Which rather ignores the point that British culture was not destroyed by Margaret Thatcher, but by generations of leftist "intellectuals" attacking all notions of cultural worth, partly through their doctrine of multiculturalism, but mainly through their conserted effort to destroy all notions of high culture, to assert that all forms of "artistic" expression are equally valid (think of the kind of trash that, year-on-year, wins the Turner Prize, for example, while any artist who attempts to produce anything of any value whatsoever is denounced as "kitsch", or dismissed as someone who "paints pretty pictures", or, worst of all, accused of being "old-fashioned"). It is the left, not Thatcherism (or even "Thatchero-Blairism", whatever that is), which has been in the vanguard of the attack on culture.

But the eminent philosopher, that worthy heir to the mantle of Aristotle, has more pearls of wisdom up his sleeve:

According to Mr Milner – a professor of linguistics at Paris university – the scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in which Harry's aunt is blown up like a balloon is a satire on Thatcher.

"Here we can see a reference to [the film] The Great Dictator by Chaplin, featuring an all-powerful middle class figure gone mad.

And one cannot help but note that the aunt is called Marge – a clear allusion to Thatcher."

Um, "a clear allusion"? Really?

Marge is short for Marjorie. Not Margaret. And I have certainly never heard anyone refer to Baroness Thatcher as "Marge". Had the character been called Maggie, he might almost have been one-hundredth of the way to having a valid point. As it is: he's talking merde.

However, while the professor is clearly either mad, stupid, or, most probably, both, he does make some valid points about the extent to which culture has been undermined (I would agree, for example, with his belief that education is good in itself, rather than simply as a means to an economic end), even if he wrongly blames the right for doing the undermining, and wrongly implies that it will be the left that will save it.

As a further point of interest, I would add that this is not the first time that a lefty has used the Harry Potter stories to illustrate their point. Dumb Jon has previously recorded Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti using the boy wizard to illustrate a point about torture, while, in the aftermath of JK Rowling's recent outing of Dumbledore, a spokesman for the homosexual organisation Stonewall practised torture on a defenceless victim, when he said:

It shows that there's no limit to what gay and lesbian people can do, even being a wizard headmaster.
Sadly, satire was left so badly injured by the treatment he received at the spokesman's hands, that the decision was made to turn off his life support machine...

Frankly, it's just bizarre the way the left seems obsessed with finding deeper meanings in what is no more than a rather successful set of children's stories. And Professor Milner's intervention, with its blatant factual inaccuracies, is more bizarre than most. Still, what else do you expect from a twenty-first century professor of linguistics? The cancer of post-modernism has been eating away at universities across Europe and America for forty years, and this is the result: legions of professors who spout utter crap, the actual intellectual content of which would disgrace an educationally subnormal five year-old, but who routinely denounce those who disagree with them as being "anti-intellectual".


Heresiarch said...

"I know of no statement so absurd that it hasn't been said by some philosopher" -- Cicero.

This isn't just a modern (or indeed postmodern) phenomenon.

Homophobic Horse said...

"the actual intellectual content of which would disgrace an educationally subnormal five year-old,"

Things are getting really bad. That statement is not a joke.

bernard said...

Just as well Winnie the Pooh was'nt written recently or AA Milne would be accused of being scatological!

Well written critique, FR.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Milner is on the right trail. JK Rowling is a Communist! The Harry Potter series is about Cultural Marxism. I point you to this thread started on Vox Day at his "Passion and Potter". When you go press Ctrl+F, type in 'wheeler' and find all my posts on the subject. It is turning into a book but start at the beginning and it will walk you thru.

Anonymous said...

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