Harry Potter: We Better Believe It’s Real

19 11 2010

Is the new Harry Potter movie life imitating art?

Do you need to know who said this, about whom, when and where, to believe it?

The world is a dangerous place. It has never been more so, or more complicated, more straining of the reasoning powers of those with actual genius and true judgment.

. . .The era we face, that is soon upon us, will require a great deal from our leaders. They had better be sturdy. They will have to be gifted. There will be many who cannot, and should not, make the cut. Now is the time to look for those who can. . .

It’s not a time to be frivolous, or to feel the temptation of resentment, or the temptation of thinking next year will be more or less like last year, and the assumptions of our childhoods will more or less reign in our future. It won’t be that way.

We are going to need the best.

(It was Rita Skeeter’s real-world counterpart, in Rupert World’s Wall Street Journal.)

No need for a night at the movies, to experience a war-riven world without real grown-ups, this “bleak, perilous grown-up world that tests the independence [we] have struggled to obtain” in an “especially somber and scary coloration.”

Childish things have been put away — this time there is no quidditch, no school uniforms, no schoolboy crushes or classroom pranks — and adult supervision has all but vanished. . . . Harry and his companions must rely . . . above all, on one another.

. . . Hermione for her part, seems lonelier than ever. She has broken entirely with her Muggle parents, expunging herself from their memories to prevent them from being caught up in an increasingly vicious intrawizard civil war. . . .

Time to put away childish things including the fiction that school is preparation for real life, instead of Dark Art in itself. Time for serious leaders to do serious work in serious ways.

Small screen queens billed as real moms tweeting and dancing like bears animated by corporate control set up to seem like America’s “votes” are really dangerous only if we believe it’s real. Harry Potter is dangerous only if we don’t..

Watch tv and see the new movie, or not, but get the picture.

And then act, for real.

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What School Movies Have Affected Your Life?

17 10 2009

Which ones are personally most memorable, for good or ill or just as powerful story-telling?

After posting that video clip from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie the other day, I was stunned that Lynn has never seen it thus doesn’t have it in her frame of reference as we talk about School Ideas — what an impact that movie had on me as a schooled girl, seeing it in the theatre in 1969! [shudder]

School stories in both book and movie form have always stuck in my mind. (We can do just books later if you want.)

Harry Potter obviously, and Maggie Smith is a teacher in those school movies too, 40 years after she was in her Prime, eerie huh?

Sidney Poitier’s To Sir With Love was another high-impact, early-influence school film for me. Later there was Robin Williams’ Dead Poets Society.

And for no easily explained reason I remember the power over my thinking of an obscure late-night movie about high schoolers who got pregnant before abortion was legal, called Blue Denim. I think it was an impossibly young and blonde-ponytailed Carol Lynley, never saw the film again anywhere but it’s definitely loomed large in my frame of reference ever since.

How about you and school movies that really affected you and stayed with you? And what about your kids?