Joel Stein and the Cauldron of Mediocrity (a Harry Potter related pitting...

This is over this article of his, entitled

Hogwarts fans, you’re stupid, stupid, stupid

At first I thought it would be tongue in cheek, but nope. Stein, widely known as the most cerebral columnist ever to appear on 101 Most Starlicious Makeovers, blasts adult Potter fans as lame, pathetic losers who want to Sit’n’Spin again.

Who the fuck died and appointed Joel Stein “Somebody Whose Opinion Remotely Matters to Anyone”? What difference does it make to him if I spend my leisure time with Thucydides or Teletubbies? I know a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, a soldier in Iraq and numerous highly responsible tax and mortgage paying parents who are eagerly awaiting Half Blood Prince and I resent like hell this shill for E! commenting on anybody’s intellect.

Stein, baby… I’m looking at the future of entertainment (the medium, not the channel) and I just ain’t seeing you in it… hmmm. Could it be that you’re just a bitter widdle mediocrity who “hates all creative people equally”?

Sick him.

Two things.

  1. I want to send a Dementor Joel’s way.


  1. I want to see the Teletubbies do Thucidides.


I always wonder why people think that having more “highbrow” tastes says anything about their characters. I’m not a better person for liking opera, for example. I just have a lot of patience for people hollering at me in foreign languages. :slight_smile:


I could only think of one thing while reading that column:


There’s only one reason to bash something both as popular and innocuous as the Harry Potter books and that is, you want attention. Bet this is his most read column in eons, as 50,000 people are linking to message boards and LJs and in emails saying “Can you b’leeve this guy?”

I like what I like. I think that Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew is hysterical and I think that Reverend Bubba Flavel and Coach Baubricker reading from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew in Porky’s 2 is hysterical. But Potter I’ll totally defend as in addition to having kid’s book elements it makes use of
1- very clever wordplay (the Latin names for curses, character’s names, etc.)
2- classic mythological elements (the foundling, the old mentor, the curse, etc.)
3- fun literary allusions (it has a descendant of Cerberus named “Fluffy” for Og’s sake!)
4- continuing and complicated plot threads


Plus, it’s just fun and imaginative and an enjoyable read. And it’s cool as hell to see people treating a book release with as much anticipation as a major summer blockbuster movie opening- that just doesn’t happen. (There was a lot of broohaha when Rice’s Memnock the Devil was released but that was the last pre-Potter I can remember generating this kind of excitement.)

I agree that Stein is trolling for publicity, but in his particular line of work the “no publicity is bad publicity” is not true.

Oh, I absolutely agree with that. I think Rowling is talented and the books might not go down as the classics in the children’s fantasy field but they’ll stand the test of time.

And the excitement is really fun.

I wonder how overcome I would be if I were a kid. It’d be like Christmas. Heck, it’s like Christmas now!

Wow. He really is a complete and utter ass. He seems to be proud of the fact that he can’t just sit down and enjoy himself with either a good book, good video game, good comic book, or fluffy but good movie. Good for him, I guess.

I never knew that being a grown up meant that you had to have a massive and spikey stick rammed up your ass. :confused:

Oh, heavens, I’m one score and four years! I shall scamper off and read <insert critically acclaimed boring piece of “adult [del]shit[/del] literature” here>, since I am one score and four years of age! And I shall swill brandy as I do so! Huzzah for my maturity! Please join me in my self congratulation as I coldly and arrogantly stare down those Potterites for daring to read something fun on occasion!

Damn it, why do I never get the memos?

That Peter Pan guy is looking smarter every second.

Eh, sure. He’s a dick, yadda yadda yadda. But . . .
Look, I like Harry. I like it a lot. It’s a fun series, well-executed. But it ain’t all that. I’m a total geek, so I tend to be among those who appreciate F&SF kidlit more than most mundanes, and I can think of several kiddie lit fantasy series which are comparable if not better. To a mundane, who’s less enamored of fantasy in general, I can see completely how the story appears juvenile and silly.

I’m glad Jo’s made a mint, and I’ll certainly keep the HP series on shelf, but it is far from the be-all and end-all that some people seem to think it.

Granted, and I can totally understand it not being to everybody’s liking. I’ve expressed on these boards before how I’m sometimes irritated that I just can’t see in Tolkien what others seem to; however, I don’t assume that Tolkien fans are idiots who can’t exist in the real world, just that tastes differ. That’s my problem with Stein: a man whose main exposure comes from the fluffiest channel on cable is weighing and finding wanting not just the taste but the minds of those who disagree with him.

Joel Stein was an ass long before he wrote this plea for attention.

Yo A-Dawg. I gots no problems wit peeps who be hatin’ on the H-PO. Y’know what I’m sayin?

What I have a problem with is that Joel Stein thinks that because people read the Harry Potter books, go to see Finding Nemo, play video games, or read comic books are a)in some sort of pathetic extended childhood, b) morons, and c) somehow missing out on something because their tastes do not match up with the highbrow intellectual set of whom Joel Stein is a member (somehow :confused: )

Basically, I don’t give a flying fuck that Joel Stein dislikes the Harry Potter books. What pisses me off is that Smarty the Superturd wants to look down his nose at people who do.

Look, the long and the short of it is that bitch made a fucking billion dollars writing a series and I’ve still not completed my novel much less gotten it published.
I hate her.


Can we request the Teletubbies do a Harry Potter book? Please!

This guy seems like the John C. Dvorak of the entertainment world, only worse.

URRGHH! I cannot STAND Joel Stein! All he is is Jay Sherman in live action. “It stinks! It stinks! It stinks!” No analysis, no perspective, just “It stinks!” He’s that guy in college who would invite himself when people were watching a video, [del]bogart the pipe[/del] eat all the potato chips, and periodically grumble, “I don’t know why I’m watching this.”

And I agree that HP is not the end-all, be-all. But Stein is always like this. And denigrating the buying/viewing/reading public is not new with him either. Who the fuck keeps publishing him, anyway?

Do Not Feed The Trolls

which I know only because I looked it up when I saw it in this thread

I’m in the position of a parent who has read the series to my son, and enjoyed having done so greatly…

and of having to suffer the discussion of a co-worker and chronological adult who is exceptionally enamored with the series.

I agree with andros, and also in part with Joel Stein. The books have been fun to read, and the premise is inventive, but the writing and construction is really pretty much just crap, and having to listen to adults claim that the books are well written or worthy of discussion or analysis is quite grating. It’s children’s literature. I like Scooby Doo too, but I’m not going to bend your ear about the themes and subtext of Scooby Doo.