Interesting, why do you consider harry potter is a dystopia?
I find it impossible to think of Harry Potter as anything BUT a dystopia. Even Hogwarts itself is a dystopia.
Children are segregated based on a personality test at age 11, and then left to fulfill roles that were set out a thousand years ago, leading to cultural divides that continue for the rest of their lives. The Hogwarts house system is one of the main foundations of the pureblood/muggleborn conflict. And I haven’t even gotten into how Hogwarts is run, how useful it is as a tool for preparing people for adult life, and how dangerous it is to live there.
As for Wizarding Britain at large:
- There’s no evidence that the Ministry of Magic is organized by anything other than cronyism.
- The Minister for Magic is not a democratically elected leader.
- Voldemort easily finds a foothold in mainstream society (even within living memory of his last reign of terror!) and his supporters easily infiltrate the government and implement all sorts of nightmarish and bigoted policies.
- We rarely see people working to innovate any aspect of wizarding society, with the exception of eccentrics like the Weasley Twins or Luna Lovegood.
- Wizarding society is so isolated that purebloods find it strange if a witch or wizard takes much interest in muggle culture, even if they are muggleborn.
- Umbridge is allowed to torture children and spread propaganda at the only major educational institution in the country.
- There’s a huge amount of discrimination relating to non-human races, particularly House Elf slavery.
I could go on at some length on this topic, but instead I’ll finish with my pet theory: that Wizarding Britain is so fucked up that the rest of the wizarding world has just given up on it.
We know from the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that there are plenty of magical cultures all over the world, but Britain receives NO kind of international help when Voldemort is on the rise or when the Ministry of Magic is in turmoil.
Obviously the “real” explanation is that the Voldemort/Harry/Hogwarts narrative must to be isolated for Harry’s story to be told… but I still quite like the explanation that Wizarding Britain has been abandoned by the rest of the world. Their society has become so warped, so backward and so beholden to irrational beliefs and traditions that other international wizarding powers have decided the situation is unsalvageable.
There’s no point in stepping in to get rid of Voldemort unless he becomes a threat overseas, because another Dark Lord will probably rise up in a few years anyway. And Wizarding Britain seems functionally incapable of defending itself from this threat without the help of Harry and his team of teen sidekicks — who by the end of the series are all suffering from PTSD because they have spent their formative years fighting in a dystopian war.
(P.S. Even if my pet theory ISN’T true, then the international wizarding community must still have SOME reason not to step in and help Britain fight back against Voldemort. Which, in itself, makes the world of Harry Potter seem even more dystopian than before.)
This is amazing
It was a difficult summer IRL but a weird and sometimes amazing one online so I started thinking about Summer Internet being over and as I am an HR person I am big on exit interviews. So this is my Summer Internet Internship Exit Interview.
I looked around for exit interviews from internships and liked this one, from a youth ministry, the most. It made sense because the Internet is my religion.
1) Describe our team dynamic in 10 words or less
The men need to talk less and listen more.
2) You have fresh eyes. What do you see that you think I might not be seeing? How would we improve?
I address a lot of this below. I don’t know how fresh my eyes are, tbh. I’m the patriarchy. Who cares what I think and who trusts me to see what you’re not seeing?
3) What was your favorite experience or memory from your internship?
My favorite experience this summer was the reaction to my piece about Kim Kardashian Hollywood. In all my years I’ve never had so many people I admire linking to & praising something I wrote. And beyond that, the feedback was almost universally positive. I didn’t get that second wave of bro-dude nay-sayers that seems to follow literally any opinion on the internet. This was an incredible blessing.
Also, after Ferguson police offer Darren Wilson murdered Michael Brown and left his body in the street for hours, it was incredibly powerful to see people STAY tweeting about it, the online journalists rushing to Ferguson, the local voices being raised and amplified, people insisting that was was going on there was important and necessary and vital, even as both the government and main stream media ignored it. That was huge. That’s something I’ll always remember about this summer.
4) What was your least favorite experience?
Seeing talented friends get thrown under literary buses by bitter men. The summer began with that “review” of Tricia Lockwood in the New Yorker (online edition only), and then that other guy being horrible to Emily Gould & Rachel Fersh. The internet should not be safe space for men who belittle women and their accomplishments under the fake guise of literary criticism. They are unimportant and their lives and opinions do not matter, and they should not be made to feel otherwise.
5) What expectations were/weren’t met?
I expected to get farther on a variety of writing projects this summer, but I can’t blame the internet for that. I mean I can but I can’t. Otherwise I had a great experience on the internet, engaged with a lot of people & brands, got new followers. Oh and the best thing that happened: I was reading a lot of Megan Abbott this summer, and consequently tweeting about her a bunch. And then she followed me on twitter? And later even RT’d something I’d written??? Still when I think about, my heart. It was a really good summer.
6) If you took over for me tomorrow, what would be the first thing you would change?
I would make it much more difficult for men to harass women online, anonymously or otherwise, and easier for women to avoid and report harassment. I would put more women and people of color in tech leadership positions so that this becomes more of a priority because it obviously isn’t right now.
7) Of the 4 purposes that our ministry has (Reach, Connect, Grow, Discover, Honor), which are out of balance in our ministry?
I would say Honor. Reach, Connect, Grow, and Discover are all doing great on the internet! But we need to practice mindfulness online, and remember to always be our best selves. If you say something to someone online that you wouldn’t dare say to their face IRL, you are a coward and you lack honor. Let’s definitely focus on cultivating Honor next.
8) What will be the memory that will mark the summer of 2014 for you?
Honestly it will be a memory of logging into Kim Kardashian Hollywood and seeing that Emily had bought my character Kloaca this expensive outfit that I really wanted. but never would have bought myself. It was a very What Even Is My Life moment. The summer was kind of like that, all the time.
9) What did you learn?
I learned that an invitation to appear on Huffington Post Live sounds like a fun opportunity to widen your audience but actually it’s much more hassle than it’s worth, and it doesn’t really get you any new followers, and they don’t even ask you any interesting questions. You are mere content chattel and there better ways to spend your life.
10) What experience did you not get to do, you think we should add to the process?
I had hoped to find a new online home where I could contribute a regular article, a new place to hang a shingle, basically. It didn’t happen but I’ll keep looking. I would say this is already added though, it’s not something you need to do any differently. I just need to find the right one for me.
11) Open-ended: Your thoughts, concerns, praise, criticism
It’s late and this is long, maybe just this: we think of the internet as being for talking, for having our voices heard, but it’s actually really great if you think of it as a place to listen and learn. There are so many opportunities to learn on the internet, if you are willing to stop talking long enough to recognize them.
- The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros. So far adulthood consists of me paying bills and reading the books I was assigned in high school English but did not read in favor of AOL Instant Messenger. This particular one was great!
- Short stories: “A Very Small Flame,” James Winter. “Astronauts in Love,” Erin Somers. “Mr. Jenny Perdido,” Cathy Day. Also still reading Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes. I recommend them all.
- Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi. I love Helen Oyeyemi’s writing and loved this book up until about the last ten percent, but then it took a turn that I found bizarre and downright offensive and I still don’t really understand why it happened. If you’ve read it, please talk me though this.
- Kindred, Octavia Butler. Timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly antebellum South stuff. It is so good, but totally wrenching.
- Bellweather Rhapsody, Kate Racculia. Okay, so. This book came on my radar thanks to Rachel Fershleiser, as so many good books do, and then I had a conversation with its author on Twitter about how Peter Capaldi looks like a sexy row house and David Tennant looks like a sexy grasshopper in sand shoes, and that’s what made me buy it. It’s great: teens and music and MURDER. I highly recommend.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets & Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling. During this reread I just keep trying to imagine things from the point of view of Lisa Turpin, who was sorted into Ravenclaw in Book One, but is then never heard from again. In this AU, Lisa Turpin is very no-nonsense and is just here to learn: “Lisa, did you hear Harry Potter flew a car to school, even though he’s twelve?” “Jesus Christ. Fuck that guy.” “Lisa, turns out Harry Potter just helped his mass murderer godfather escape on the back of hippogriff and then he pretended he had nothing to do with it. Also Hermione’s taking extra classes via time travel.” “Ugh, FUCK THAT GUY. Hermione’s cool, though.” “Yo, Lisa, Snape just murdered Dumbledore in the tower. Harry Potter was there.” “Fuuuuuuuuuuuck I’m calling my parents.”