Anyway, it’s a truly jiffy howler that has been foisted upon us happy-go-lucky types by the eczema-brained Puritans of the world, that howler being the rubbish-filled notion that these doggone Harry Potter books are gateways of darkness that lead to impure lifestyles filled with Jell-O shots, strange piercings and generally poor etiquette skills.
One can easily dismiss such thinking as preposterous baloney by simply looking back on all the “dangerous trash” you soaked up as a kid. You know, the stuff that was really fun to read and watch. I think back on some of my favorite youthful reading and viewing pleasures and, by comparison, Harry Potter is about as troubling as The Lawrence Welk Show.
For starters, there were those oddball sci-fi mags, like Fantastic Tales, Tales to Astonish, Tales From the Crypt, Weird Thoughts Your Grandma Never Has, Fantastic Tales From the Astonishing Crypt and Parent-Eating Robots Digest. These were all loaded with the kind of outlandish imagery that enabled impressionable boys in dark bedrooms to look at the crack of a slightly opened closet and imagine numerous slithering horrors inside.
Not to be overlooked or underestimated in terms of their ability to mind-warp a suburban brain were the comic books. In terms of Potter-esque magic, Marvel Comics featured one serious gent, Dr. Strange, who got into some most heavy and heady stuff. Every issue, the good doctor would plunge into bizarre realms and dimensions, doing thunderous battle with seriously evil sorcerers, whipping up potent razzmatazz with his magician jazz that would have the young folks of Hogwarts wishing they’d taken up shoemaking or river-widening as their chosen craft.
And certainly, one can’t discount the powerful jive laid down by all the incredibly horrible and thoroughly entertaining science-fiction flicks of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Remembered by many as late night “Creature Features,” I was fortunate enough to experience this wave of cinematic brain damage every Friday night at the lovely hour of 6 because the deranged minds at Channel 47 in Fresno were obviously satanic fiends in need of new recruits. They showed the classics of the genre (The Thing, Creature From The Black Lagoon), ultra-horrid grade-D turkeys (Hideous Sun Demon, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Brain From Planet Arous), rampaging dinosaur flicks (Giant Behemoth, Reptilicus, Gorgo, Godzilla) and an impressive slew of giant creature movies (Them with enormous ants, The Giant Tarantula, The Black Scorpion, Night of the Lepus with killer rabbits for God’s sake, and some lame thing with huge frogs terrifying sculpted he-men and their curvy starlets).
So go ahead, Harry fans. Read up and be swept away. There’s absolutely no reason not to. After all, just look at how thoroughly well-adjusted and neuroses-free all of us parents turned out.