Shared Text Alert: Terrorists Love Hogwarts Saga?

According to a recent AP article, former child soldier and Al-Qaeda militant Omar Khadr is something of a Harry Potter fan.  Khadr, described in several articles as a rage-filled, cold-blooded killer, apparently enjoys reading the books, which begs the question: Does someone who so clearly exhibits only intolerance for anyone who does not share his beliefs really “get it” if he considers himself a fan? Does he not see that the Order of the Phoenix members would all fall under the category of personae non gratia in his worldview? Or does he see those who disagree with him as the evil Ministry of Magic?  What seems really interesting, though, is the way the media keeps tossing out Khadr’s reading of HP. On one level, the references are probably just meant to emphasize the irony of the situation: terrorist who reads the popular, epitome-of-Western-Culture books loved by millions, isn’t that bizarre? [Read more…]

Unusual Appearance of Shared Text in Politics

Joe Miller recently launched this hilarious Halloween-themed ad in his US Senate race, calling his opponent “She Who Must not Be Named” and using plenty of campy witch tag-lines. The commerical looks more like an SNL spoof than the real deal, but the shared text hit is intriguing, especially since campaign advertisements are specifically aimed at adults. While critics want to send Harry to the kiddie lit compartment, children can’t vote and would thus not be the target audience here. The grown-ups headed to the polls are clearly expected to “get it”!

The Seven Keys to — the Hogwarts Professor?

I was asked today by a very kind reporter to summarize the way I think about books and Harry Potter especially. Here, well,  below the jump,  is my flash response as a rushed email note, posted  for your comment, amendment, and correction:

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Shared Text: The Advent of ‘Parable Novel’ Mania

I was asked last week by a major periodical to share what my current thinking was about the Harry Potter novels. The editors were curious if I had anything ‘new’ on my mind about these books that they could publish in the run-up to the release of the first ‘Deathly Hallows’ film, at the beginning of the end, if you will. I’m not sure if they’ll be interested in publishing what I’m thinking these days, but I thought I’d share with you the preliminary notes I sent them. My thesis is this: Ms. Rowling’s success (and the success of Harry’s progeny, the books that probably wouldn’t have been published or found the audience they have except for Harry) has turned the literary world upside-up, with allegorical and serial ‘Young Adult’ books restoring the novel to its original popularity, power, and relevance. [Read more…]

Onion News: Osama bin Laden is ‘Team Jacob’?

How about Al Quaeda loving Twilight author Stephenie Meyer? The Onion outdoes itself here: ‘Terrorists Go Team Jacob.’

I think we’ll have to file this under both ‘Twilight’ and ‘Shared Text;’ who would have guessed that even our enemies hiding in caves in Pakistan are waiting eagerly for Mrs. Meyer to finish Midnight Sun? (H/T to James at TwilightNews)