A Certain Lack of Focus

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pop culture multiplied

harrypotterI just read an interesting article over at MSN (originally published in Esquire) by Chuck Klosterman about the future effects of pop culture, specifically the future effects of Harry Potter. The article is called "Death By Harry Potter."

It was a good quick read, basically speculating on how his life could potentially be lessened by the fact that he has no interest in Harry Potter. He sites examples of people today who completely miss jokes about Star Wars or the Beatles. There is a difference, he says, in knowing what something is about but not caring, and in entirely missing what's going on. Klosterman's point revolves around the idea that eventually the world will be run by Harry Potter fans, and that by not being one of them he won't understand the world they've structured. My favorite quote from the article: "It is probably to my long-term financial benefit to read Harry Potter books; ignoring them is like not investing in my 401(k)." (Klosterman is paid by Esquire to study trends such as Harry Potter.)

starwarsThe article is funny, and is probably true to an extent. The weakness in his argument, I think, is that similar trends come about every generation, and Klosterman will not be any more out of touch than aging adults who ignore such trends every time. Star Wars is a good example, as is Lord of the Rings, because both are experiences which swept up both children and adults, as with Harry Potter. But not everyone was swept up, and I don't think they were necessarily harmed by it.

Then again, for the people who missed the boat on Star Wars and LotR, paying attention probably wasn't part of their career. Maybe it's not as much of a global issue as Klosterman would like us to believe, but it's probably a legitimate problem for him!

*Images link to wherever I got them from

4 comments:

shaky mouse said...

you are right. there is a degree of alienation whenever you feel you have missed a big social trend. i don't really like harry potter, but I could tell you that the millenium falcon did the kessel run in 3 parsecs (ooohh sad :) )

Meagan said...

Yeah, it's a humorous article, worth a read.

Peter said...

Is Harrison wearing lipstick? :)

Meagan said...

His lips do look awfully pretty.