Saturday, July 21, 2007

Better than Barbie...

...if you have spent your childhood going to slumber parties and making yourself and everyone over--iVillage's Makeover-O-Matic is the fulfillment of all your wildest dreams--countless combinations of hairstyles, eyeliner applications, lipliner shapes--and there's none of the cleaning-up-of-haircolor-drips-from-the-sink action that generally follows such blissful beauty experiments. It keeps me online for hours, when I could be doing other more useful things.

I have always known that there were different ways that the Harry Potter series could end. Harry could die and Voldemort could win without any cost to himself. Voldemort could die, and Harry could win without any cost to himself. These two choices seemed unlikely due to the fact that in supernatural battles, cost always happens. Voldemort could die and Harry could sacrifice his life, dying nobly in killing him. This seemed quite a bit better as far as mythology and literature go-- but not in children's books---it would disappoint the kiddies. Harry could die and come back or otherwise sacrifice something very dear to himself to defeat Voldemort but Harry would ultimately be, if not fine, (and probably not fine) alive and a sort of lower-case "s" savior. The resurrection myth is one of the most enduring story savers, because it is true (even if it borrows from the entire Bible). My money has always been on this theory because it worked in Lord of the Rings, Til We Have Faces, and most books that have ever been written.

Of course, I don't read Harry Potter. I didn't wait in line with the entirety of my last paycheck so I would know the end. I didn't feel like I needed to. I have my theories.

Speaking of wildly popular books I don't read, I used to say that I wouldn't read The DaVinci Code. (My dad read it about a year ago, and he said it was stupid.) I have to read it for a class I'm taking. I'm trying to evaluate the claims in it on an academic/historical basis, but it is really difficult because the book is disappointingly boring. I can only conclude that it was wildly popular because not enough people had ever heard of gnosticism or Catholic conspiracy theories. In my mind it is not really a novel idea at all. Ever since Jesus lived, many people have been saying that Jesus isn't God, and if Jesus isn't God, the Church is either deceived or actively deceiving. As to the Merovingian dynasty being the descendants of Jesus, do we really want to give the French that much credit? I don't think so.

I really liked Keep the Aspidistra Flying in a sardonic sense (that's the Money Chapter book) but at the same time, it worries me. When you are looking at a life (your own) that you prefer to keep not in the suburbs, the danger is that you will turn out like Gordon, and love money too much. Not only rich people love money. Poor people love money, too. Of course, they also hate money, because they love it. (Lots of things turn out this way--you love something so much that you hate it because of what it does to you. Of course, it has to be a thing. You can't really love a person too much, only too little.) And the danger is that our society loves the suburbs, the comfort, the money, too much. And that will end in comfortable middle-class absolute ruin.

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