Harry Potter’s Lesson in Mudslinging

By: Nancy Salvato

It is utterly fascinating how a traditionally anti-war left-leaning movie industry can release such incredibly produced, blockbuster “good vs. evil” fantasy epics – such as Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series – yet demonstrates complete denial about how these hit movies actually mimic the world around us.

I suspect just as Tolken never acknowledged at the time of writing his trilogy that it was an allegory for WWI – he couldn’t help but be subliminally influenced by events around him – the left-leaning movie industry can only accept the reality of what is happening in the world today if it is couched in make believe settings where there they can take a stand without acknowledging that their comfortable lifestyle comes courtesy of the good guys, the ones willing to fight (as brutal as need be)
for their freedom.

This sort of Hollywood mentality is epitomized by an exchange between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, when Cruise’s character demands the truth and Jack Nicholson responds, “You can’t handle the truth!”

Most of the anti-war/anti-Bush proselytizers’ prefer not to face facts and instead create a half-fictionalized version of a world where they don’t have to actually acknowledge that their own excrement might stink, that purchasing carbon credits won’t really alleviate their carbon footprint on the earth, and that if they lived under Sharia Law, the rest of us wouldn’t be subjected to hearing about their irresponsible escapades in the news. But I digress…

After observing the rise of the Dark Lord in the latest (and ostensibly, last) movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it takes little effort to notice real life parallels in our world today. To begin, the Ministry of Magic has imposed slanted views on two institutions – Hogwarts and The Daily Prophet – which are tasked with providing information. Both appear to have fallen under the same spell as the public school system and mainstream media here in the United States.

But rather than provide the knowledge and training necessary to allow her class of witches and wizards to prepare for impending attack, Dolores Umbridge, the Defense against the Dark Arts Teacher, teaches her class “defensive magical theory.” News in The Daily Prophet is “slanted,” and reporters sway their readers against Professor Dumbledore and Harry – causing people to believe there is no danger posed by the Dark Lord, Voldemort – who the ministry denies has returned to fulfill the prophesy.
Rather than allow people to hear Harry and Dumbledore’s side of events so that they can make an informed decision about how to react, these institutions accuse those sounding the alarm of being liars, casting suspicion on their motives.

Although there is footage of airplanes striking the Twin Towers on 9/11, some people (Rosie O’Donnell for one) believe that President Bush has created a vast conspiracy to lie about what happened on that fateful day – as well as to misrepresent the threat terrorists pose to our way of life. The U.N. and the Ministry of Magic display an uncanny similarity in their inability to define terrorism and what it means to those subjected to these acts.

They both identify the wrong people as posing the threat and provide legitimacy to those who lie and misuse their posts to further their own self-interests. In the Ministry’s case, Fudge was paranoid that Dumbledore had designs on the Ministry and sought to damage his reputation. He put a sadist in charge of Hogwarts to ensure that the Ministry held sway over the student body. Only after the public became aware of the truth of Dumbledore and Harry’s statements, did Fudge resign his post.

Just as the Fifth Column in this country defames our president and provides unfavorable commentary regarding the fight in Iraq and what it means in the larger war against Islamofascism, Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic denied the public implications of Voldemort’s return by defaming Harry and Professor Dumbledore and discrediting their message.

In the beginning of the story, prior to Harry using the Patronus Spell against the death eaters and being put on trial for using magic to save himself and his cousin Dudley (somewhat like our soldiers who have to defend their actions) there is a terrible storm brewing overhead. Later in the movie, in reference to Voldemort’s return, Hagrid states, “It’s changing out there. Just like last time. There’s a storm coming Harry, and we must be ready when she does.”

We, too, must be ready to fight for our freedom against a people whose belief system does not allow for contradicting viewpoints, finds it pleasurable to impose pain upon others, and considers sending children on suicide missions an acceptable practice in order to further their religious ideas. It was almost harder to witness the cruelty of Umbridge’s disciplinary tactics used on characters we’ve come to cherish, as it has been to watch heads sawed off by the Jihadists’ in the name of Allah,
neither of which quite seemed real.

According to the radical Islamists, after many battles – or Jihad – the Mahdi will arrive to lead a revolution that will end with his establishing an Islamic World Order. His arrival is to be followed by some form of natural disaster, ending in a cold wind which will kill off everyone who had survived this event. Afterwards, there will be a resurrection of all human beings who will be sorted as believers in Allah or the unbelievers who will be sentenced to eternity in Hell. This description
sounds not unlike what Voldemort’s rise to power would entail. However, there is another belief system in the book, one based on love, which might prevail. Without giving away the ending, the stage has been set for the Christian notions of resurrection and eternal life.

It’s true that Islamofascism seems archaic to those in our society who haven’t been exposed to the study of religion and its influence on people. And it’s common knowledge that non-secularists don’t put a lot of stock in any religion or system of beliefs. However, those preaching their radical ideas have an audience who’s listening.

We can bury our heads in the sand, or like Dumbledore’s army, by extension The Order of the Phoenix, learn the nature of our enemy (which is growing) and prepare for the showdown. History has proven time and again that ignoring or appeasing our enemies will eventually lead to our own demise. We must be willing to look at our enemy for what it is and fight for what we value and believe in or be prepared to give up our way of life.

Today, in our country, this war against terror doesn’t seem any more real than a movie. And talk about impending disaster seems very far away. But the alarm has been sounded.

Are you listening?

Nancy Salvato is the President of Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) research and educational project whose mission is to promote the education of the American public on the basic elements of relevant political, legal and social issues important to our country. She is the Education Editor for The New Media Journal and a staff writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets, where she contributes on matters of
education policy.

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