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Column Idea for David Brooks:
NYT columnist David Brooks likes to explain any situation as a split between two different types of people. Given this, I think he should write a column that begins:
  There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love Harry Potter, and those who think Harry Potter is silly. I call them the Potters and the Notters.
  Meanwhile, Heidi Bond, whose blog is presently the #1 google hit for "Horcrux," has found Potterblogging to be an easy way to run up 680 blog comments in about a day.
Ran Barton (mail):
I have always thought the world was full of two kinds of people: those who think the world is full of two kinds of people and those who don't.
7.19.2005 11:21am
Kristian (mail) (www):

has found Potterblogging to be an easy way to run up 680 blog comments in about a day.


Nice try. But I guess I bit anyway. :)

But I am waiting for the book from Amazon, sorry I don't have anything more substantive to say.
7.19.2005 11:21am
Ran Barton (mail):
Additionally, the world can be seen as full of 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't.
7.19.2005 11:22am
erp (mail):
More two kinds of people:

Those who, after being hired by the NYT as their token conservative editorial writer, remain true to their stated conservative convictions and those who start writing columns indistinguishable from the NYT liberal editorial writers as soon as they get their first paycheck.

Hint: Brooks is one of those of the latter variety.
7.19.2005 12:15pm
Ted (mail):
"There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loved him."
7.19.2005 12:16pm
The Dude:
It's no longer the number one google result for "horcrux."
7.19.2005 12:57pm
42USC1983 (mail):
Well, what type are you. My wife is a total Potterhead and has been trying to get me to read the books. But I've had an aversion to fiction since at least my sophmore year in college.
7.19.2005 1:42pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
"The world of these books is thin and unsatisfactory, their imagery is derivative, their characterization automatic and their structure deeply flawed," -- Critic Philip Hensher on "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling which finished just one vote behind Seamus Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic "Beowulf" in voting for the Whitbread Prize.
7.19.2005 3:30pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Agree about Brooks.

That said, I would probably be a Potterhead - not that I think they are great literature, because they aren't, but rather because trying to teach great literature to the target audience of the Potter books is counterproductive.

The beauty of Potter for a lot of parents is that it is the type of literature that kids like to read. So, seven or eight years ago, when the first book came out, my maybe eight year old daughter sat down with it and read it in a day and a half. She has done the same ever since - as they have gotten longer, she has become a better reader.

In the end, Potter is what changed her from a good, indifferent, reader into a great reader. It awakened in her the desire to read, read, read.

Much of what she reads, still, as she enters high school this fall, is still somewhat simplistic, as far as fiction goes. But she reads it fast, and with excellent comprehension. And, as she has gotten better at reading, she is reading more stuff - much of it at school, but still. So, she is getting exposed to a lot of great literature. But if she had concentrated on that instead, she would be reading still at grade level, instead of four or five years ahead.

As a note, some would suggest concentrating on Newberry Award books. But she has read a number of such, and none have been nearly as fun as Potter, and a couple have been totally horrid.
7.19.2005 6:32pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Duncan Frissell

What Philip Hensher says about the quality of the Potter books is, frankly, irrelevant. As I noted in my previous post, the beauty of the Potter books is that the kids love them. That "their imagery is derivative, their characterization automatic and their structure deeply flawed" is irrelvant. Seven or eight year old kids (or those with that reading level) frankly don't care about that sort of thing. They want something that is fun to read, and most of them get that with Potter.
7.19.2005 6:40pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
A translation of Beowulf has got to be a lot better than the original. I remember slaving away with that epic in some English class along the way. One of the reasons why I never had any interest in that as a field of endeaver.

But the advantage of Potter over Beowulf for the young (assuming a good translation) is that the former is much more topical for kids. Kids appear to like stories about other kids, esp., kids having adventures, and some emotional traumas - just not too many for most kids.
7.19.2005 6:44pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
"The world of these books is thin and unsatisfactory, their imagery is derivative, their characterization automatic and their structure deeply flawed," -- Critic Philip Hensher on "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling which finished just one vote behind Seamus Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic "Beowulf" in voting for the Whitbread Prize.

Funny, that was my criticism of Beowulf.
7.19.2005 8:37pm
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
"NYT columnist David Brooks likes to explain any situation as a split between two different types of people."

Yes, he does. Someone make him stop. Please.
7.20.2005 12:14am