27 July 2005

Solitaire, Anyone?

It appears that the San Francisco Chronicle's David Kipen has begun to discover trufen (true fans… and it is no accident that "fan" is an elision of "fanatic"):

I was wrong. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a masterpiece of all-ages literature that ranks alongside The Lord of the Rings and The Wind in the Willows. I mean it. Not only that, but Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

(typography corrected) Leaving aside for the moment that disturbing parallel—after all, in HPHBP a continuing (albeit not major) character is under the magical equivalent of brainwashing-based compulsion—I can hardly express a great deal of surprise. The difference is that this time, anyway, at least some of the fanaticism appears to have some depth to it. Not only has it lasted through the entire eight-year run thus far (in distinct contrast to, for example, "R.L. Stine"—who, perhaps not coincidentally, shared a publisher…), but it seems to be more catalytic than obsessive. From my observations, at least, kids who start on Harry work their ways toward other works a lot more rapidly and pervasively than does the stereotypical Trekkie.

And how we got from John Frankenheimer to Rick Berman probably doesn't bear very careful examination.