Thursday, February 7, 2008

David: Harry Potter and the Glaring Lack of Wizardkind’s Collective Social Conscience

Today during lunch, the conversation turned to logical inconsistencies in popular entertainment. All kinds of movies require the audience to take large leaps of faith in order remain engaged in the storyline and enjoy the show. Can dinosaurs really be made from DNA taken from the blood sucked out of fossilized mosquitoes? In order for me to realize my life-long dream of riding on a pterodactyl, I can only pray that they can. But to really enjoy the movie, we all have to overlook that potential snag and get ready for the people-eating. In the end, no one gets hurt from the suspension of disbelief. Science may suffer briefly, but people aren’t looking for old tree sap to clone another T-Rex. Everybody wins.

                                                   
                                                               If only…

Unfortunately, things are not always so harmless. Eventually, our lunchtime babbling focused on Harry Potter. (Harry Potter, for those who don’t know, is about a physically and emotionally scarred little boy who undergoes the trials and tribulations of adolescence. All the while, Harry fights some unspeakable evil that is really scary, yet somehow manages to be continually defeated by the power of love and unicorns and stuff. Forgive or correct me if that is wrong, but that’s the story as I know it.) Now, I am not entirely familiar with all of the rules of the wizard world or the guidelines J.K Rowling imposes on what wizards can and can’t do, but I’ve seen most of the movies, read some of the books, and have a general idea of what’s going down in Candyland. And as far as I can tell, Harry Potter is a terrible influence on today’s youth. Forget all of the religious conservatives that see the series as sacrilegious or anyone that may think believing in magic gives children false hopes or distorts their sense of reality. My major complaint is the blatant lack of a social conscience displayed by witches and wizards to those outside of their magical kingdom.

Wizards, it appears, can do whatever the hell they want. They can fly on brooms, conjure random shit out of midair, make food with magic, heal people, and do a million other things that could be ridiculously useful. Yet they never seem to apply their prodigious talents to saving non-wizards. What ‘s up with that , Harry et al? Basically, the next 10-plus years of my medical education will be spent learning to do things some magical person could do with unintelligible gibberish and the flick of the wrist. There would be no starvation, no disease, and no embarrassing ascites. The Gates Foundation’s philanthropic efforts would border on puppy-kicking in comparison to what a few wizards could do. Need a house/school/new pony? No problem, I’ll whip one right up! Oil conflict? Let me conjure a Hummer H4 that runs on baby laughter. If a normal person walks down the street, sees an accident, and fails to help in a situation where he might be reasonably expected to lend a hand, it's negligence. Jerry, Elaine , George and Kramer went to jail for that shit. Yet wizards let genocide happen without batting an eye. It's like one community-sized Milgram experiment gone wrong. On a more personal level, just today, on the way back from lunch, my friend got pooped on by a bird. Even now, I can see the solitary tear welling up in his eye. Magic could have stopped that from happening.

What are you teaching our children, J.K.? That it’s OK to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people who aren’t magical? That fighting some random bald dude who looks like a snake excuses one from addressing the greater problems of the world? I for one am saddened. For shame, J.K., for shame.

(On a mostly unrelated side note, how exactly do wizards decide what creatures are special or magical? Is it completely arbitrary? Everyone knows that dragons and centaurs are magical, that’s just common sense. What about alligators? They’re basically modern dinosaurs, but wizards don’t seem to give them much respect. Duck-billed platypi? Those mammals can lay eggs, for Xenu’s sake! Sounds like advanced witchcraft to me. And if talking is a general prerequisite – which it seems like it shouldn’t be – who’s to say the platypus can’t talk? I sure as hell haven’t ever seen one. I know I wouldn’t underestimate anything that looks like this:

                                       
                                                    How is this guy not magic?

I bet the platypus wouldn’t have let the bird poop on my friend…)

1 comment:

M said...

Hello from down under in Aussie land. Platypi (platypuses? Platypussi? Oh dear) aren't actually that interesting. Seriously. Not worth the $24.50 it costs to stare at it.