Recently in Popular Culture: Harry Potter Category

October 23, 2007

Handbags at dawn

There has been, as you might expect, some reaction from certain Christians concerning J.K. Rowling's revelation that one of her characters is gay. Not all the reaction is what you might expect though. John Mark Reynolds, a Creationistwho has weebled on about how delightfully Christian the Harry Potter books are is really, really upset, and insists that Ms. Rowling does not know her figment of her own imagination as well as he does. No way can Dumbledore be gay, he proclaims, and if he is, why did she not mention it earlier?

She wrote about Christianity openly by Book Seven, but if Dumbledore was gay, she decided to hide it. She hid it so well that there is no evidence of it.

But was it that well-hidden? In a comment on Making Light, Rob Hansen recalls a conversation with a literary critic:

I remember Roz Kaveney telling me at the time the book appeared that she read the Grindelward/Dumbledore relationship that way and that she figured Rowling had been careful to write it the way she had to forestall the howls of outrage from the usual far-right/religious reich cretins.

Comments elsewhere have linked to where Kaveney put that thought into writing but, naturally, I can't find any of them now. Nor does Reynolds' argument, that Rowling is no longer the sole "owner" of her own intellectual property, that coherent either.

No offense to an excellent author, but Dumbledore no longer belongs only to Rowling. He also belongs to her readers who have been given a series of books in which Rowling was free to say what she wanted to say.

Alas, for this argument, we have fanfic, where the readers take other authors' characters and write their own stories about them. If the fanfic is anything to go by, then the readers have concluded, in a loud and unanimous voice, that not only is Dumbledore gay (and probably really, really kinky with it), but so are all the other characters. And they're all at it with one another!

(via Pharyngula)

Catching up

Some stories I missed, or didn't get round to writing about:

  • A woman who falsely accused her father of raping her as a child after undergoing recovered memory therapy on the NHS has reached an out-of-court settlement with Tayside NHS. The treatment is responsible for a number of claims of Satanic abuse, though this case had no such elements. Settlement for bogus abuse womanBBC News, 20th October 2007.
  • It seems that it's not only the Roman Catholic Church which has been covering up child sexual abuse by its clergy. The Church of England has a similar problem. C of E child abuse was ignored for decades The Daily Telegraph, 22nd October 2007. (Thank you to Andrew Ian Dodge.)
  • OMFG!!!!! A fictional character is a poof! That should upset the fundies even more. Rowling Says Dumbledore Is GayNewsweek, 19th October 2007. (My favourite quote from J.K. Rowling on the matter is in the BBC News version of the story: Oh, my god, the fan fiction.)
  • The case of a Christian magistrate who resigned because his bigotry restricted his ability to do his job has reached an industrial tribunal. Christian JP forced out over gay adoption cases, tribunal hearsThe Guardian, 22nd October 2007. See also WWJD?: Lies and Blackmail!Prattle, January 26th 2007.

September 22, 2007

A Blast from the Past

England: Anyone old enough to have been involved in neopaganism in the UK in the 1980s will remember the Rev. Kevin Logan (a.k.a.Kev. the Rev.). The Anglican vicar spent a lot of time and effort promoting the Satanic Abuse Myth, and propogating outrageous lies about neopaganism. He fell from grace after a seriously disturbed woman, Caroline Marchant, committed suicide while in his care. R.A. Gilbert summarised the story:

Caroline Marchant professed to be a victim of satanic abuse and to have been involved in child sacrifice.... Her story, however, was utterly untrue.... Many of the 'satanic' elements in her story seem to have been derived from the work of Doreen Irivine (who counselled Miss Marchant at the Zion Christian Temple at Yate, near Bristol). What she needed most was psychiatric help, whereas what she received was spiritual counselling by fundamentalists who saw demons rather than a disturbed mind. In February 1990, while in the care of the Reverend Kevin Logan, Caroline Marchant committed suicide. (Gilbert 1993, 154).

Well, he obviously thinks no-one can remember him after 17 years, and is back having a go at Harry Potter. Nor does he seem to have spent the time learning anything about neopaganism, as he strangely seems to think that Rowling's books have something to do with it.

The Rev Kevin Logan, of Christ Church with Cannon Street, Accrington, said that JK Rowling's teenage hero has many similarities with Jesus Christ - but the author's references to paganism could lead children into danger...

The Potter epic encourages kids to be curious in an area that God forbids, he said. It is also an encouragement to the vulnerable and under-age to learn more of paganism and the occult, which have a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.

Obviously failing to look after someone in your care, and contributing to intense religious pressure on her to lie, to the point where she kills herself, does not give the Rev. Logan himself a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.

But there is a reason for his sticking his head over the parapet. In 1988, he published a book which he entitled Paganism and the Occult: A manifesto for Christian Action, in which he expounded, well, a load of complete bollocks. Gilbert (a Christian) was more restrained when he reviewed the work:

The author's aim is to provide the basis for converting occultists to Christianity, but his lack of objectivity and of factual accuracy remove credibility from his attempt. (Gilbert 1993, 177)

So, why do we think Kev. the Rev. is back to his old media-whoring ways?

Christian comment on the issue is being sought as Mr Logan prepares to update his book 'Paganism and the Occult'.

I wonder if they'll send the Prattle a review copy?

Vicar calls for Harry Potter debateThe Blackburn Citizen, 19th September 2007; Gilbert, R.A., 1993, Casting the First Stone: the Hypocrisy of Religious Fundamentalism and its Threat to Society, Shaftesbury, Element Books.

July 25, 2007

Harry Potter and the apostolic succession

Some more bizarre Harry Potter material has shown up in alt.conspiracy, and it has to do with the apostolic succession the Pope was going on about the other day.

In Three Apostolic Successions (op. cit.), the sorcery powers of Jesus were discussed. These sorcery powers were passed along to Peter. Peter later had a sorcery showdown with Simon Magus. So, it is worth noting that Harry Potter also reportedly has such sorcery powers.

Locally, last evening, at midnight (and matching the magical 7/11 date), the new Harry Potter movie premiered here. Naturally, this premiere was given a front-page headline spread, in the Champaign- Urbana News-Gazette.

But seeming to forestall the Harry Potter elevation of 7/11, Pope Benedict XVI invoked some counter-sorcery of his own. Raining on the Potter Parade, Pope Benedict XVI released a document on July 10th proclaiming the Catholic Church to be the only true church. This means, in other words, Harry Potter is not the Pope. I, Benedict, am the Pope.

A few days later, the same author elaborates on the hypothesis by identifying Potter's nemesis:

Papa bin Edict has begun spiritual warfare with Lord Voldemort (Vladimir Putin). The contest was joined roughly coinciding with the numerological date of 7/11, 2007.

So-called "Dementors" have defected from the Vatican and secretly work for Putin. Does a secret society, the Order of the Phoenix, oppose Putin and lend support to Papa bin Edict? Or are they part of a "Fourth Way"? Not clear at this time is the role played by Sirius Black (Serious Black), Barack Obama.

The Harry Potter connection becomes more tenuous after this, but there are some interesting bits involving goths, monks and sodomy. Finally, there's some kind of conclusion:

Also numerologically significant is the date 7/7, 2007. At that time, the nasty house elf Kreacher, disguised as Al Gore, prestidigitated a glamour to dazzle the eyes. Kreacher belongs to the Dementors, hostile to bin Edict and in league with Putin. When the Mother Earth Glamour sorcery flopped, this marked the subsequent sorcery battle escalations.

Harry Potter, vying with others for the papal crown, is allied with the sacred feminine. A subterfuge to cloak so-called conspiracy theories under the guise of fiction heralds the premiere of some new, acceptable, conspiracy magazine, possibly to be called The Quibbler.

Harry Potter, the Fourth PopeConspiracy Nation, 11th July 2007; Sorceries Of Papa bin EdictConspiracy Nation, 14th July 2007.

Update: The articles have now been posted to the Conspiracy Nation site, and the links have been updated accordingly. See, we even link to enemies of Cthulhu!

July 22, 2007

Bored now

There has been very little by way of interesting anti-Harry Potter rubbish to mark the publication of the last book in the series, but at last, I found some written by one Greg Farber. It seems that some early British socialists had the (very common) family name Potter, and this is grounds for a conspiracy.

Also the true Author of the wounded in the head, little Dark Prince Harry Potter was written by Richard Potter himself, The Lady J.K. Rowlings who claims to be the author is not at all, she was just given the job of editing and a nice title. Richard Potter a benifictionary of Sydney and Beatrice Webb who began the Fabian Socialist movement in England and they really intended to Socialize the World but began in a very small way. Potter was a very rich Rail road magnet who helped them with a lot of money. They sent Ramsey McDonald to the United States in 1895, touring the United States. He came back and said, The United States will never be Socialised until we can get rid of the State and Federal Constitution Ramsey McDonald became the future Prime Minister of England.

And who exactly was Richard Potter? The father of Beatrice Potter, who was born in 1858. That explains the turgid Victorian prose and the complete lack of any reference to anything modern in the books! Another paragraph from the article is interesting, too, and I think is meant as some kind of explanation:

The British Labor Party has been controlled by the JESUITS since its inception in the late 1800s. it has always advocated Home Rule for Ireland-as did British SIS Aleister Crowley!!Asquith, Lloyd George, and Labor-Loyalist Smokin Winston Churchill were all controlled by the Order via its Fabian Socialists, Like the American Republican Party, nothing good ever proceeded, or was allowed to proceed from British Labor–the true backers of the Soviet Russia's Bolshevicks and the Pope's Masonic Jewish Zionists ruling Israel's Labour party.

The author does not explain what the British Labor Party is - maybe some American organisation of ex-pat Labour Party supporters or something? Nor what it has to do with Harry Potter. The article ends with something which was debunked in Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind, published in the Prattle back in 2002.

J.K. Rowling uses imagery in her Harry Potter books contained in the Alchemy Book, “The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosendreutz��? written in 1459. Using such a obsure book, known only to the occult initiated, is one strong indication Rowling does practice Witchcraft.

As I pointed out five years ago, it's a Rosicrucian text, not and alchemical one, and available online. These days, there's even an English translation. Other fundies insist that the text is the single most important one, though it's obvious that neither interpretation is the case.

And that's not all. The same individual has written another piece which is even less comprehensible. Harry Potter and Hollyweird only mentions Harry Potter in passing, but "exposes" the terrible symbolism of recent Disney films.

Under Michael Eisner, the Walt Disney Co. ( Which has seen Walt's surviving nephew, Roy E. Disney, part ways with Eisner in disgust) has become one of the mass initiators of children through visual processing loaded with brazen occult themes. As one example, the animated film Atlantis contains a surfiet of OTO symbolism. ( Ordo Templi Orientis ) The cartoon character Scooby Doo has also been transformed into an evangelist for Witchcraft. In Scooby Doo and the witches ghost, kids learn that Sarah Ravencroft, buried long ago in a Puritan village, was really a Wiccan and that Wiccans were people who were in tune with forces of nature and used them for healing purposes.

Scooby Doo was originally a Hanna Barbera creation and is now a Warner Brothers character—nothing to do with Disney. Apparently the Da Vinci Code has made Catholic nuns turn to Wiccan practices, too.

Harry Potter, Socialism and the truthSun Valley Idaho Online, 19th July 2207; Harry Potter and HollyweirdSun Valley Idaho Online, 20th July 2207.

June 9, 2007

Tribunal to fundie whiner: bugger off!

United Kingdom: A teaching assistant who quit her job after refusing to let a child read from a Harry Potter book has lost her case for religious discrimination. Some interesting details of the case have emerged, including her strange beliefs about the books and their author.

She also said author JK Rowling was a 'real witch' and hearing the seven-year-old girl reading out spells from the story would leave her cursed...

She said: I said this because it is known that the subject of the Harry Potter books is white magic. The main character himself is a wizard who casts spells and uses the supernatural in order to triumph in various plots.

I do not believe that there can be such a thing as a mild form of witchcraft as the Holy Bible gives express instructions against some of the practices contained in the book and I therefore objected to the child reading this book to me. It would compromise my religious beliefs.

The tribunal also found that her other claims were not true, and that she had lied about the assistant headmaster insulting the Bible to her, and belittling her faith.

Harry Potter Teacher Loses Tribunal ClaimLife Style Extra, 9th June 2007; see also Teaching assistant wants compensation for her own biasPagan Prattle, 8th June 2007.

June 8, 2007

Teaching assistant wants compensation for her own bias

United Kingdom: A teaching assistant who discriminated against a child on religious grounds is seeking compensation for religious discrimination. Sariya Allen quit her job at a London school after she was disciplined for refusing to hear a child reading aloud from a Harry Potter book. She claims the books glorify witchcraft.

Ms Allen, 47, said the mother of a seven-year-old girl who was a fluent reader had complained to the girl's teacher that the book Ms Allen had given her was too easy.

The girl then chose a Harry Potter book from her reading folder, but Ms Allen refused to listen to her reading it because God had stated in the Bible that witchcraft was an abomination, she told the Guardian yesterday. The girl went home and told her mum. I also had told the teacher that I objected to hearing that book read because of my faith,Ms Allen said.

Teaching assistant quit in protest at Harry PotterThe Guardian, 8th June 2007.

May 30, 2007

LiveJournal say fans are pædophiles

LiveJournal: because reading fan fiction makes you a pedoThe People's Republic of LiveJournal: Internet Jihadists have declared war on LiveJournal, ostensibly for the sake of the chiiiiiiiiildren. The bampots at Warriors for Innocence (read the comments before clicking this link) claim to be dedicated to hunting pedophiles where they fester but in reality, they hate fandom and fan fiction. At least the effect of their actions has been to shut down a number of fannish communities devoted to writing about romantic trysts between fictional characters. Most badly affected has been Harry Potter fandom, even though Harry Potter has been over the age of consent in the country in which the stories are based since book 5. A list of banned fannish communities shows a number of Harry Potter related ones.

They also hate literature. One of the banned communities was a Spanish language one discussing the work of Vladimir Nabokov. Nor do they like discussion of sex and censorship, as the banning of porn_debate demonstrates.

And, as you might expect, our crusaders demonstrate a remarkable lack of intelligence. One of the banned communities was called lol_porn, but obviously they didn't look at it before complaining as it was for lolcat style postings using porno as a basis.

Other subcultures are worried. Fans of yaoi are concerned that they will be targetted, not just because of the existence of shōta (where the characters are underage), but because the somewhat effeminate characters can appear younger than they are in the story. The moderators of yaoi_daily and yaoi_daily_cafe have felt the need to set up a status page and make back-up plans.

So far, the Jihad has not noticed Gothic Lolita, which they are bound to misinterpret as soon as they do. The number of actual child abusers affected by the purge appears to be zero. Their victims, on the other hand, have grounds to be worried:

This is not a fandom-only issue. LJ's heavy-handed response threatens support groups and researchers. By telling users (after that fact and in contradiction to their own FAQ) that you can receive a permanent suspension, proactively, for having an "illegal" interest, pretty much everyone's at risk.

A Jihad Against Innocence LJ community devoted to protesting and fighting back against the extremists.

(written with a lot of help from Red Wolf)

Update (from Red Wolf): Naruto fandom is scared and the Jihad denies attacking innocent sites. They're all guilty. We're never wrong. And this list of naughty words suggests that Gothic Lolita has, indeed been noticed, and the comments suggest support communities are worried. The last comment references a 12th century Georgian poet—Shota Rustavelli.

May 29, 2007

Judge: Harry Potter to stay in school libraries

United States: An Atlanta judge has upheld the decision of local school officials and refused to ban Harry Potter books from school libraries in Gwinnett County.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor issued the ruling after hearing arguments from attorneys for the school system and from local mother Laura Mallory, who wants the books removed...

Mallory has tried to ban the books from Gwinnett County school library shelves since August 2005. She says she has never read any book in the series but says they are an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft.

Mother Loses Harry Potter, 29th May 2007.

Ugandan discussions on the occult

Uganda: We've all heard loads of loony fundie nonsense about the occult, and their lies fall on stony ground in North America and Europe these days. What's a bampot to do? Why, tell the same bollocks somewhere where they haven't heard it before, or at least not heard the debunking. The Sunday Monitor fell for it this week, printing an article liberally quoting from self-styled ex-Satanists

According to Roger Mugisha whose former life as a Satanist is the inspiration for Battle of the Souls, the fact that one is not aware that what they are wearing as an accessory or the picture on their clothes is an Occult symbol doesn't let the wearer off the hook. The signs will still be significant and the wearer becomes an advocate of the devil. With this statement, Roger Mugisha is shown a recent picture of the Nabagereka, Nagginda Sylvia Luswata at the Kabaka's birthday celebration.

Looking impeccable as usual, the queen of Buganda is wearing a blue dress, which bears a Ying-Yang symbol on the chest area. To a layman's eye and most likely herself, the Ying-Yang sign is only another artistic impression that makes the dress a lot more glamorous. But to one who knows about the occult signs, a Satanist or a former devil worshipper in this case, wearing this dress is no different from proclaiming your discipleship with the devil.

And of course, an anonymous youth pastor had to wade in in Harry Potter, even though he does not know the name of the books' author, nor that of the protagonist.

This youth pastor who declines to be named adds that books like the Harry Porter series, which openly uphold witchcraft and are packaged to sound seductive and fun for our children are also another route of spreading Satanism.

In the process, J.K. Rowlings (the author of the Harry Porter series) has become a billionaire by spreading the gospel of the underworld and also contaminated and probably converted a large number of our future leaders and law makers, he says.

The same pastor is also worried about rock music and goths.

Most young people start by innocently taking to rock music (especially). Before you know it they are emulating rock stars and taking to the gothic lifestyle; wearing only pitch black and scarlet red for clothes, accessories and make up. The numerous body piercing and tattoos come next.

Exactly how many goths are there in Uganda anyway?

The Occult: The signs are still out there...Sunday Monitor, 27th may 2007.

March 19, 2006

Harry Potter: The First Step to a Life in the Embrace of Satan

Vatican: Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, has warned that reading Harry Potter could lead young people towards Satanism. Bear in mind that the original source was that great bastion of fact-checking, The Sun.

By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil, he was quoted as saying.

You start with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil.

There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.

In 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) reportedly wrote two letters to a critic of the Harry Potter series.

It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly, he wrote.

By Satanism he no doubt means that children may learn to read, think for themselves and question the insanity spouted by the recent crop of frock-wearing troglodites who claim to filter the word of their imaginary friend to the great unwashed masses.

Vatican exorcist warns of Harry Potter [BugMeNot] - Sydney Morning Herald, 3rd March 2006.

August 1, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Dead fictional character on toast

Red Wolf points out an auction which will be of great interest to those who found the Prattle by searching for harry potter porno, harry potter vampires and harry potter porn. Or perhaps not, as it doesn't feature anything vague pornographic or have anything to do with the undead.

But, the auction itself is full of spoilers for the sixth book, so if you intend to read it, do not read any further!

July 22, 2005

It takes one to know one

Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wildhunt Blog is having fun with fundies who are eager to accuse him of all the things they do.

A few days ago I wrote an entry pointing out a logical fallacy in a article about Christian reactions to Harry Potter. But author Richard Abanes (whom I quote in the post) feels that I am the one committing a fallacy, specifically that I have set up a strawman to tear down.

Those of us who are thoughtfully concerned about Harry Potter are NOT committing the loigical fallacy you cite. Instead, we are saying other things that you apparently missed in your rush to find a logical fallacy.

Actually, this is the fallacy I pointed out:

According to Retail Trends, interest in Wicca materials, schools, spells has doubled since the release of the Harry Potter series.

There is no hard evidence linking a rise in the interest in Wicca to the popularity of Harry Potter. No matter how much correlation (including Wiccans who believe the books lead seekers to them) you document it still doesn't imply causation. That is a fallacy. In pointing out this fallacy I wasn't trying to erase the validity of concerned parents, I was pointing out that Harry Potter can't be used to claim a spike in sales and interest in Wicca. There is no strawman there.

His fundie correspondent, who apparently writes books on the evils of Harry Potter, then proceeded to accuse Pagans and Wiccans of specifically targetting children, because (unnamed) books on Paganism happen to mention Harry Potter. Of course, this is just an excuse to promote his book.

you quote me as saying: "Many real-world occultists and Wiccans are using the popularity of Harry Potter to bring kids into their practices." But this, my friend, is not a logical fallacy, it is a statement of fact--big difference. If you were to do a little research, you would find that Wiccans, occultists, and assorted neopagans have now produced books and other non-fiction (and fiction-based) materials that target children and use Harry Potter as a lure of curiosity (explicit references to HP, etc.). Documentation is in my book "Harry POtter, Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings" (I assume you DID read it before commenting, right?).

You can line up a hundred real-world (as opposed to what, imaginary) occultists and Wiccans but it still doesn't imply causation in the issue of Harry Potter driving people to Wicca. I know that there are books that use Potter-influenced themes written by Wiccans and occultists but that is mostly a case of Harry Potter becoming such a hugely popular book, before Potter Wiccan authors referenced other works of fantasy to make a point or to sell more books. Also is every book referencing Harry Potter targetting children? Harry Potter is also hugely popular with adults (so I hear).

Of course, Christians would never countenance targetting vulnerable members of society who are only learning to think for themselves and distinguish good information from bad. Not like those evil Wiccans who are only slightly more evangelical than Zoroastrians.

My Fallacy Is Made of Straw? - The Wildhunt Blog, 19th June 2005. See also Harry Potter and the Fundamentalist's Mind - Pagan Prattle, Samhuinn 2002.

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