Wednesday, 25 June 2003

Harry Potter and the fascist bully-boys

by Rod Liddle

It was a hot day in June, the hottest of the summer so far, but my two children did not shirk from building the bonfire, nor flinch as the candy-orange and chimney-red flames leapt higher and higher. They poked and prodded furiously. It was a proud and emotional moment for me, their dad, to see political commitment and activism developing so early on in life.

They were engaged in burning all of their Harry Potter books, of course - and their Harry Potter videos and Harry Potter mugs, broomsticks, posters and T-shirts. I suspect, after having absorbed a Guardian treatise on the work of JK Rowling - and subsequent contributions to the letters page - your children were similarly occupied over the weekend. If not, come on, mum and dad, get with the programme - have a little word, huh?

"They don't celebrate Rosh Hashanah or Diwali at Hogwarts," Wilder, aged three, explained to an inquisitive neighbour who was leaning over the garden wall and quietly choking on the smoke. "And are you aware that in the entire Harry Potter canon there isn't a single disabled child?"

"Differently abled, I think you mean, Wilder," corrected Tyler, aged five. "But it's the blatantly racist depiction of the house elves which bothers us most. Rowling seems to be sanctioning both the brutal, exploitative system of slave labour and the iniquitous racial segregation which existed within the antebellum plantations in the deep south of America until the latter decades of the last century."

"It wouldn't surprise us much," added Wilder wryly, "if her next book was called Harry Potter and the Annexation of the Sudetenland. Come on," he screamed, turning back to the fire, "burn, you Nazi bastards."

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