Is Harry Potter Turning the Next Generation into Geeks?

xah writes, The days are past when Dungeons and Dragons was blamed for bewitching
the children with Satanic evil. Now commentators have discovered a new,
emerging threat. The Washington Post runs an article on Harry Potter’s effect on the next generation. Under
his influence they are said to be turning into “dweebs.” Kids are running around
wearing capes. Most children today are spoiled “little nerds.” It has
become cool to read books. The problem, according to Hank Stuever, the
article’s author, is that the Harry Potter phenomenon represents a
betrayal of the good old values: rebellion, elitism, and “unattainable
sexiness,” and an embrace of questionable, newly prominent qualities:
intelligence, sensitivity, and blandness. I take Stuever’s point, but
is that really so bad?

13 replies on “Is Harry Potter Turning the Next Generation into Geeks?”

  1. Radish03 says:

    I feel like smacking this guy with a stick.
    I mean I see the point he is making, but I believe that he is overreacting a bit, no, rather, a lot. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been a nerd all my life. Perhaps it might be cooler to drink, smoke pot, and get expelled from school for kicking the crap out of someone. Thats the idea I’m getting from this guy, but society seems quite content that I keep away from those things and instead get Highest Honours each grading period, generally listen to my parrents, and enjoy SciFi and Fantasy books.

  2. pythor says:

    I can’t figure it out…
    Is this guy trying to be funny, or is he really the neanderthal he claims? He is whining about the evolution of a society away from cave-man/cowboy days to a philosophical, peaceful tomorrow. It’s the whining that throws me off. A real bully would be screaming invective and knocking heads, trying to get his way. This guy just whines that beating up people was better. Even with his eeming facility with the English language, he still doesn’t see the fact that smart kids are no less rebelious, no less artistic, and no more conforming than the drugged out losers he claims are neeeded to keep society going.

    In short, either he’s a ‘geek’ making a poor attempt at a joke, or he’s a bully, whining that people don’t like bullies anymore.

    • dcheesi says:

      Re: I can’t figure it out…
      First of all, I have a hard time believing this is completely serious; his non-arguments and general tone seem too absurd. If this was from some small paper in Texas, then maybe; but I doubt the Wash.Post would run this guy’s rantings as a serious column. But in case he is serious:

      Actually, the whining fits in rather well with the image of a washed-up former bully who privately knows that he’s lucky not to be working at the shoe store ’til he’s 70. Some bullies really do fit into that old yarn about being cowards on the inside; this guy would be one of those. He’s afraid of specialness because he’s always feared/known that he wasn’t special himself; thus he attacked the special kids, and reassured himself that his normal-ness made him a ‘real man’ or somesuch. Now he’s afraid that this new generation is going to turn the tides and somehow make him the butt of the joke. To which I say: it’s about time! :-)

    • fiziko says:

      Re: I can’t figure it out…

      Is this guy trying to be funny, or is he really the
      neanderthal he claims?

      I suspect he’s trying to be funny. I kept
      expecting him to say we could avoid the geek problem
      and alleviate overpopulation at the same time by
      eating anyone dressed like Harry Potter.

  3. Lord_Of_The_Beer says:

    Kill Rebel’s – My ARSE
    In my experiance most of the people who are regecting mainstrem values (ie Rebels) tend to be very literate.

    I have not met many yuppies, but I have never met one who is a reader.

    Simply put i have never found that reading lowered IQ or encoraged conformity.

    Now the question becomes are geeks the new protest culture, and why is this guy scared of it?

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Kill Rebel’s – My ARSE

      I have not met many yuppies, but I have never met one who is a reader.

      *Raises Hand*

      Nice Appartment In Suburbia, Drive A Buick Regal, And Loved Lord Of The Rings.

    • Harry Reddington says:

      Re: Kill Rebel’s – My ARSE


      In my experiance most of the people who are regecting mainstrem values (ie Rebels) tend to be very literate.

      I have not met many yuppies, but I have never met one who is a reader.

      Simply put i have never found that reading lowered IQ or encoraged conformity.

      Now the question becomes are geeks the new protest culture, and why is this guy scared of it?

      I have found that Reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED lowers the I.Q. After a while, you begin to believe that SPORTS realy count for something (Other than profit of course) in the real world.

      No my friend, what we have here is a member of the MEDIA, who is rightfully afraid that Nerds and Geeks (who read things other than Sports Magazines) will actually do something about MEDIA TYPES who cater to the lowest common denominator… Their own.

      Harry Reddington

  4. EvilRobot says:

    Rebels can’t be literate and succeed?
    Hi. I got kicked out of high school and did a lot of drugs. Of course, I was also a pascifist and got beat up most of the time. I read a great deal and was introduced to computers at the age of 10. Through the help of alternative education, I eventually got my high school diploma and am now on my way to a BS in Comp Sci. Where do I fit in?

  5. dkichline says:

    Send them feedback
    I am sending them a nice email about what I thought of this article. I suggest you do the same.
    [email protected]

  6. PerlStalker says:

    Serious or satire?

    My hope is that the author wrote the article as a peice
    of satire. (Although the last paragraph almost makes me
    think he was serious.) The article does make you think
    about the shift in values from supporting jocks to
    supporting intelectuals. (Gee, an education might just be
    more important than sports.) I think that’s a good thing.

    I’m one of those guys who, if I were still in school,
    would be in couseling to make sure that I wouldn’t go
    Columbine. The HP books let us geeky, “potential
    shooters”, know that it is okay to be different and maybe
    even enjoy school a bit.

    0.02 USD from a 24 y.o. kid who loved the books.

    PerlStalker

  7. theangrymob says:

    If it turns the next generation into geeks…

    Then we should erect a shrine to J.K. Rowling. No one contributes more to mankind than thinkers.

    We need more dreamers, thinkers, and nerds.

  8. xah says:

    followup: “hairy brutes” are all the rage now
    Just as geeks attain the “unattainable sexiness” that Hank Stuever would deny us, suddenly we lose again. Dot-commers are out and “hairy brutes” are hip and voguish. Is this game fixed?

    Firefighters, police officers and the rest deserve a tip of the hat, and sometimes a lot more, of course.

    I’m just wondering what we will have to invent to get some real respect. Warp drive? Teleportation?

    Here is the article [nytimes.com] (registration required).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/28/opinion/28DOWD.html

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