Harry Potter etc.

I am not a Harry Potter fan. I was but then the movies came out and I think the kids they cast, poor things, are terrible, terrible actors and have awful, awkward, irritating fake laughs. I can’t help myself though. When one comes out, I watch it, hoping that this new director (each movie’s had a different one since they canned that master of kiddie pandering, Chris Columbus after movie #2) will somehow pull a Tim Burton and make Batman cool again. That hasn’t happened. They just keep adding more and more illustrious actors in supporting roles – Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Fiona Shaw, Ralph Fiennes and so on. Unfortunately, it’s the emperor’s new clothes all over again, kids: acting like you’re acting doesn’t count as actual acting.

I want to be clear that I don’t blame the actors personally. Who wouldn’t turn up for that audition, for Pete’s sake? Not that, at ten years old you’re turning up for anything on your own (moms) or have anyone around you who will give you an objective opinion of your acting skills, current or future, you little cutie pie! Smile big! (Moms again.)

Am I the only one who saw Showbiz Moms & Dads? I think everyone who takes their child on an audition should be forced to watch it until they can pass some sort of self-awareness test and swear that they’re not living through their kid. When you’re revving up the minivan for that cross-country drive to LA, parents, just remember that for every talented little Dakota Fanning, there are twenty Emma Watsons who will try and try and try and still not make the grade even if they do get hired for millions. You should still love them, moms, they just shouldn’t be in movies.

Come to that, I’m in favor of people having to pass parenting tests before they can keep their kids, too, but no one agrees with me on that one either. Something about how some people are OK with “expressing emotion in public” or Chuck E. Cheese or high-pressure tactics on pre-schoolers or how not everyone finds the Teletubbies alarming. (It’s not the gay thing, it’s the retarded thing.) To my mind, the Harry Potter movies are just teaching kids to tolerate poor acting skills at an early age. That can’t be good. Then they’re going to move on to be Gary Busey fans or tolerate Demi Moore and then try telling them not to snort coke or just be mean, mean, breast-implanted, cradle-robbing meanies.

In the meantime, I can’t get Daniel Radcliffe’s utterly painful smile out of my head long enough to make it through the 8000 pages of book four, which is the last one I tried to read.

This doesn’t mean I don’t follow the Harry Potter news. I just follow it a.) late, b.) scornfully and c.) use a really bored voice when I report that spoilers and antics of the crazed fans. These methods have convinced no one that I am not a fan. I just like books. And money. And clever, scrappy writers who become billionaires after re-purposing every archetypal myth ever put on the page. Go you, J.K. Rowling. Although, you know what? I don’t even like her that much anymore now that she’s all manicured up and has nice hair. I prefer to think of her in a café (like me), with no money (almost like me), and a dream that someday a band called Draco and the Malfoys will belt out, “My Dad’s Rich, Your Dad’s Dead,” in Harvard Square at midnight in tribute to my books as I count my money in Scotland.

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