Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lost: One Plot. If found, please return to Guardian offices

8 comments:

Sam Dodsworth said...

So... the problem is that Harry Potter is 'fundamentalist' because it has something to do with Halloween which used to have something to do with Paganism and then with Chrtistianity but is now just kids dressing up and demanding sweets and is about to be banned by the health-and-safety inspectors and anyway women are superstitious? Of course. Why did I not see that before?

Prediction: rude remarks about "health-and-safety" will soon replace "I know this isn't politically correct" as a sign that there's no need to keep reading.

Chestertonian Rambler said...

Fundamentalism:

a. A religious movement, which orig. became active among various Protestant bodies in the United States after the war of 1914-1918, based on strict adherence to certain tenets (e.g. the literal inerrancy of Scripture) held to be fundamental to the Christian faith; the beliefs of this movement; opp. liberalism and modernism.

b. In other religions, esp. Islam, a similarly strict adherence to ancient or fundamental doctrines, with no concessions to modern developments in thought or customs.

So funda{sm}mentalist, an adherent of fundamentalism; also, an economic or political doctrinaire. Also attrib. or as adj., and transf.


Superstition:
1. Unreasoning awe or fear of something unknown, mysterious, or imaginary, esp. in connexion with religion; religious belief or practice founded upon fear or ignorance.

b. In particularized sense: An irrational religious belief or practice; a tenet, scruple, habit, etc. founded on fear or ignorance.

2. An irrational religious system; a false, pagan, or idolatrous religion. Now rare or Obs.

b. A religious ceremony or observance of a pagan or idolatrous character. Now rare or Obs.

{dag}c. Religious observance. Obs. rare{em}1.

{dag}d. Idolatrous or extravagant devotion. Obs.

{dag}3. ‘Over-nicety; exactness too scrupulous’ (J., 1755). (Cf. SUPERSTITIOUS 3.) Obs. rare{em}0.

4. transf. (from 1). Irrational or unfounded belief in general; an unreasonable or groundless notion.

Hence super{sm}stitional a., characterized by superstition, superstitious; super{sm}stitionist, one given to superstition, or holding superstitious beliefs; super{sm}stitionless a., free from superstition.

clarrie said...

What an odd article. (Sorry that my comment is a bit pointless. But I'm really left boggling at how to respond to it).

culfy said...

Has anyone told Tolkien that Lord of the Rings is a resurgence of paganism?

Sylvia said...

...I admit I only got through the first few paragraphs, in which the writer appears to assert that writing a fantasy novel is identical to commanding all readers of said novel to believe in the literal truth of everything that happens in said novel.

I'm pretty sure that isn't what the gentleman *meant* to say, but I'm afraid it's what he said, and after that I had to sort of skim so as to preserve my remaining brain cells. There was something about women being dim, too, but I really don't know what the ever-living crap any of it was about.

For the record, the present-day town of Salem isn't even where the witch trials were held. This is not terribly relevant, but it makes me feel a little better to say something factual after reading that.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

Yes, the fundamental fallacy at the core of this article is the belief that people are incapable of separating fact from fiction. If you like the Harry Potter novels and accept their internal logic, it automatically follows that you believe in magic in the real world.

Once you accept that the author holds this belief, the rest of the article makes a great deal of sense. Not, that is, in the sense that it says anything meaningful (though I confess I skimmed most of it), but rather in the sense that you can imagine the mind, limited though it must be, that thought it up.

The real question, though, is why this article is gracing the pages of the Guardian rather than some little-read blog. Is the author someone I should know?

Danel said...

That's the really frightening thing - this bizarre article isn't from some random green inker, but from Sir Simon Jenkins, former editor of the Times, among many other things.

Sylvia said...

How weird. Looked him up on the Wikipedias and he's not old enough to be senile...maybe in honor of the holiday he had his column ghost-written. Ba-dum-ching.