January 12, 2013: You’d think it would be easier. After all, we control the media. Wouldn’t that get us something? But no, it continues to be a hapless uphill battle to work our way into the mainstream of Christian living.
I was reminded of this, once again, watching Harry Potter movies, which I love. Those kids really know how to stick it to the Dark Lord, who, despite not having a nose, manages to wield a sizable pointy hat full of self-esteem. Daniel Radcliffe proved to be a terrific actor in my book, but deserved the part simply based on his accent, and especially how he says the word “Brilliant!” On repeated viewing, the movies have only gotten better. I’ve even come to like the twins, who were to me one of the scarier elements originally, and that creepy Emma Thompson character, who looks too much like the crazy bus driver in the third movie to make me comfortable. Of course, I don’t think I’ll ever completely accept the annoying Moaning Myrtle, or Headless Nick for that matter; it did the series well to vacuum the ghosts out of Hogwarts in the later movies and replace them with furniture. But on top of everything, just to hear Alan Rickman deliver one line as Professor Snape would make a whole three-hour viewing worth the time.
Some of you may not be following any of this, but let that be a Dark Mark on you and not me, because I’ve been trying to convince many of you for years to see the stupid things, but you can’t let go of your softcore pornography and your so-called “family time.” Let this be a lesson …
But, of course, once again, in viewing the first movie—“Harry Potter and Something-or-Other”—I was struck and disturbed by J.K. Rowling’s mean portrayal of the Goblin bankers at the wizard bank “Gringot’s” as long-nosed, money-grubbing trolls, with names like “Goldstein” and “Silverbaum.” (Actually, I don’t remember their names, but it’s pretty clear that’s what Rowling was thinking.) The little mealy, toad-like bankers are clearly anti-Semitic stereotypes. My god, the woman fell just short of Charles Dickens’ descriptions of Fagan in the book “Oliver Twist,” where he interchangeably referred to him as “the Jew.”
Now, being a self-hating Jew myself, I can sympathize with Rowling’s animosity. Obviously she carries bad associations around in her little experience. Perhaps her first husband, whose dumping of her is now legend, was in fact a member of our Hebraic race. Perhaps she felt contempt toward a Jewish banker, who took part in prompting her now-legendary alleged homelessness, leaving her and her daughter to fend for themselves with naught but their unbeatable spirit and a $1,200 Apple laptop computer with which she frequented local cafes concocting the spirited best-seller that brought her back from the pits of obscurity into the legions of the damned.
But what’s more surprising is that the likes of Hollywood—which we also control—would let the gross nose portrayal of the goblins go unchecked in that first lovely movie … perhaps the second and fifth too. Who can remember? They all meld together after a while into a soft blue light fanfare of glowing wands, Latin-sounding curses and exclamations of “Brilliant!”
But beyond all of that, what’s really, really, really interesting—sad, disappointing but true—is how few people would even notice this flagrant example of Jew-hating. I was chatting about it with a Potter fan just this week, and he actually expressed surprise, despite having seen the movie more times than me. “Yeah, but there’s one with a little nose,” he defended. A token Goyim Goblin—or “Goyblin,” as they’re probably known in some as-yet undiscovered Potter manuscript. Rubbish, I said, and shame on him for not recognizing this terrible anti-Semitic depiction of my people (meaning the Jews, not the Goblins).
All told, it’s an enlightening series for so many reasons. The books are okay, I guess. I read a few. I tend to have pretty high expectations for literature, as you might imagine. The movies are light-years better, except the books—afterward—serve as a kind of director’s cut for the movies, if you already have those characters firmly in mind … at least in my mind …
But what do I know. We Jews are only concerned with our Gringot’s!