August 9th, 2006

pedantry, romans

journalist misses the point, part one billion

There's a very generic, no-research-needed "oh, I'll bang that one off in half an hour" piece in today's Grauniad about non-PC kids' books. Babar, Tintin, Blyton, Biggles - all present and correct, and no arguments from me. But then, at the end, this piece of idiocy:
It's tempting to think that all these politically incorrect indiscretions belong well in the past: after all, the scary "gollywogs that live in the woods" have been excised from Noddy and Big Ears, and most modern children's books are full of positive role models and delicately nuanced sensibilities. And yet ... most people read the Harry Potter books as a straightforward battle between good and evil. But with its subtext of muggles and pure-bloods, you could say that - even in the 21st century - breeding will out.

Yes, you could, although you could also say that the subtext of the Potter books is not very sub at all, and that the mudblood/pureblood stuff is used to express a clearly liberal and anti-racist view. I mean, really. I'm certainly not a diehard fan of the Potter books - they're entertaining and exciting and very readable, but they're not the best children's books of the last decade, let alone the last century. But they do seem to get criticised a lot by people who clearly haven't read them, and that always makes me defensive.

Also, look! An excuse for me to use my pedantry icon!