Dumbwatch: Emma MacDonald on Harry Potter

Posted Tuesday April 17, 2007 by Nick Caldwell in |

The Australian attempts to spin up some high-velocity moral outrage about Harry Potter with Emma MacDonald’s op-ed piece, Harry’s Magic Wearing Thin.

MacDonald suggests that the depiction of the Potter characters’ growing pains constitue Rowling’s endorsement of juvenile misbehaviour: “It’s as if Potter author J.K. Rowling is insinuating that cheating, plastic surgery and spiking drinks is acceptable.”

In the real world there are signs of a deep waywardness. Could there be any connection with the news that 10 children between the ages of 12 and 14 were recently arrested in Lancashire, England suspected of smashing 230 windows of the train used in the Harry Potter films?

No, Emma, I doubt it.

As if this battiness is contagious, US scientists have now come up with “a workable design” – not to tackle poverty or drought – but for an invisibility cloak that head researcher at Indiana’s Purdue University Vladimir Shalaev says “would work exactly like Harry Potter’s”.

Because, of course, every other scientist in the world was working on poverty and drought before Harry Potter came along.

The research I’ve done suggests that the craze has really been adults pretending to get carried away (rushing to buy it for themselves or their kids, who more often than not put it on a shelf without reading it) rather than children themselves.

I’d really like to take a look at MacDonald’s methodology. I’m sure she conducted her research most scrupulously.

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