Entries tagged with “Politics”.


Still (briefly) on the topic of the disintegration of the world’s political and financial structures, I note that the media is carrying a story this morning about the Vatican’s concern about global financial markets. One such report here, from the Guardian.

Synopsizing: the Holy See released a document yesterday that called for a ‘world authority’ that could monitor and intervene in global financial affairs to help restore ‘the primacy of the spiritual and of ethics’.1 The Pope, apparently, is showing his solidarity with the #occupy movement.

Right. So would this be the same Vatican that is the richest religious institution on the planet that pays zero taxes, and has investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction and real estate?2 Would it be the same Vatican that continually uses its influence in politics?

Or could it be some other principled Vatican that I’ve not heard about?

  1. Yeah. The ‘spiritual’ in financial markets. I can really see how that fits like a foot in a glove. []
  2. This relates to a 1965 estimate, and is based on accumulated wealth, not operating profits. You may see people claiming throughout the interwebs that the Vatican barely scrapes by, pointing to various balance sheets, like this one that shows a (relatively) modest profit. Don’t be fooled. That’s like someone showing you what they earned at work – someone who never pays taxes, that is – while neglecting to disclose that they have their substantial life savings hidden under the mattress… []

It really doesn’t take long does it? A news story of any magnitude comes along and, within mere hours, some idiot journalist decides it would be a great idea to attempt to relate it to their particular paycheck. Take this migraine-inducing offering that appeared in the Hollywood Reporter yesterday:

Eerie Links Between ‘Harry Potter,’ Osama Bin Laden; Why Movie May Benefit

You know, when I read something like that, I just want to smack the perpetrator with a dead halibut. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Smack. Smack smack smack smack.

OK. Eerie links it is, then. We’ve dealt with them before, so we are not intimidated. Let’s see how Mr Gregg Kilday, our hamfisted excuse for a newshound, manages the contortionist feat of tying Harry Potter to the execution of Osama bin Laden.

While the first volume in J.K. Rowling’s seven-book series was originally published in England in 1997, the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was released in November 2001, just months after 9/11.

Er… so what are you saying here, Sherlock? That J.K. Rowling was clairvoyant and foresaw 9/11 in a book written more than four years before the film came out? Because I’ll tell you something about the movie industry: the last four months of a movie the size of Harry Potter, and you don’t have your picture in pretty good shape, you’re in fucking trouble. And I’m going out on a limb here and saying that Warner Brothers probably had their release date figured out a teensy bit before then, you clown. You write for the Hollywood Reporter – you must know that huge films like this have established release dates years in advance. What can the confluence of the 9/11 attacks and the release of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ possibly have to do with one another? It is nothing more than a coincidence.1 Actually, it’s not even a coincidence. A coincidence implies some kind of connection and there isn’t one.

Voldemort is introduced as something of a formless boogie-man — not unlike the mysterious Osama — but then, over the course of the series, takes on more and more of a physical presence until in the last volume he and Harry go head-to-head in a final, cataclysmic battle.

Oh God. Give me the halibut again. Right, so just like Voldemort takes on a greater physical appearance as time goes by, Osama.. let’s see now… disappears from the view of the world and turns into an insubstantial wisp of rumour and guesswork. Yeah, that’s a really well thought out analogy. And that final cataclysmic battle with Harry is… what… bin Laden being shot in the head by Obama? Or by a Navy SEAL? Oh wait – maybe the SEAL is Harry? Was there a Hermione SEAL and a Ron Weasley SEAL? Did they have owls? Are you a FUCKING MORON?

Of course, what Gregg Kilday is really saying is that there’s some kind of supernatural element to all this – that the first film was released just after 9/11 and then that the last film is released just after bin Laden is killed and that means something. Never mind that the books don’t follow any kind of temporal logic in that respect, nor that it makes absolutely no sense in as many ways as you’d like to find; Obama represents Harry? Why doesn’t George Bush represent Harry? He was in charge when the planes flew into the WTC. Oh, maybe there are two Harrys? It’s dual personality thing! Smack smack smack smack.

For a generation of kids who grew up reading Rowling’s books and watching Hollywood’s big-screen adaptations in the shadows of 9/11, there have been inevitable echoes of the real world in Harry’s sometimes reluctant quest to defeat Voldemort.

You don’t have kids, do you Mr Kilday? This is what happens when kids go to watch Harry Potter: they see wizards and whomping willows and wands and werewolves. They see butterbeer and Every Flavour Beans and pumpkin juice. They see people flying and turning invisible and riding on broomsticks. They do not think about, care about, or even spare the most fleeting thought for, Osama bin Laden, George Bush, Pakistan, Barack Obama, international politics, Navy SEALs, the CIA, Wikileaks, conspiracy theories, or the Hollywood Reporter. This is what is referred to by people in the business as the magic of the cinema. It is only failed academics looking for attention, and sad geeks with nothing better to do, who draw stupid connections between escapist fantasy and the real world. Kids are not that dumb.

And as for Harry’s ‘sometimes reluctant quest to defeat Voldemort’, well there you go with the vacant analogies again. As far as I can tell there has never been any ‘reluctance’ on the part of the US in attempting to defeat Osama bin Laden. It seems to me (and most of the rest of the world) that the US has been pursuing him with relentless and almost psychopathological determination.

Back in 2004, a poster on mugglenet.com made some of it explicit, comparing the Death Eaters to Al Queda and noting of that “just as Voldemort was shaped by his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment, Osama was shaped by his personal struggle between Western pleasures and Islamic discipline.”

That ‘someone’ was you, wasn’t it Mr Kilday? C’mon, you can tell us. We won’t laugh at you for hanging around in Harry Potter chatrooms. Just in case you can’t see the utter crapness of the comparison from that muggle contributor (who – if it wasn’t you – is undoubtedly a failed academic looking for attention or a sad geek with nothing better to do), let me reword it for you:

“just as Voldemort was shaped by his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment, Adolf Hitler was shaped by his mother’s death and his father’s abandonment.”2

See, THAT is an analogy. It’s where you effortlessly draw comparisons between two things that have some meaningful commonness. It’s not where you take one thing, and then hammer another thing to within an inch of its life in an attempt to make it seem like it relates to the first thing in some vague manner. But I guess there’s no real point in drawing an analogy between Hitler and Voldemort because no-one is currently releasing a film about Hitler, and anyway, he died nearly 80 years ago on April 30, 1945 (just hold that date in your mind for a bit).3

And just as Harry is known in the books as “the anointed one,” a number of President Obama’s critics like Rush Limbaugh have frequently dismissed the president by disparagingly referring to him as “the anointed one” as well4

Oh, right. Wow! That is eerie! And crikey, there was an ‘anointed one’ in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, right? And Jesus – wasn’t He called ‘the anointed one’ too! So, what you’re saying is that Obama, right, is like Jesus and Harry Potter and the kid from Buffy. But hey – wasn’t the anointed one in Buffy evil? So Obama is, like, conflicted like Harry, the saviour of humankind like Jesus and an evil little bloodsucking monster who can only be killed by sunlight, all rolled up in one!

Sorry – I didn’t quite catch that. Did you just say I was pulling arbitrary connections out of my ass? C’mon! Who’d do that?

Meanwhile, in the wake of Bin Laden’s death in a mansion near Islamabad, a meme has already popped up on the web, noting the weird coincidence that Osama and Voldemort both died on the same day, May 1. But true Potter fans have been quick to point out that’s not quite true: When Harry and Voldemort actually finally come face-to-face in the Battle of Hogwarts, in the books’ chronology the date is really May 2, 1998

Wowzer! Now THAT’s eeeeeerrrriiiieeeeeeeeee! So, Osama was killed ON THE SAME DAY as Voldemort! Well, OK, not the same day – a day apart and thirteen years later. Yessirree, can’t get much closer than that! You know what would be REALLY creepy though? If Adolf Hitler was killed on May 1 or a day on either side!5

But Bin Laden’s death is now likely to give the movie an extra emotional resonance for the Potter generation, and that could translate into an even bigger box office bonanza.

Oh yes, I can imagine that the execs at Warner’s were just wetting themselves when they heard bin Laden was dead. The thought of the cleverness of their allegory playing out must have been uppermost in their minds. In fact, I’m going to propose something really radical: Warner Brothers themselves arranged the killing of Osama bin Laden! Think about it – it’s the end of their lucrative Harry Potter franchise, they needed to do something to wring out those extra dollars! What could be more obvious?! I bet they even sent in their very best team for the job…

What a truly terrifying last moment it must have been for Osama, with Daffy holding him down, Bugs taking aim with his SIG 9mm and Porky gloating…

‘Th-th-th-th-th-that’s all folks..’

  1. Unless Mr Kilday is suggesting that J.K. Rowling and al Qaeda are in kahoots. Well, I guess that’s at least as plausible as anything else he’s written in this article. []
  2. Hitler’s father actually died too, when the boy was young, but that’s abandonment, near enough, right? He was also violent and authoritarian. []
  3. And, just in case anyone is tempted, no, I’m not intending to draw comparisons between World War 2 and Harry Potter. I was just making a random example for a point of illustration. You could probably do the same with any despot you cared to name. []
  4. It was actually conservative radio commentator Sean Hannity who first used this term in reference to Obama, anyway. []
  5. And, I might point out, J.K. Rowling would have actually known that. []

Well, now that The Wedding1 has cleared the airwaves for some real reportage, we find out yesterday the extraordinary news that President Obama is, in fact, dead. Whoopsy, did I say President Obama? What I meant to say was Osama Bin Laden! But shucks, it’s a mistake anyone could make, right? Especially if that anyone is Republican-biased, Murdoch-owned Fox News.

Well, maybe you could forgive a tongue-tied reporter in the heat of the moment… it’s not like he was typing it or anything…

Dammit, that ‘b’ is so close to the ‘s’ on the keyboard isn’t it? I’m always accidentally typing abbholeb when what I actually meant to type was assholes.

  1. Yes, apparently there was a wedding of some kind. []