Thursday 20 September 2012

The goodies are un-cool


One of the ways in which the Harry Potter novels, although traditional in their deep structure, were representative of the modern world, is that the goodies were not 'cool'.

In the modern world, pretty much everybody who is 'popular', cool, beautiful, smart, witty, successful, admired and fun is a baddie: that is, a servant of evil.

And the people on the right side are by comparison square, dumb, plain, lame, nuts, nerdy and boring.

Harry's school gang is a bunch of 'losers' that includes a swotty 'mudblood', a seedy and impoverished blood traitor, the clumsiest and least-talented kid in the school, and a loony.

(Admittedly, on the periphery there are also a beautiful redhead and some anarchical trickster twins.)

The lesson is a Christian one, as also seen in Narnia and Lord of the Rings - if Good is to prevail over evil (eventually) it will only be by love, courage and self-sacrifice - and the assistance of divine providence.

In the modern world, Good will never win due to its superior power - or because people on-the-side-of-Good (remembering there are no 'good people') are more cool and popular - the servants of Good are a bunch of despised losers who can only win with the intervention of divine providence - covertly apparent in the form of 'luck'.

But as chance favours the prepared mind, good fortune will favour only a loving heart.



The Continental Op said...

In other words, being a Christian today is low-status. But on the judgment day, being a Christian sure will come in handy.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CO - Yep, we just have to suck it up!

Because if we don't accept the fact, and keep looking for the high status option; because you just *know* the Antichrist will be a high status, cool, popular kind of guy...

Ingemar said...

I've never read Harry Potter, mainly due to disinterest. (Although many Christians in America put down the series for promoting "witchcraft," and I went to a Christian school, my school had many fans among students and teachers alike).

Sorry, that was a tangent. If you've ever perused "manoshpere" and "Game/PUA" blogs, even the Christian ones discourage being a nice guy and promote bad boy "alpha" behavior. The crowd Christians in these groups strike me as confused men attempting to serve two masters. While I can agree with not being subservient to unreasonable women and harridans, much of the advice on that side of the internet boils down to "be a narcissistic bell-end."

JP said...

When I hear "The Goodies" I can't help but think of the 1970s comedy show. =)

Bruce Charlton said...

@I - That stuff is analogous to Liberal Christianity - the primary loyalty is to worldly hedonism, Christianity being subordinated merely to providing support to what is primary.

@JP - me too, it crossed my mind as I was writing the post.

Ryan said...

"In other words, being a Christian today is low-status."

And this of course will tend to make Christianity even more unpopular as hypergamy goes more untamed, so there will naturally be conflict between Game and Faith. I do think one pragmatic side-effect of a celibate clergy is that those given high-status authority (within the Roman Catholic Church, at least) are mostly taken out of any male competition for women.

B322 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabe Ruth said...

As far as the students go, the Weasley twins are the only ones that seem cool. The baddie students aren't cool either (but neither are they very real; I imagine being a baddie magician would be a lot more fun than Draco and his goons ever get into). Cedric wasn't a baddie, and would probably qualify as cool in some ways.

Considering the older wizards, Harry's father and his gang were the cool kids, and Dumbledore was an alpha for sure (which makes his humility and selflessness all the more impressive). Snape was a loser, and Tom Riddle was at best a misfit.

I think there you see some of the modern view, where evil people are just people who have suffered.

Matthew C. said...

I think 1 Corinthians puts it perfectly:

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

That no flesh should glory in his presence."

Bruce Charlton said...

@GR - The point may be that between Harry's Parents (and grandparents) generation things had changed.

Dumbledore wasn't an 'alpha' - he was a repentant celibate homosexual (like Fr Seraphim Rose). This is canon (JKR official backstory), not my opinion - but it makes perfect sense within the fiction: his infatuation with Grindlewald which led to so much evil and suffering, his shame, self-denial and self-reform etc.

@Ryan "Christianity even more unpopular as hypergamy goes more untamed" - well, I agree that Christianity will probably get more unpopular; but strict churches with many young people remain one of the places where traditional courting, marriage and large families are still common and highly valued/ supported.