Sorry, So Sorry...
Edgar J. Steele
I'm sorry, so sorry,
Please accept my apology...
November 2, 2001
Well. I've rarely had to
apologize for something I have written, let alone posted to this list, which
is, as advertised, "politically incorrect" (unlike the lamentable TV
show carrying that name).
Maybe I should call up Bill Maher and
chew him out for having degraded the phrase "politically incorrect,"
because its true meaning seems lost on many of us. But, that's a
discussion for another day.
I am truly sorry...really, truly, awfully,
terribly sorry...that I resorted to subtlety and sarcasm. I should have
said it straight out. Let's rectify that right now: anybody
who thinks that the Harry Potter books are occultist and likely to corrupt the
children reading them is a complete and utter moron. Doubly so if
that person has not, his or herself, actually read at least one of the J. K.
Rowling best sellers, which seems to be the norm for those who criticize them.
Come on, admit it. It played
better as subtlety and sarcasm, now didn't it? I thought the business
about Goofy and Pluto was really funny, too. Sigh.
Not sure I have gotten more
outlandish criticism of anything I have written since the seventh grade.
More, even, than I get from the Chosen when I dare talk about the real reason
the WTC got destroyed, though many will sit slackjawed in disbelief at that
statement. Incredible. Simply incredible. I would have
thought that fundamentalist Christians had spent enough time in the box
to be a bit more tolerant of divergent points of view.
A sampler of the negative comments I
"The things you mention in rebuttal are fun, but
Harry Potter is not just fun. It is a teaching tool for demonic
"(Y)ou ignore the Potter warnings at YOUR OWN
"I got the impression that you were trying to
make fun of the Bible and the man from Wisconsin that told about the Harry
Potter Books. I can't believe that you were not intelligent enough to
see the evil in the books yourself."
"You are just plain sad for thinking like
this. I am glad my children will never have to meet a bigot like you!!"
"I don't like the stench that comes with
mocking the truth. . . please remove me from your email list."
"I thought you were more intelligent than
As an aside, some actually took the
piece straight, as though I actually found it reprehensible that Donald Duck
wears no pants. I'm going to give those poor souls the benefit of the
doubt and presume they just skimmed the essay, thereby missing my point
The ones I want to talk to (and about) today are those who so
vehemently disagreed with my obvious belief in the Harry Potter books' being
harmless and entertaining fare for America's children: Get a grip.
You know who you are. Take the tinfoil off your head (yes, we know you
have secretly lined that baseball cap with it) and let the breeze of
original thinking trickle through the dendrites and synapses.
"Digging ditches," we
called it in elementary school. There was this fellow who spoke to
my fifth-grade class (I think he came through from some encyclopedia
company and hoped to sell a set to all our parents) and explained to us
how learning worked. "Your brains are perfectly smooth when you are
born," he said. "As you learn things, tiny little wrinkles
develop. The more you learn, the more wrinkles you get, until your brain looks
like this." Whereupon, he whipped out a plastic (did they have
plastic in 1955?) brain, causing all the girls to squeal with disgust while us
guys made manly sounds. This fellow then handed out bookmarkers and
buttons, all of which said, "digging ditches in the brain."
Weird, huh? Guess that's why I remember it. So, let's dig some
ditches today, folks.
Here's the punch line: Just
because someone cloaked with the authority of a church says something, doesn't
make it so. Too bad we didn't learn that back when so many innocent
girls were burned at the stake in Salem. Pastors, reverends, fathers,
whatever - they are just people, and as such do not have any
particular inside track to the workings of God's mind. Sometimes, like
most psychiatrists, they are even worse at their chosen profession than the
unwashed, it seems.
Do I have to remind you of Jimmy
Swaggart, caught in that motel room with the hooker? Or Jim Bakker,
caught with his hand in the till (up to his armpit, at that)? Or the
Bagwan Shree Rajneesh (up to his burnoose in Rolls Royces)? Or the
Reverend Jesse Jackson (Church of the Unholy Shakedown)?
Okay, now, sit down. This is
going to shake you. I became an ordained minister about 25 years ago.
I presided over a marriage two years ago, believe it or not. I have
actually read the Bible. Twice, in fact. I once was enrolled in a
college master's degree program entitled "Mysticism and Comparative
Religion" (I quit when I realized I was merely learning about
enlightenment, rather than becoming enlightened). I tell you this only
to establish that I have more than a passing familiarity with things
religious. Why, I could call myself the Reverend Steele, or Pastor Ed,
or any of a number of things. Would that put my pronouncements on a par
with so many who do call themselves such?
As many know, I am particularly
protective of free speech. That necessarily includes speech other than
my own. In particular, it means speech that I would not, in a hundred
years, sign on board with, too. That means speech that conservatives
don't like, too. That means books, of course.
(1) Because there is no Christ-like
figure or good guy in the books, they are, ipso facto, anti-Christ.
(2) Because the books are not as
innocuous as Winnie the Pooh, they are bad.
(3) Because Harry and the villain
share some personality traits, rather than being the personification of good
and evil, respectively, the books are bad.
Pretty hard to argue with reasoning
like that, if only because it is so nonlinear. I am not even going to
bother. It simply isn't fair to fight someone (and a battle of wits is a
fight, make no mistake) who is unarmed.
Take it from Pastor Ed, who has read
them all: The Harry Potter books are merely good fun and top-notch
reading material for the youth of today. Updated morality plays for a
modern culture, free of any demonic influence or unholy alliances. Bless
you, my children - go forth and sin no more.
The Pastor from Wisconsin who panned
them started out his diatribe by noting that he used to be a card-carrying
witch (I'm not making this up). That's why he claimed to have such
insight into the evil lurking within the covers of the Harry Potter books.
Think about that a moment. He says he used to be a witch.
Right. Was he deluded then or is he deluded today? Give me a
break, boys and girls. Wake up and smell the bullshit.
Yes, there is evil in the world today
and it is all around us. Some of it manifests in small-minded demands
for narrow thinking and book burning...from both ends of the political
spectrum. But very little is actually in books. Books are ideas,
words on paper. It will not hurt you to be exposed to new ideas.
On the contrary. The harm comes from being possessed by any
idea, old or new, rather than possessing it. Dig those ditches,
kids. Dig, dig, dig.
Besides, Nancy Drew and the Hardy
Boys aren't pulling kids away from the TV sets anything like Harry does.
Just in the nick of time, too, because I was about to completely write off the
current generation as being terminally illiterate.
Gah. I hate putting out such a
major plug for Rowling's work, since I don't think she is particularly gifted
as a writer. In particular, her usage of dialogue is clumsy. But
she has created an entirely new genre of children's books and that is
We all have our limitations.
Obviously, I don't do subtle and sarcastic very well.
"I didn't say it would be easy. I just said it
would be the truth."
Copyright © Edgar J. Steele,
Forward as you wish.
Permission is granted to circulate
individuals and groups, post on all Internet
sites and publish
in full in all not-for-profit publications.
Contact author for
all other rights, which are reserved.
Write to me at
Make a difference! The Patriot Civil Liberties Union (PCLU) needs your support
to continue its work fighting for the right of Americans to be free of government tyranny at
all levels and for restoration of the US Constitution as America’s guiding charter. Please mail donations to PCLU, PO Box 1255, Sagle, Idaho 83860. Credit cards: PayPal.com for Donate@PCLU.org; or click the button to the right...