Fri, 27 Jun 2003

In 'Potter-mania' we escape our woes

JK Rowling (Potter-mania, The Jakarta Post, June 24, 2003) is reported to have said that she would have stopped the commercial frenzy if she had been able. She is said to have added, "But you have to be realistic about this." Nothing better illustrates the unrealistic nature of the dream world we inhabit than the Harry Potter phenomenon.

The sales have reached significantly less than one percent of the world's adult population. However, it is likely that a major proportion of the highly literate ones with whom we have entrusted the care of this planet and its people, and the younger generation that will follow in their footsteps, have become "Potter-maniacs". Tom Paine thought, 100 years ago, that the "Age of Reason" had arrived. We can now conclude that it has completely evaporated in the country of his birth.

Mrs. Clinton's book did not do as well. She may well break down all barriers and become the first woman president of the United States. We have to accept that neither she, nor the other world leaders put together, can bring comfort to the three billion or more human beings whose quality of life is worse than that of pets in private homes.

After all, it is great fun for imagemakers and fertile minds to bury their heads in the sands of wizardry, witchcraft and virtual warfare, all of which are good for business and profit.