Potted Potter Professor

July 15th, 2012. It was our first trip to New York City: myself, my mother, my teenage daughter and our Spanish exchange student. I hadn’t planned on seeing Potted Potter when I trekked up to the TKTS booth in Times Square to try to score some same-day Broadway tickets. But when it became clear we were not going to be able to see Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory playing Jimmy Stewart in Harvey, the Potted Potter show caught my eye. After a quick cell phone call to make sure the Spanish student was familiar enough with the series to appreciate it (she was, having seen all the movies), I bought tickets for the 5 PM show that night, in the Little Shubert Theater.

The premise of the show is that all seven Potter books are encapsulated into 70 minutes. I had a brief twinge of guilt at the word “unauthorized” nature, wondering how two guys, however funny, were managing to make money off J. K. Rowling’s creation without paying her for it. But, I had also seen some rave reviews and even read the rumor that they had inadvertently turned away Rowling herself from one of their sold out 2006 shows. I figured Ms. Rowling could look after her own interests and, if there was any infringement, she’d already had plenty of time to sue, so I decided to just enjoy it.

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NPR’s Top 100 “Teen” Novels: What Do You Think?

Time for a group participation post! Check out the list and make your comments (favorites, disappointments, surprises… whatever you want to include).

For me: I was pleased (but not surprised) that Harry Potter and Hunger Games were the top two.

I was pleased (and surprised) that, after 50 years, To Kill a Mockingbird managed the #3 spot.

I was pleased (and surprised) that the Divergent series beat Twilight by a healthy margin.

I was disappointed not to see Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice (maybe not seen as “targeted” at teens like the others, but the heroines are the right ages.)

Other books I wish had been on the list: Christy (Catherine Marshall) and The Cuckoo’s Child (because my cousin wrote it and it is set at my Grandma’s house).

Hoping to hear from others.

Shared Text: The Several Wizarding World Allusions Made During the University of Virginia’s Summer Leadership Crisis

Not all Harry Potter comparisons by higher education critics take nine years to appear in print. (See the preceding article by Elizabeth Baird Hardy for one that did.)

Like a lot of professors in Virginia, I followed with intense interest the Board of Visitor’s unexpected June 10th dismissal of University of Virginia (UVa) President Teresa Sullivan, and the sixteen days of protests by faculty, students and alums. The debacle ended with Dr. Sullivan’s reinstatement on June 26th. The Chronicle of Higher Education, happily a bit quicker on the draw with this story, has a detailed summary of the events here.

Allusions to our favorite Shared Text were quickly popping up all over social media: Twitter, Facebook, and commentary on online news article by people following the story. Rector Helen Dragas was compared to virtually every bad guy in the series, from Lucius Malfoy to Lord Voldemort to Dolores Umbridge. I also spotted at least one Hunger Games illusion, wherein it was suggested that Dragas and Sullivan fight it out in the Arena to settle their dispute.

Most of the Harry Potter allusions popped up in tweets or in comments on news articles, hard to document with URLs. But combining the #UVA hashtag with the key words brings quite a few up from the Twitter archives. A few sample Tweets:

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