Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Land Von Dem Frei

Okay, call me a miserable old curmudgeon, but I think the Harry Potter series of books is quite a remarkable piece of work. Yes, it's terribly derivative from J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, plus Uncle Tom Cobbley, et al, but there is something disturbingly readable about it all. I'm currently on my third reading of the Half-Blood Prince, and I'm enjoying it as much as I did with my seventeenth re-reading of the Two Towers.

We will see whether on my seventeenth re-reading of the Half-Blood Prince it has the same magic as Saruman versus Gandalf within the confines of Orthanc, or even George Smiley versus Karla vying wills upon the Gulagesque remnants of the Berlin Wall, but at least Harry Potter has a little Girl-Boy action with Hermione and the Weasley creature, ginger monster though he is. (The inevitable question is of course why Miss Grainger isn't after Harry, but I digress.)

J.K.Rowling may have been a Welfare Queen, but as with many English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish writers, she may have been outside the freedom paradigm of the American Revolution, or even the lucky bien-venue of Canadistan, but she does still know how to write a fine yarn, damn her welfare driven eyes. Which is more than I can say for most American writers, with the
exception of Harold Robbins. Okay, so I'm kidding, but in the words of Alec Guinness, the British Isles does seem to punch above its weight in terms of literary innovation, when weighed against Stephen King, Neal Stephenson, or even the redoubtable Robert Heinlein.

We may be just a Few, we here on this sceptred isle. But what a Few. We happy Few. Thank God I'm an Englishman.

Okay, so you North Americans may disagree. But at least we don't tolerate being tasered by a load of fascist morons in police uniforms. At least, not yet. Unlike the seemingly compliant citizens of land of the free. Ihre Papieren, bitte? Jawohl Herr Major, kein problem. Alles ist in Ordnung im Iowa und Ohio; Wir sind sehr glucklich mit onhes Der Britischen. Fur, ich bin ein Amerikane in einem Land von dem Frei.

Or as we say in England, don’t you wish you still lived under the majesty of the Queen? Herr Professor Hoppe is right. Monarchy is terrible. But it’s still much better than Democracy.

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