Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
What installment of Potter is this now? Fourth? I think so, or maybe fifth. I'll keep this review short. The movie was fun, as all Harry Potter movies are. I'm sure the Christian blog world was choked with comments on the violence in this movie, so I'll refrain from it here. This was my least favorite Potter movie yet. I've enjoyed all the others. This was the first I left feeling like I'd spent too much money on too little movie. My rating: 5 out of 7.
As to the virtues or vices of the Harry Potter body of literature, anything that encourages kids to read gets my approval. I almost feel like Steve Martin in "Bringing Down the House" when he hears his son reading an adult magazine. Before he can yell at his son, he realizes he's reading. Then he rejoices. Then he pulls the magazine away. Seriously though, pornography is a great evil; but what if people stop reading pornography? Does that save their souls? No. They must, "Take up and read." Kids today hate reading. They hate it. It is unbelievable. How will they be saved unless they believe? How will they believe unless they hear? Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
But people won't read the bible if they don't read. A kid said to me that the only book he read was the bible. That later turned out to be a brazen lie. If people don't read, they won't read the bible. Know why? Reading the bible is still reading.
So read Harry Potter, read Narnia, read the classics, read comic books; read anything, just read. Then when the Spirit works, the reading impulse will become saving grace.
The Disappearance of Childhood
by Neil Postman
This breif but dense book chronicles the emergence of childhood, noting along the way those factors that caused childhood as a social category to congeal, and thus points to the converse factors in our culture that tend to ignore Adult-Child partitions.
In the Middle Ages few people made a distinction between children and adults. They all knew basically the same things, used the same vocabulary, did the same work, enjoyed the same entertainments; they were, in many ways, the same. Things we now consider "adult" in nature were not hidden from the children, thus they never really enjoyed a protracted state of innocence (childhood). Things we now consider "childish" were typical of the physically mature of those days, thus few physically mature men or women arrived at a modern conception of Adult.
All this changed with the arrival of the printing press. With widespread literacy there was now a hurdle in place, a knowledge hurdle, that separated the young from the older. Adulthood as a concept thus began when it meant something, namely, that one knew how to read and thus operate in an increasingly literate world. As literacy grew desirable nations and areas began to create schools in order to teach the young how to read. With the arrival of school, children were largely separated from adults in daily things, thus the practical divide between children and adults grew. This practical divide filled with meaning. Suddenly childhood was precious, children unique, and their innocence worth maintaining as long as necessary.
Childhood is disappearing, however, because our culture is moving beyond literacy. Television in particular puts all necessary information for life, previously only accessible on the written page, in picture format, understandible without words. Likewise because television needs constantly revolving topics with images no area of life is left unaddressed. Thus matter previously understood to be "adult" now adorns all hours of public access television, and children are watching. Childhood is disappearing; in it's place we have the adult-child, who exhibits childish behavior, interests, and concerns, as well as the child-adult, who knows far too much about the harsher, graphic, disturbing realities of life. What will be the outcome of these things? As in the middle ages the knowing class, the literate, the keepers of knowledge, will control the masses, who in turn will be happy in their ignorance and filth.
Disheartening? Very much so. But friends, we knew all this. Things are not getting better. And we know just how bad they'll get. They get bad. Childhood disappearing is sad, but it is not the end.