Mailvox: you really do have to read Tolkein and Lewis

A fellow fantasy writer – one of the Dragonlance successors – shares his two cents:

I just read your article and wanted to drop you a line. You’re probably right about Potter. I’ve heard from my kids that it’s not as hip as it used to be to like Harry Potter. Add to that the fact that the books have become more mature as they went on, ostensibly to keep up with their aging audience. That means they’re not pulling younger readers into the series like they were in the beginning.

But as a fellow author, I must ask, is it really a bad thing that people won’t be reading Harry Potter books in ten years? Do books have to be momentous just because they’re popular?

I’ve got to admit, it’s a pet peeve of mine that some people demand that popular things also be deep and meaningful. This group can’t stand it when something that is pure entertainment value becomes popular. They see it as a waste of time and somehow beneath the decency of man.

I’ve never understood it.

Sure, anyone who’s read any of my books will know I like popcorn entertainment, but what’s wrong with that? Sometimes people just want to be entertained without having to wade through the cumbersome vehicle of the author’s position piece. If you want to give the world your opinion, they say, write an op-ed for the paper?

I would argue that Harry Potter will dwindle anyway, just like Narnia, and Lord of the Rings have. Sure, there still popular, but nowhere near what they were. You can still be well read in the genre without having read them.

I largely agree, except for the idea that Narnia and Lord of the Rings have faded, and that one can be well-read in the fantasy genre without having read them. What’s unusual about both Narnia and LOTR is that they are still being read and widely imitated decades after their authors died. What I’m primarily objecting to is the idea that the Harry Potter books are a classic that will last forty or fifty years the way the Lewis and Tolkein books have. Considering that Potter is a fantasy spin on the Tom Brown books and was somewhat anticipated by the Diane Duane Wizard series, it’s hard to say what a Harry Potter imitation would even be, let alone imagine whole new series of them being produced thirty years from now.

Lay off the estrogen, Peter

Peter King can’t understand how anyone could possibly do what most of mankind has done throughout history:

It sounds very much like Smith empathizes with Vick’s plight and doesn’t find it very objectionable that Vick might have put a few bucks down on dogfights. Is he serious? Is there anything justifiable about Vick going to a single dogfight, or gambling a dime on a dogfight? Should the feds, once they had evidence from four corroborating witnesses that placed Vick in the middle of one dogfight after another, have ignored the evidence and not gone after him?

I have no problem whatsoever with people betting on dogfights, cockfights or EUR/USD exchange rate. And yes, going to dogfights is perfectly justifiable, as is gambling a dime or more on it. Don’t give me that “it’s the law” nonsense either, if Vick was being indicted for breaking federal marijuana laws, King would be equally outraged, but at the feds for pursuing such a petty law.

Dogs die. Fighting them and gambling is low class entertainment, but most of the world is lower class, by definition. Considering that Peter King makes a living writing about men bashing their bodies into each other and permanently damaging themselves, his pretense that dogfighting is somehow beyond the pale isn’t just silly, it’s hypocritical.

And I’m told people have been known to wager on the NFL too.

I like her more and more

It’s a sad day when a punchline for a political joke obviously understands how the bifactional ruling party works better than most of the political commentators out there:

“The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan – all brought to us via the Democrats.”
– Cindy Sheehan

She may be an attention whore and she may be an irrational leftist, but she certainly understands what’s going on better than any of the mainstream media whores on the right or the left.