The following thought-provoking article, written by a movie critic, offers an explanation and summary of the HARRY POTTER phenomenon:

Heed me, children, for I am the anti-Potter
Geoff Pevere, MOVIE CRITIC
Toronto Star, Nov 9, 2001

With the publication next year of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter And The Seven Circles Of Hell, the rest of the world will learn what you're about to be warned of today, but by then it will be too late: The kid with the glasses and the Coke merchandising arrangement is the Antichrist. Heed while you can.

As with every aspect of his netherworldly design, Harry's plan for world domination will be expertly woven into the whimsical narrative fabric of the book - a preliminary draft of which we have obtained at great risk through the growing "Bury Scary Harry" cultural guerrilla network - but here we'll lay it out for you plain and simple. The better to steel yourself against its insidious influence.

Stage one: For purposes of initial infiltration, pick a medium no one could suspect of harbouring such evil, like books. Better yet, children's books. Even better than that, let the devil in the books take the form of a child. What worked for Damien - and Britney, come to think of it - will do for Harry.

Also, arrive at a time when everyone is convinced that no one, particularly children, is reading anymore, and prove this isn't so. Prove there's more to a child's life than movies and TV, and thwart the rampaging concerns about electronic-era illiteracy. They'll eat it up and love you for it.

Stage two: Find an earthly spokesperson with an image and a back-story that resonates with echoes of fairytale dreams come true, like an attractive blonde single mother who is delivered from obscurity to renown like a bolt from a magic wand. No one will guess she's Satan's mother.

Stage three: Create a crossover phenomenon, which compels adults as well as children to read the books. This will not only broaden the unholy influence of the dark gospel buried therein, it will multiply the sales and bring families together in an act no one could possibly suspect of setting the stage for Judgment Day. (Anyone who expresses misgivings about Harry can be accused of harbouring misgivings about childhood and family itself, and nobody needs that noise.)

This will also facilitate the speedy distribution of Harry's word through the ranks of the world's elders, who will insist that other grownups read the books because "they're not just for kids." Also, because they're big, they can force what few remaining children who aren't reading the books to do so.

Stage four: Make yourself irresistible to the press. They'll eat up the reading revival angle, and they'll lap up the attractive-single-mother Cinderella story. Later on, if they begin to feel misgivings about the role they've played in inflating the climate of voracious consumerist hype surrounding the media-saturating multinational Harry franchise, they can do stories about that climate of voracious consumerist hype. That way everybody stays happy: the media can convince itself it's covering a story and not creating one, and Harry still gets hyped on the front page.

If there's a global crisis around, promote yourself as an escapist alternative to it. That will keep the newsworthiness of this otherwise minor event cranked to the max, and it will make any concerns of Harry's evil seem pale compared to what's happening 'round the clock - or at least between Harry's opening-soon movie commercials - on CNN. It will also make you seem to appear to be doing God's work. Healing through hype.

Stage five: After holding out on issues of creative integrity, sign a huge movie deal with all the merchandising trimmings: toys, candy, clothing, product placements, publishing spinoffs, promotional TV programming, nightlights, dental floss - the whole junk-generating craptacular shebang. Republish the books, but in special editions everyone will have to re-buy. Then, just so no one can accuse Harry of completely selling out to corporate capitalism, refuse to be bought by the world's largest burger peddler. That way you will not only appear to have drawn a line in the grease, you won't get into bed with a junk-food corporation that has its own designs on world domination. And Harry (well, Harry and Coke, that is) will rule alone.

Stage six: After testing the must-see waters of event marketing with the book publishing, bring the bullying promotional tactics home with the release of the first movie. And really pull the gloves off: Be as vulgar in your merchandizing blitz as possible, and push Harry right through the wall separating the boy from the brand.

By that time, not seeing the movie will seem as impossible a choice as not breathing, and everyone will be fully prepared for the onslaught of the army of darkness. Heck, they'll be marching with the army of darkness. Behind old Harry.

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~
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