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Wild About Harry




I take exception to Marcy Burstiner’s description of Harry Potter as “children’s trash” (“Media Maven,” Dec. 3).

One of the differences between ink-stained wretches like Burstiner and great poets like J.K. Rowling is that the latter inspire the best instincts in the universal spirit, while the former criticize local newspapers and public radio stations. Humans and aliens will be reading epics like the Iliad and the Sorcerer’s Stone long after Humboldt is buried under many layers of molten basalt. Harry Potter novels will be issued and reissued in tomes with thicker and thicker leather bindings and more and more inlaid gold embroidery forever. Burstiner’s media critiques are all used to start fires a week after they’re published.

News writers are hacks, save the few that go on to write real narratives. Their prose is wooden, their chosen subjects dull. Their feature stories have a modicum of structure, but nothing like the expertly-crafted formulas evident in Harry Potter books. It would be a rare news writer who could generate the kinds of archetypal characters, the finely-tuned plots and the settings, moods, tones and symbols that support and define them in each Harry Potter episode. Rowling is the reincarnation of Mozart as a fantasy writer. She isn’t a second-rate pundit spun out in some local media market. She doesn’t write snarky opinions whining about the failures of persons on higher celestial planes than she will occupy for several lifetimes. She doesn’t churn out reams of dry exposition and bask in her unpopularity, saying that it means she’s doing her job. She makes a half billion quid, something that no reporter has ever done. Rowling should be knighted for bringing the Empire almost as much cash as Paul McCartney did.

The Harry Potter series is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and “Media Maven” is a painting of a horse in the Valley West Motel 6.

Nathaniel Page, Trinidad



First, to Marcy Burstiner, Media Maven. In the Dec. 3 issue you responded to 10-year old Ciara Cheli-Colando’s letter, who countered your opinion of NPR subject matter. Could you explain to this senior citizen why you “consider Harry Potter children’s trash?” I agree with you that you “have done my job” of “Anger(ing) Your Readers.”

Second, to Charlie Myers, Filmland. The film The Road was released Nov. 25 and Precious was released Nov. 26. Why have these films not been shown in Humboldt County? Is there some form of censorship or are we too far out in the boondocks?

Suzanne Crothers, McKinleyville


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