Friday, December 23, 2005


And Now for Something Completely Different

Harry Potter is good for children

Despite his enthusiasm for Quidditch and jet-powered broomsticks, the youthful wizard appears to have had a benign effect on his fans, researchers have found. Compared with earlier crazes for in-line skating and microscooters, which clogged up accident and emergency departments with sprained ankles and broken limbs, the Harry Potter craze has been surprisingly injury-free. Stephen Gwilym, an orthopaedic surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and colleagues... found that in the two weekends when the latest Harry Potter books were launched - 21 June 2003 for The Order of the Phoenix and 16 July 2005 for The Half-Blood Prince - injuries to children fell to their lowest level.
Well, mostly:
Alarmingly, but in a spirit of festive fun, the researchers suggest that there may be a place for "a committee of safety-conscious talented writers who could produce high quality books for the purpose of injury prevention". Apart from the irreparable harm that this would do to children's literature, they acknowledge that it could trigger "an unpredictable increase in childhood obesity, rickets, and loss of cardiovascular fitness".

Of course the Harry Potter books are good for children: They encourage them to read and to think in a broad-minded way, and that's why these books scare Fundies of all varieties. (The books also depict adult authority figures as less-than-perfect, and conservative adults as leaning towards bigotry, so that's another reason the Fundies hate them.)
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