The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

All media, good and bad….

July 20, 2007

That highbrow publication, USA Weekend Magazine:

Scores of absurdtie-ins include “If Harry Potter Ran General Electric,” “Looking for God in Harry Potter” and our personal favorite, “Harry Potter and International Relations,” in which the boy wizard is linked to real-life globalization and geopolitical issues.

The bizarre thing here is actually not the criticism-based-on-title of our book (for redux, see Scott McLemee writing at Inside Higher Ed), but the accusation that Looking for God in Harry Potter is nothing more than an attempt to cash in on Potter’s success.

It seems that Jeffrey Resner knows little about the religious controversy surrounding Harry Potter and why so many Christians have felt compelled to weigh in on the phenomenon. The debate over Harry Potter in the U.S. Christian community was, for a time, pretty intense; Conservative Christians remain divided over the books.

Given Potter’s enormous penetration into American–and global–culture, “what to do about Potter” amounts to serious business for conservative Christians. I’d be tempted to dismiss Resner’s mistake as a result of elite media detachment, but I’ve talked to plenty of reporters and critics over the last week who are sufficiently knowledgeable not to embarrass themselves like that.

I, on the other hand, am honored to make Resner’s “personal favorite” for “absurdtie-ins.” After all, who would be crazy enough to think that Harry Potter has anything to do with globalization?

Anyway, I have a piece in The New Republic Online called “How Harry Potter Explains the Word.” (free resistration required.) Check it out, if so inclined.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.