November 26, 2010

"I am no fan of Ann Althouse, but I had to admit to a shudder of recognition when I read her criticism of liberals last week."

Says Maria Bustillos. She quotes this from me:
What is liberal about this attitude toward other people? You wallow in self-love, and what is it you love yourself for? For wanting to shower benefits on people… that you have nothing but contempt for.
Then she says:
This may not be such a very good description of liberals in general but it is an excellent description of J.K. Rowling. In the “touching” climactic scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the house-elf Dobby has been “liberated” by, and now sacrifices himself to save, Harry Potter & co. The house-elves as depicted in the movies are horrifyingly pathetic, small, cringing, grateful; the sad, brave little creature Dobby literally expires with the name of Harry Potter on his lips. It’s like freedom is the gift of the chosen ones to bestow, and those thus benefited can die of gratitude and be “properly buried," which really, there is this long burial scene complete with Harry Potter and shovel. It’s a perfect illustration of the “liberal condescension” that conservatives are always yodeling about, and it made my hair stand on end.
I haven't been following Harry Potter. Can anyone explain that?

95 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

I asked you just a few days ago:

Does Harry Potter open the gates to evil or not?

Charlie Martin said...

Yeah, but I think Maria is contorting herself to avoid some things. House elves are like slves or indentured servants. Harry, by not knowing how they "should" be treated, starts treating Dobby like an equal; he gives Dobby an article of clothing, which breaks the magical bond that keeps him indentured.

Magical families may pride themselves in keeping their house elves well -- although, of course, naked -- but what makes Dobby so well-inclined toward Harry is when he becomes able to choose for himself.

rhhardin said...

The point reminds me of a passage from Vicki Hearne in Animal Happiness

"Sometimes I think he would pity his bracemates, were he not enough of a gentleman to know that they would rather die than be pitied."

Hearne is a lefty. She just winds up writing on the right most of the time, without noticing it.

Jay Retread said...

Corporations can now give secret campaign donations and have the ability to dominate our politics and government like never before.

Labor unions are now all but finished. You can count on Walker pushing to add Wisconsin to the "right to work" state list.

Corporations own 99% of TV, radio and newspapers.

Republicans are going to redistrict Democrats off of the map.

And Althouse gets to continue to pretend that she is all so cutting edge by throwing her lot with the powerful.

Palladian said...

Hey look, Denver/L.E. Lee/&c has a new name!

Retread is right...

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

For analogy, think of Dobby as Gunga Din, Harry as the narrator of Gunga Din, and Bustillos as the sort of humorless leftist who's never happy with a work of fiction unless it celebrates the overthrow of religion and the triumph of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie.

Well, OK, that last clause isn't an analogy, it's a description.

chuck b. said...

I thought liberals were about self-loathing, not self-love, with all that guilt and shame gnawing at them from the inside.

chuck b. said...

At least the white ones.

Jay Retread said...

Dear Palladian,

Althouse will not like you linking to a post that states "It appears that calling Ann's old friend a "dumb bitch" is okay on Althouse but cracking that Ann does not seem to have any friends besides Meade, who is on retainer, gets you booted."

I would suggest we try to raise the piscourse in this thread.

Deal?

Jay Retread said...

piscourse = discourse. LOL

bagoh20 said...

"Corporations own 99% of TV, radio and newspapers."

What's your alternative? I bet if Jesus bought a TV network or newspaper he'd form a corporation to do it.

Matthias said...

I'm not sure what Ms. Bustillos is really talking about. In the books, the attitudes towards house elves are very straightforward. Those who hold them in contempt either have them as slaves or treat them as slaves. Those who treat them as equals (like Harry and virtually every protagonist) don't have contempt for them at all... Dobby is loved as a friend and equal (hence the touching burial scene).

What Prof Althouse is talking about is an attitude that is a pernicious blend of these two positions. In terms of the Harry Potter world, it would be as if a character wished to free the house elves, but did so only to receive accolades from Harry and his friends when, on a personal level, that character wouldn't be caught dead conversing with or associating with the elves. Such a character would advocate freeing house elves because doing so made them feel warm and cozy inside and helped them look good to all the right people, not because they recognize the actual value that the elves themselves had.

Jay Retread said...

Media used to be owned by families and small media focused companies. Now almost all media is owned by just a few international corporations. True small government conservatives will come to rue this fact some day.

Palladian said...

L.E. Retread, uh, you wrote that comment, honey. You see, the site I linked to is just a feed of all the comments written by a particular Blogger profile number. Your blogger profile number is 10551607322231833310. What backtype shows is all the comments that have been posted by 10551607322231833310. Changing the display name of your blogger account does not change your profile number. Therefore, even though you change your display name more often than you change your underwear (at least bi-weekly), all of the comments posted under all of those names still all link back to one profile: yours, whoever you are.

Being a naturally-brilliant "liberal" I'm surprised that you couldn't figure that out by now.

Piscourse, indeed.

PatHMV said...

She's completely missing the point. Dobby was enslaved. Harry Potter tricked his master into releasing him. Dobby is understandably grateful to Harry Potter for doing so. Note that Potter himself was never Dobby's owner or master; this is not some perverted gratitude to a slave-holder belatedly giving a slave something which was the slave's right to begin with. It is the gratitude of the oppressed to his liberator.

As a liberal, Bustillos would of course find this cringe-worthy, because the liberal world-view celebrates the perpetual victims, but never those who actually liberate the victims from their victimhood itself. She sees the liberators as "chosen ones" who are "bestowing" freedom on the victims, rather than as courageous individuals fighting against the evil which is actually enslaving its victims.

Unfortunately, I fail to understand what she thinks she is saying. To me, her attitude and description is itself an excellent illustration of liberal condescension toward Dobby, incapable of believing that Dobby is motivated by higher-level emotions and motives such as courage, and fighting for a cause greater than him, insisting instead that his devotion to Potter is more akin to Stockholm Syndrome. Does she think that Potter is displaying liberal condescension towards Dobby?

Trooper York said...

Wait, let me get this straight.

Harry Potter freed the slaves?

Trooper York said...

Maybe Spielberg should make a movie about him.

Jay Retread said...

Yes, Palladian. I am the first poster to ever change her name in the recorded history of the internets.

Dumbass.

Palladian said...

"Media used to be owned by families and small media focused companies"

Yes, like those quaint little mom-n'-pop operations run by kindly shopkeepers like W.R. Hearst, Henry Luce, Adolph Ochs and Arthur Sulzberger.

bagoh20 said...

"What is liberal about this attitude toward other people? You wallow in self-love, and what is it you love yourself for? For wanting to shower benefits on people… that you have nothing but contempt for."

The best and most concise statement of what conservatives have long known about their political opponents.

To a conservative, a homeless man is an equal the moment he takes responsibility for his situation and ventures to improve it.

To a liberal he must acquire the trappings of sufficient sophistication with or without the responsibility. This is required of the middle classes, and even the rich if insufficiently credentialed.

bagoh20 said...

Liberals want to give to the needy. Conservatives want it to not be necessary. Thus their different approaches to solving poverty.

Hagar said...

Palladian,
Not to mention Rupert Murdoch.
I would still prefer the media moguls, however bad, to GE owning NBC, Disney Corp. (uncle Walt is dead) owning ABC, Viacom (Sumner Redstone) owning CBS, and only the Lord knows what chainstore operations own your local TV stations.

bagoh20 said...

This gem from the comments there:

"The idea that "success comes with hard work" is a conservative, not a liberal, notion. It's the bedrock of conservatives' contempt for the less fortunate — if you work hard, you achieve success, so if you're poor, it's because you deserve to be. The proper liberal stance, therefore, is to acknowledge that the system unfairly favors a few over the rest. Not only that, but it acknowledges the role of unearned advantages through privileged relationships (instead of the idea of the meritocracy — again, a deeply conservative notion)."

GMW said...

Hey, a new tag line ... "A Shudder of Recognition"

Hagar said...

I do not think Bustillos has read a Harry Potter book; she has just half-noticed what was going on when her kids watched a TV movie, and she was doing something else.

SteveR said...

Yes, Palladian. I am the first poster to ever change her name in the recorded history of the internets.

That doesn't really address his point. Care to explain why you feel the need to change an anonymous identity? Probably not

Pogo said...

"... like freedom is the gift of the chosen ones to bestow, and those thus benefited can die of gratitude"

Quite true of the left. They believe freedoms, income, property, and rights flow from the State, and are given only at the sufferance of the serf's superiors.

d-day said...

a fine-looking but completely incoherent mess with a morally bankrupt and politically repugnant story at its core

Morally bankrupt and politically repugnant? You know every book AND the entire series is a 1:1 Christ allegory right? Just checking.

This concept of “chosenness” has always put me off the Potter books because it seems so harmful for kids

Ok, first – EVERY KID WITH THE ABILITY gets to go to Hogwarts. EVERY ONE gets a letter. The whole BATTLE in HP is the Slytherin/Death Eater idea that magic knowledge should be taught only to the pure, not the “Mudblooded” mixed races. As for Harry himself, his crisis and understanding in the latter books is dealing with this issue of “chosenness” – Harry learns that the prophecy didn’t even necessarily mean him, that his actions, his decision to shoulder the burden and responsibility for fighting Voldemort is something he must voluntarily do. Hell, even if you don’t want to read the books, just look at the most basic of the kiddie movies! In Sorcerer’s Stone, the only reason the sorting hat doesn’t put Harry into Slytherin house is that poor Harry is desperately whispering “not Slytherin.” The precise central message of the entire series isn’t chosennes, but CHOICES. Fuck you, Maria Bustillos.

Harry Potter is just naturally fantastic at flying around on a broom and conjuring illuminated stags up out of his soul and things, Hermione Granger is just naturally the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen, and so on. Ron Weasley, the impoverished aristocrat, is a Sancho Panza-like figure whose rough common sense is meant to keep Harry on the straight and narrow; his noble blood is his “chosen” quality, and marks him, too, as an unimpeachable Establishment figure.

Harry’s flying ability is literally, the ONLY innate skill that he has. He isn’t as bright as his friends, he KNOWS it, and ultimately the flying doesn’t matter much. He doesn’t even get to play quidditch in the later books. Hermine isn’t naturally brilliant, Hermione works her ass off – she gets permission to GO BACK IN TIME TO TAKE MORE CLASSES AND STUDY MORE. Ron’s blood doesn’t do crap for him. Ron’s value is his loyalty. Did she even read these books?

d-day said...
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d-day said...
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Brian Hancock said...
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Cedarford said...

Maria and Dobby can be fairly readily explained through the liberal narrative of slavery and Uncle Toms.
There is nothing more contemptable to a liberal than a black person grateful for a kind "Massah" back then - or currently a black person absent grievance and grateful to be an American.

Dobby sets liberal's teeth on edge, similar to how liberals pronounced their hatred of the Star Wars Jar Jar Binks character...declared a Stepin Fetchit.

Liberals and Hollywoods progressive Jews give us three standard black characters:

1. The violent black with many justified grievances met by craven surrender of white characters to his righteous anger/physical intimnidation.
2. The comic, partying black person with "street smarts" that invariably make them the coolest and smartest person in a room. (did Obama realize that liberals and progressive Jews had cast him as the "smartest, slickest-talking person in the room" yet ...comic... hero?)
3. The ubiquitous Magic Negro - the wise and morally pure character that appears to guide troubled white liberals who are basically good and mean well, in the right direction.

And of course the subcategory of Great historical black men - who liberals attribute superhuman intellegence, wisdom, and moral superiority to in weaving their narrative. Perfect men, or at least greater than all pasty skins by comparison. Paul Robeson, Saint Martin The Greatest American Ever, noble Thurgood, Mandela the Greatest World Leader Ever, the Voice of All - Kofi Annan.

Brian Hancock said...

I am a fan of Ann Althouse!

. . . but I have no recognition of the Harry Potter franchise the writer in question describes. It was her interpretation of the writing, but at least Ann admits not having knowledge about the subject. The writer in question, obviously does not, but pretends to do.

Not much of the "stuff" she flings against the wall sticks. I hope she thanks Ann for driving traffic to her site.

Rose said...

Jay Retread said...Labor unions are now all but finished...

YOU'RE KIDDING. RIGHT?

They are at a pinnacle, working hand in hand as brownshirts and goons for Obama - sending buses and staking out the target's homes, they are about to get a law passed that eliminates people's rights to choose, to vote in secrecy, and their money is dominating the political scene. They've overreached, to be sure, and it may bring about their downfall, but it is because the elites in power in the Union hierarchy have chosen the reach for power for themselves at the expense of the actual working man.

And it is related to Ann's post, ultimately, because I can tell you, I live in a very liberal area where the political scene is almost entirely controlled by the new "Little Boy's Network" (the "progressives") - they court the Union endorsement, but in a recent election where every single Labor Union in the area chose to endorse the non-progressive candidate, even going to the point of holding an unprecedented press-conference with all Unions represented - only ONE reporter showed up. The "progressives" do not care.

Maybe it is a case of the candle burning at both ends - with one end achieving the pinnacle of power, while leaving their members in the dust - but one thing is certain, liberals do not really care about Unions at all. imo.

BJM said...

Oh Goody, a pissing match!

Popcorn anyone?

d-day said...

You wallow in self-love, and what is it you love yourself for? For wanting to shower benefits on people… that you have nothing but contempt for.

This may not be such a very good description of liberals in general but it is an excellent description of J.K. Rowling


No it isn’t. The house elves (basically the servant class) are something that Harry never understands. Even if/when they are silly, or irritating, Harry tries to treat them with respect. He risks the enmity of Lucius Malfoy, a powerful pureblood adult, by tricking him into freeing Dobby, his servant, in to freeing him. Dobby, perhaps unique among the house-elves, wants freedom. He wants agency. Harry works to make it happen for him. Later, Harry is troubled by Hermione’s campaign to free the house elves because he’s seen that when house elf Winky was freed (as punishment), she became a miserable alcoholic despite being offered holidays and fair wages to work at Hogwarts, if she chose (ask the turtle). Harry, unlike both Ron and Hermione, treats the house elves as individuals, with agency, whose choices are worthy of respect. He doesn’t want to force freedom on the ones that don’t want it, and yet works to achieve it for the one who does.

d-day said...

Over the years, Dobby remains grateful that Harry engineered his freedom. Harry never went along untroubled with the house-elf situation. Harry notes that the big fountain with all the magical creatures at the ministry unfairly depicts the nonhuman creatures as servile and idiotic. When Harry asks a house elf Kreacher (who becomes bound to him against his volition) to do a task for him, Dobby steps over Kreacher to do it because Dobby has choice now, and Dobby wants to use it on behalf of his friend. In the movie, Dobby comes to Harry’s rescue, and doesn’t actually mean to sacrifice himself (although he probably would, if ASKED, which of course Harry would never ask him to do. Harry makes attempt after attempt to sacrifice himself, to go alone, not to put his loved ones in danger.)

Dobby’s death is poignant because Dobby, alone among house elves, has so much more life, so much more potential. Dobby’s death matters because it is unexpected, and it cuts off a life that has meaning and happiness, a life that Dobby has made for himself. Dobby is literally the only house elf that has ever had a friend because he's the only one who ever sought freedom, the only one who ever was able to create the relationships he chose. Dobby dies with the name of Harry Potter on the lips because Harry is Dobby’s only friend – the friend Dobby CHOSE. And of course Harry is devastated by Dobby’s death because Harry would have given himself to save the “pathetic, cringing, grateful” Dobby.

What about that is condescending? So Dobby’s not allowed to be eccentric, even irritating? He can’t be noble without being graceful and erudite and articulate? But apparently, no savages are allowed unless they’re noble -- because THAT’s not condescending in the least.

You know what? I’m done. This whole article is deliberately obtuse and morally bankrupt. I wish I hadn’t already been played to this extent by the oldest traffic whorage tricks in the book – (1) Harry Potter and (2) attacking up.


If this is seriously what she got out of the books, then I feel sorry for her.

d-day said...
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d-day said...

Dobby’s death is poignant because Dobby, alone among house elves, has so much more life, so much more potential. Dobby’s death matters because it is unexpected, and it cuts off a life that has meaning and happiness, a life that Dobby has made for himself. Dobby is literally the only house elf that has ever had a friend because he's the only one who ever sought freedom, the only one who ever was able to create the relationships he chose. Dobby dies with the name of Harry Potter on the lips because Harry is Dobby’s only friend – the friend Dobby CHOSE. And of course Harry is devastated by Dobby’s death because Harry would have given himself to save the “pathetic, cringing, grateful” Dobby.

What about that is condescending? So Dobby’s not allowed to be eccentric, even irritating? He can’t be noble without being graceful and erudite and articulate? But apparently, no savages are allowed unless they’re noble -- because THAT’s not condescending in the least.

You know what? I’m done. This whole article is deliberately obtuse and morally bankrupt. I wish I hadn’t already been played to this extent by the oldest traffic whorage tricks in the book – (1) Harry Potter and (2) attacking up.


If this is seriously what she got out of the books, then I feel sorry for her.

Shanna said...

Harry Potter freed the slaves?

Heh.

Yeah, she’s not making any sense. Is it bad that Dobby loved Harry? Is it bad that Harry loved him back? I have no idea why. Harry didn't oppress Dobby. Dobby is devoted to Harry because of he is a friend to him. And because all the people Harry is fighting are evil.

Ron Weasley, the impoverished aristocrat, [blather]; his noble blood is his “chosen” quality, and marks him, too, as an unimpeachable Establishment figure.

Ron is an unimpeachable establishment figure? Ha! This article is a trip.

I do think HP is conservative in that it recognizes that there is sometimes clear evil in the world, and that authority can go way too far in abusing power. But all the stuff about Dobby is ridiculous.

d-day said...

Since I can't help myself, I do wonder still, how does she reconcile this:

people… that you have nothing but contempt for

and this

there’s no doubt that Rowling did something right in creating her fictional world of Quidditch and faux-Latin magical incantations, if only because so many people love it so dearly.

She could be an Obama speechwriter - take one position at the outset and then the opposite by the time you wind it up.

But true lefty form, she tips her hand. She's got to attack Tolkien and Rowling - the most allegorical Christian fantasy writers, in favor of Pullman, who has admitted that his motivating animus for Dark Materials was didactic atheism for youths. Harry Potter's morality horrifies her, but Pullman is worthwhile, in her view, because "Because Pullman’s novels really do threaten the establishment view of religion and institutionalized coercion, because they are really subversive in the manner in which Harry Potter pretends to be." Classic straw man. HP never pretends to be subversive.

Maria should admit the real problem she has with Harry Potter, which is that she really does get that it's a 1:1 Christ allegory.

rcocean said...

I know nothing about Harry Potter films, but do know that he didn't free the slaves.

Harriet Tubman did.

rcocean said...

Lincoln helped a little. But he was still a racist.

Trooper York said...

Hey d-day, I think you care just a little too much about Harry Potter.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I feel the same way about breasts.

Shanna said...
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Shanna said...

Ok, making the rest of the way through this article and this lady needs to like, read the books before she writes a whole article on HP.

Rowling’s adherence to the old English principle of blood-nobility

What the hell is she talking about? There are three main characters. One is a muggle born, one is born of a wizard and a muggle born wizard, and one is wizard born completely. That's a straight up mix. Also, Hagrid is half giant, and he's one of the other major characters. Snape is also a half blood, as is Voldemort.

Trooper York said...

If fact that' the whole problem with the Harry Potter thing. Not enough breasts.

Trooper York said...

That Hermonie chick just doesn't cut it. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

Besides isn't Harry Potter gay?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I always thought he would grow up to be Paul Lynde in Bewitched so to speak.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

*WOW* Does the people even READ the books?! The Weasley who is an “establishment” figure is PERCY! It’s Percy who is a devoted minion of the Ministry of Magic! In the end, he joins the rebellion, but right up to the end of the series, he is the loyal “apparatchik.” I mean these are only children’s’ books so its embarrassing to be discussing their “meaning,” but if ”you” are going to you might as well get the story right…Would this author have gotten something in a Somerset Maugham story or a Graham Greene novel or a VS Naipul novel so wrong?

Lastly, the novels are very “libertarian” or conservative, odd coming from a Brit these days. There is an evil, and the agent abetting the evil is THE GOVERNMENT…The Minister or Magic and the Ministry and even the head of Hogwarts, not Dumbledore, all conspire to thwart the fight against Voldemort, for reasons of internal politics and Public Appearance. Delores Umbridge, Dumbledore's replacement, punishes Harry for continuing to announce the truth of Voldemort’s return…It is NOT the Ministry, but rather the INDIVIDUALS that defeat Voldemort.

Lisa said...

The house elves are servants who themselves posses powerful magic. They are taught that the ideal house elf serves their family quietly, efficiently without notice, without expectation and with pleasure; they are also expected to physically punish themselves for not behaving appropriately or serving well. A house elf is only freed with clothes and that is a punishment for most.

Dobby is the house elf of the Malfoy family but unlike other house elves, he has determined that his masters are bad. When he learns that Harry Potter will die if he goes back to Hogwarts (book 2), he actively tries to stop Harry Potter from getting to Hogwarts. He is eventually freed at the end of the book when Harry Potter returns Tom Riddle (Voldemort's) now destroyed journal to Lucius Malfoy in a dirty sock. Malfoy removes the sock and tosses it to Dobby who having now been given clothes is free.

We later learn that Dobby wanders trying to find work for a year and is unable to do so because he wants to be paid for his work. Harry is accidently responsible for the dismissal of Bartimus Crause's house elf, Winky. Both elves end up at Hogwarts where they are offered time off and wages. Winky refuses the time off and wages but accepts the job. Dobby asks for a lower wage and less time off but does accept. When Hermione learns about the house elves at Hogwarts, she tries to start a house elf liberation movement. She's not terribly successful.

Dobby is killed in the last book in a battle at the beginning before Harry, Ron and Hermione leave on their quest/go on the run. Dobby is buried with honors (and clothing) and tears.

I think the author you quote is an idiot. Harry, Hermione and Dumbledore don't loathe or look down at house elves. They see them as people. Others, like the Malfoys, certainly see them as less than human.

Trooper York said...

I mean what kind of place is named Hog-warts?

If someone has warts on their hog you have to wonder where he's been. Right Titus...Titus.. anyone...Buellar?

EnigmatiCore said...

"Labor unions are now all but finished."

If only this was true.

d-day said...

Trooper - I'm not disputing that I care WAY too much about Harry Potter. Too much free brain space, since I've got a pretty nice rack already as standard operating equipment.

Lem said...

Harry Potter freed video game players..

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Besides isn't Harry Potter gay?
No Trooper, unless Ginny Wesley was his “Beard.”

I don’t see HP as “Christian Allegory.” Please someone enlighten me…I see the series a POST-Religious. Yes they celebrate “Holy-days” at Hogwarts, Christmas, Halloween…but there are only the APPEARANCES of the day, trees, pumpkins, but none of the SYMBOLISM…sure there is a day for Halloween, but no understanding/comprehension that it is a CELTIC HOLY Day, the same with Christmas…there’s no mention of Christ or Christianity…there’s NO RELIGION, it seems to me. We just have days we celebrate, but without reference to their spiritual underpinnings. In that sense it seems to be post—religious, we’re not anti-religious we are IR-religious or A-Religious.

Chip Ahoy said...

No, wai, wai, wai, waitaminit, wait, wait, wait wait just one minute there. Are you saying Dobby dies?

Goddamnit.

d-day said...

Joe: Harry Potter may not celebrate the "Christ" part of the upcoming present-getting holiday, but he's pretty much Christ in the books. See, he sacrifices himself of his own free will, and he is the only one who can do it, to save all of wizardkind, and then after some time, he is gloriously resurrected. That's where I'm getting the allegory thing.

Plus, I cheated. Rowling's talked about it in interviews.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Really, OK D-Day…I wouldn’t have seen it, myself…certainly it wasn’t as obvious as “Neo” in the Matrix….

Trooper York said...

But I thought all those English boarding school type guys were gay? Not in a Titus sort of way but in a David Bowie slow-mo kind of thing?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I mean that's why she set her story in a boarding school where the students learn secrets from their "instructors" that they can't tell anybody about? Where they live in a secret magical world unknown to the rest of society and which they not talk about? Where they learn how to control their wands which are filled with power? So to speak.

EDH said...

For wanting to shower benefits on people… that you have nothing but contempt for.

To the contrary, I'm not sure that's what they want, if they had their drothers.

I've heard many liberals fantasize about denying social benefits, once enacted after political debate, to those who opposed them during the debate, as furthering some bizarre form of cosmic justice.

Not an opt-out, but a social obligation for everyone to pay for a benefits while eligibility is denied to those who would oppose it politically.

Again, nothing more than revenge fantasy, but I think it evinces the totalitarian instinct in many liberals, and constitutes a sensible reason many people fear and oppose giving the state added power to impose these kinds of "benefit" programs in the first place.

It belies the motive of helping others for their own sake.

Trooper York said...

Very different from the All-American setting of centers of learning you might see in such classic's as "American Pie" or "Porky's."

Or even in "Back to School" which was filmed at the Unveristy of Wisconsin with the blogger lady as a technical advisor.

rcocean said...

"But I thought all those English boarding school type guys were gay?"

English public schools are full of fags. Look it up.

Trooper York said...

Well just because they like to smoke doesn't make them gay rc.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Coketown said...

I read the first sentence of Maria's post and couldn't proceed. "The richly imaginative details of J.K. Rowling’s fictive world, it must be admitted, are pleasurable." The details invite you to pleasure them.

I think Maria sees a conservative plot in stuffed mushroom recipes. Cuckoo, cuckoo. But she, it must be admitted, is pleasurable.

garage mahal said...

We need to keep an eye on them liberals after conservatives sweep the nation.

Althouse is so fucking funny most of the time.

Trooper York said...

Plus I thought Doby was famous for being the first black guy in the American League?

I didn't know he was an elf?

And I thought calling some one a "house elf" wasn't a nice thing to say? Isn't that what they were calling that Juan Williams guy at NPR because he appeared on Fox?

So how could Harry Potter free Doby to be the first "house elf" in the American League? Aren't they both much too young for that?

This is all very confusing.

Alex said...

It’s a perfect illustration of the “liberal condescension” that conservatives are always yodeling about, and it made my hair stand on end.

Yup she just couldn't help herself but to snark at conservatives. The daily demonization continues.

Christy said...

@Trooper, Spielberg wanted to make Harry Potter as an animated film. Rowling nixed him.

An aspect I wish had been explored more in the novels is the incredible magic power of the elves. The elves were clearly more powerful than the humans, but were held enslaved. How? Years of psychological indoctrination? I would have loved to have seen the backstory there explored.

The entire novel of the Deathly Hallows is the Christ story, don't you think? We have the days in the wilderness preparing for the end. We have the doubting disciple in Ron. We have betrayal by an ally. The end is straight out of the Easter story. Rowling said she started the entire series with the final image in her head of Hagrid carrying Harry out of the forest - a pieta if ever there was one. It's been a while since I read it (within 24 hours of publication, I admit,) but I do remember finding more parallels.

Bustillo hates the HP tale because she recognizes herself in Delores Umbridge. All those ungrateful students who just don't realize that she knows what's best for them.

Oh, and Rowling puns constantly with names and with spells - in English and Latin lite. I found it fun. Obviously the classically educated disagree.

Lincolntf said...

I've read all of the books and seen all of the movies, though not always in the correct order. There's a world of extrapolation available in any given hundred pages, but the "Elves as Lib cannon fodder"-vibe does exist in more than one instance. The author of the article was correct to recognize herself.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Christy said...

An aspect I wish had been explored more in the novels is the incredible magic power of the elves. The elves were clearly more powerful than the humans, but were held enslaved. How? Years of psychological indoctrination? I would have loved to have seen the backstory there explored.

Indeed. If Ms. Rowling wanted to publish something to please the die hard fans, it would be a mocked up history book from Hogwarts (much like she did with the Beedle the Bard book). The Hogwarts that Harry sees has a long, complex history behind it; and Harry only sees just recent decades of that history, those involving Voldemort.

My assumption about the house elves is that at some point in the past, either a curse by a powerful magician or else a treaty to end a war bound them to servitude. In the HP world, that's far more powerful than indoctrination. But like all magical contracts, it has a loophole.

If Ms. Rowling wanted to make yet more money with not as much effort, she would open up the HP world history as a shared universe. She would be nominally the consulting editor, doing only as much work as she felt like. Under her would be experienced anthology and shared universe editors who would do the grunt work of soliciting authors and stories. And she could draw a line in the sand: all stories must predate the birth of Harry (or maybe the birth of Tom Riddle). That way, if she ever gets bored and wants to write again, Harry's future is all hers.

peter hoh said...

Dobby, freed by Harry, proceeded to worship Harry. In the same way, there are those who think that liberals expect fealty from members of those groups who have benefited from liberal policy achievements.

It's not terribly far from the idea espoused by a young evangelist I met on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol. Our freedom, he argued, came from God. And in response, we have to live according to God's rules -- or at least the ones that the he thought were important. Despite the prohibitions on tattoos, he sported more than a dozen such markings, which he sheepishly acknowledged were in violation of certain passages in the Old Testament.

HDHouse said...

I would explain it to you but I am a liberal and I can't do it with being horribly condescending.

liberal (ˈlɪbərəl, ˈlɪbrəl)

— adj
1. relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform
2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom
3. giving and generous in temperament or behaviour
4. tolerant of other people
5. abundant; lavish: a liberal helping of cream
6. not strict; free: a liberal translation
7. of or relating to an education that aims to develop general cultural interests and intellectual ability

Boy that must really set your hair on fire.

MadisonMan said...

Dobby, freed by Harry, proceeded to worship Harry.

That's nonsense. He was appropriately grateful for his freedom.

The house-elves play a large part in the books, as they are overlooked by the evil minions who possess them, and that oversight leads to their downfall. Kreacher can escape with Regulus' story, and Dobby can rescue Harry et al from the dungeon because their masters have forgotten just how powerful they are.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Or in the modern version:

liberal (ˈlɪbərəl, ˈlɪbrəl)

— adj
1. relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform, where progress and reform are defined as identity politics in service to collectivism.

2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom, as long as the individual freely chooses to do what the State wishes.

3. giving and generous in the income earned by others.

4. tolerant of other people, as long as those people are neither conservative, religious, nor white males.

5. abundant; lavish: a liberal helping of other people's money.

6. not strict; free: a liberal interpretation of laws, allowing them to mean precisely opposite their original meaning.

7. of or relating to an education that aims to develop approved cultural viewpoints and intellectual conformity.

wv: fifyinen - fixed it for you; it needed extra nuance.

SteveR said...

8. None of the above

Lincolntf said...

Liberal: Favoring diversity in all things except the one that matters, thought.

peter hoh said...

Madison Man, as I read the books, it seemed to me that Dobby's response to Harry went beyond gratitude. I can't say whether it seems that way in the movies. I would agree with the rest of your analysis, but it's also true that Sirius took his house-elf for granted, too.

MamaM said...

Which "boy" is HD addressing this time?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

peter hoh said...

I would agree with the rest of your analysis, but it's also true that Sirius took his house-elf for granted, too.

All of the adults have flaws, many of them rather heavy-handed flaws (but perhaps that's to make them more clear to a younger audience). And the adults Harry admires most prove to have some of the uglier flaws. Sirius is a nasty aristocrat, probably the closest to Mr. Bustillos's thesis. Harry's father is an egotistical bully, only reined in by Lily's disapproval. And Dumbledore is a control freak, too sure of his own ability to manage every situation.

Even Lily has her flaw: she falls for James despite him being a jerk.

slarrow said...

Yeah, this Bustillos doesn't understand those books. She should have stopped at "shudder of recognition" and left the finger pointing at herself. Shame.

Couple of things: oddly enough, after not touching the books for many months, I've been re-reading Deathly Hallows the past couple of days, so this stuff is fresh on my mind. That scene is particularly important because of the true respect that Harry shows Dobby in burying him by hand. Dobby's sacrifice scours Harry of his power dreams, leading to the selflessness that is the climax of the books. It is the turning point of the final novel, and there's no condescending "attaboy" about it.

Finally, oh, yes, they are Christian novels. I recommend John Granger (Hogwarts Professor) for the full lecture notes on it. The whole series is chock full of resurrections, there's all sorts of Christian imagery throughout (I'm particularly touched by Harry's last walk in the forest with his dead loved ones--it's almost literally Peter, James, John, and Mary), and the final message is that sacrificial love conquers death. There's a lot more there than people realize.

BJM said...

@HD

You really must work on #4.

@slarrow

Oh, the lefty elite get it, not this particular dim bulb because she hasn't read the material, and they don't like it one bit.

Rowling artfully slithered under the book banning nannie's radar with the very imagery they've successfully purged from schools. Even worse(or better depending on your viewpoint) they initially celebrated the great awakening of literacy among their young and eagerly bought the books bearing the message, enriching the author and insuring more to come.

The real beauty is that Rowling was a single mum on the dole...the arch-typical progressive victim...she's as ungrateful as those damned elves.

peter hoh said...

Martin, the character flaws in those adults Harry looks up to are part of what made the series better than most kid-lit. Most of that gets lost in the movies, I think.

MathMom said...

Other people have probably explained Dobby's plight well enough. The thing I took (from the book), was that Dobby was now free, and could live his life as he saw fit. A free man (or elf) can choose to sacrifice that life to save another. Dobby made that choice.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This lame writer hasn't a clue.

davis,br said...

The real beauty is that Rowling was a single mum on the dole ...the arch-typical progressive victim ...she's as ungrateful as those damned elves.

Whaaa? Did you just say that JKR wrote herself into the novels as ...Dobby? - Now that made my antennae twitch a bit ...

...and damme if I don't think (after a bit of reflection) that you're prob'ly right.

That's some kind of brilliant right there BJM.

Kudos.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Explain what? Some intellectual idiot turning a scene in fiction into some kind of treatise on politics?

How does one explain stupidity.

mr said...

Just another thought: remember that Harry looks into that fragment of mirror while imprisoned, Hermione screaming upstairs as she is tortured by Bellatrix, and in desperation cries for help to the image half-realized within.

And within seconds Dobby appears, almost like a guardian angel, to rescue them.

Dobby is of a race of beings with many human-like characteristics, great supernatural power, but lacking, institutionally, say in their own futures. You might even say they lack...free will.

House Elves are very angelic in this way, at least as angels are described in Christian theology.

But Dobby rebels against his servitude, seeking freedom from his master.

Would that make him Lucifer?

OK, all that aside, in the books Dobby has used his freedom to join the resistance, which is why he's at hand to answer Harry's cry for help. Seems to me he used his liberty to good purpose.

Issob Morocco said...

I would say this is the first step in becoming a fan of Ann Althouse.

TML said...

I would like to say that I read this idiot's entire article, but I just couldn't. I weary so quickly these days. I've never read a HP book. Have seen two of the movies with my kids. And even I know she's 100% full of shit. There isn't a thread that's...sewable into anything, in her entire "article" (at least as far as I read). It was about as tortuous (and torturous) as anything else I've seen from a pained lefty poseur. Did it remind anyone else of the agonizing on the Left over "The Incredibles" and its Randian undertones? Meh.

WV= "herocers" the thing heros get by being constantly abused by their extreme and bitter lessers.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

New term for you Americans to familiarize yourself with:

"Red Tories"

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

So to sum it up......Harry Potter who was possibly gay.....freed the slaves....and was assassinated and died before his time.....boy some people will do anything to avoid giving Republicans any credit.

Christy said...

Just back to add that Rowling has taught an entire generation that the popular media is to be distrusted. We fans have seen the Harry Potter tale and then we've seen the spin Rita Skeeter put on it. I figure Rita Skeeter was invented from Rowlings experience of the media after the series became such a huge hit.

All good.

Synova said...

Dobby took great risks and endured punishment and pain to help Harry before Dobby was freed.

Whoever said that Dobby showed 'agency' was right. The other house elves did not. And certainly there was the notion that they were subjected because they were powerful.

As for the christian allegory part... christian symbolism does not equal allegory.

As for hating on HP because Harry is born marked for greatness... that's basic folk lore and fairy tale symbolism and right-thinking people have been upset about that from day one.

But seriously... if you're not supposed to be *born* special, and you can't claim to *work* to become special... what is there left for you?

Fred4Pres said...

I thought Dobby was Vladimir Putin. Did I miss something?