Attila the Pun
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Advanced degree in talking crap

Natasha Giardina is completing a PhD at James Cook University in Cairns. She is also talking out of her backside.

Childrens books, including Harry Potter, the Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, are "signs of a subliminal cultural war between adults and children."

The fact that that was the opening paragraph in the story gives you an indication of what you are in for here. She goes on:

"On the surface the text seems to say, 'Look kids! This is your culture. We're on your side, especially against adult authority figures'," Ms Giardina said.

"But a closer analysis demonstrates that the writer is merely using this strategy to sell adult ideas such as: 'adults know best', and, 'parents are a source of security when things get tough',"

Imagine trying to 'sell' crazy 'adult ideas' like that.

After 'examining' eight whole books, including those mentioned above, as well as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, she claims to have found the 'underlying theme' to be that "children should be meek, mild and obedient to the wishes of good sensible adults."

I have read most of the books mentioned, and have concluded that Natasha is basically making this up. Have you seen what they get up to in CS Lewis' classic? Leading armies, fighting evil witches. Sure they are counselled by the wise Lion, but they are right at the front, and certainly aren't 'meek and mild'. From my understadning of Harry Potter, he seems to do okay for himself as well. Anyway, what is wrong with children being obedient to the wishes of 'good sensible adults'? Let Natasha tell you what is wrong with it:

"Ms Giardina said it was not a new idea that children were trying to contest the power imbalance, which they did through what she called children's culture, in which they sought to counteract the powerless position they were in."

Ah, the heady brew of post-modern analysis and victimhood language.

She goes on about a book called Northern Lights, where "the benevolence of adults is actually called into question."

She hopes this book showed that "adults were starting to look at childhood not as a disability to be overcome but as a valuable phase of development."

Somebody actually said that with a straight face. I am going to take a wild guess here, and assume that Ms Giardina doesn't have kids. From the rubbish she is talking, it also appears that she have never met anyone with them. I guess you have to be really highly educated to say really really dumb things.

Of course, a google search always turns up interesting things. Ms Giardina presented a paper called "“Harry's hierarchies: Ideology and power relations in the Harry Potter series” at the conference "harry Potter goes to University. Other such valuable insights presented there were "Seeing Past the Mundane: A Pedagogical Approach to Stylistic Arguments in Harry Potter Criticism” and “Harry Potter and the Terrors of the Toilet"

I am not making this up.

Going further, the JCU website seems to carry a longer version of her 'interview' From this we get such gems as "the adult ideology which is most stable in this genre ... is the implication that children should always trust the guidance of white patriachs"

This ignores the fact that in the TLTWATW, they were guided by a Lion. A tan coloured one I think. She also ignores the fact that most of the books she looked at were written by (drumroll) white males. What else did she expect to find, especially in books written early last century?

Just finished watching HPATCOS last night in prep for HPATPOA.

Confirms my suspicions exactly. HP and mates break all the rules laid down by oppressive white male / female authority figures, foil incompetent adults, risk their lives, save the school and all they get in return is a lousy 50 points for their house. No wonder they feel oppressed.
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