Leave it to the French to get snooty, even about children’s books.
Last month a French professor from Nice wrote an article in La Monde denouncing Harry Potter (search) novels because of their "individualism, excessive competition and a cult of violence." The professor expanded on his ideas in The New York Times last weekend, saying: “The fictional universe of Harry Potter offers a caricature of the excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model… Hogwarts [Harry’s fictional wizard school] is a pitiless jungle where competition, violence and the cult of winning run riot.”
What really burns this Frenchman is that capitalists look good in the books, while bureaucrats look like, well, bureaucrats. He’s in a tizzy about the “ritual complaints about the rigidity and incompetence of bureaucrats… Their mediocrity is starkly contrasted with the inventiveness and audacity of some entrepreneurs, whom Ms. Rowling never ceases to praise.”
The only one to come to Harry’s defense is another French socialist, who ironically sees in Potter the exact opposite of what her colleague sees. To her the world of Harry Potter present “a ferocious critique of consumer society and the world of free enterprise." Harry Potter, according to this analysis, is "the first hero of the anti-global Seattle generation.”
Ah, the French.
And that’s the Asman Observer.
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