Harry Potter – victim of Onion satire?

UPDATE: Welcome Harry Potter fans! You’re among friends.  You can see another post about Harry  here.


When credulous religious figures run amok with dire warnings about Harry Potter’s effects on children’s morality, it bears investigating. Especially since I have read all of J. K. Rowlings books and found them to be highly inspirational and morally uplifting.

It all started when the Onion, a satirical publication, wrote an article on July 27, 2000 which purported to show the inside skinny on how the Harry Potter books were leading children STRAIGHT TO HELL!!!.

Sorry to disappoint anyone, but this is just another well-documented Urban Legend. The Harry Potter books are excellent entertainment, not a shortcut to perdition. In fact, the Harry Potter books have sparked a tremendous upsurge in children’s reading skills.

Before we go any further, let’s clear up what satire is: IT IS NOT TRUTH!

Humorous satires often base the humor on the juxtaposition between the satire and reality. The humor of such a satire tends to be subtle, using irony and deadpan humor liberally. The Onion article is so exaggerated, even using obscenity for humorous effect, that it is hard to imagine that anyone would take it seriously.

However, several professional "witch-hunters" have written books about the "evil Harry Potter" and are trying hard to make a living preying on concerned parents.

It is a damn shame, because too many children are being denied a
chance to read one of the phenomenal literary products of the current
decade. What will happen, of course, is that the kids will eventually
read Harry Potter and realize that their parents are really clueless
and they will look elsewhere for guidance in the future.

Read the Urban Legends
reference page to get the fascinating facts behind this hysterical
campaign to spread fear amongst parents. This excerpt from that page
puts the matter in proper perspective:

If The Onion’s parody has demonstrated anything, it’s
that we should be worrying about adults not being able to distinguish
between fiction and reality. The kids themselves seem to have a pretty
good grasp of it.

Read the original Onion article
and you can see how it caused the wooly-minded few to run gibbering
with fear about J.K. Rowling’s campaign for world domination by the
Antichrist. It has a cunning mixture of fact and outrageous absurdities.

Please do not read it if your taste in literature runs to happy
bunny stories. This is strong stuff, satire that goes for the jugular.

I can’t wait for the next Harry Potter novel. J. K. Rowling is an inspiration to any writer.


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