- I included a link to the Second Harry Potter Carnival (HPC) in a post titled "Collected Atrocities" (and a good portion of that post had to do with issues which really did deserve the name, and ended up with a few "collected" links I hadn't done anything with in a while but wanted to note) in which I refered to it as evidence of "the utter vacuity of Western Civilization."
- That brought an immediate rejoinder from the proprietress (and still sole host) of the HPC, Ms. Dana Huff, complaining that my comments were hastily made and uncivil. I disagreed on both counts.
- I did follow up with a few more comments on fandom that were unrepentant but offered, I thought, some potential for opening up a discussion rather than a mere tizzy fit. I had a nice discussion with Anne Zook but none of the Harry Potter fans seem to have noticed.
- It rested there for a while, but Ms. Huff decided to take the ocassion of HPC #3 to link back to that post (which was just fine with me, though I thought her as-yet unanswered plea for postive comments on the carnival was bit sad) and to initiate a discussion at the Harry Potter fan site DiagonAlley
Do I/we get tired of being mocked because we fear there is a grain of truth in the criticism, or is it because we feel they truly don't understand us? Or is it neither?I even linked to those and suggested that my readers could make up their own minds and leave their own comments. I don't know whether it was my light, breezy tone, or just the fact that I was paying attention (particularly to the DiagonAlley discussion, which I don't think she expected) that bothered her, but Ms. Huff didn't like that, either.
- Those links brought a number of her fans and allies back to me, as well as comments in the DA forum, most of them variations on the themes "We're harmless; why are you picking on us" and "Jerk." Actually, some of those comments went quite beyond that (see below).
- I pointed out to Ms. Huff, both in comments and in response to an e-mail of hers (which was in response to an e-mail of mine point out the comments here to which she hadn't deigned to respond), that it seemed hypocritical to me for her and the other HP fans to complain about stereotyping when they were making snap judgements about my character based on one comment in one blog post, or about rudeness. She has bowed out of this discussion several times, trying to claim some sort of moral high ground. She keeps coming back, though, and encouraging her friends.
- Eventually, frustrated at the tone of the comments, the lack of interest in actually having anything like a dialogue, and actual lies (claiming to have read this blog when my statmeter indicated they went directly from DiagonAlley to the initial post and never looked anywhere else), I closed comments on the initial post (not, as some of them seem to think, the entire blog) and directed them to read some of the other posts which relate to the issue and post responses there (instead of rehashing the same junk over and over). Only one has responded so far, posting a hostile and logically circular comment in an inappropriate place. It was removed, but reasonable comments, even vehement disagreement, posted to actually relevant posts here have not been. This is actually the first time I've ever had to invoke my right to control comments, aside from spam removal.
Just for fun, here's a few of the things Harry Potter fans have said about me:
- pretentious jerk
- a member of some fundamentalist and possibly quite nasty sect, because he obviously cannot reason in a logical manner but is high on moral judgement just the same.
- intellectual snobbery
- complete and utter fuckwit
- The sucker has no real part in Western Civilization ... no experience of a live and kicking mess of a culture ... FUCK THEM, poor suckers!
- pompous, disgruntled windbag whose opinion is inarguably the only one that matters. Closeminded people like himself ... what a waste of neurons they are.
- an @$$l he's an utter vacuity of Western civilization.
- an arrogant bastard with a small mind and a big mouth.
- His opinions are obviously the only ones that matter in his little world... which is fine until he starts imposing them on other people.
[Note: I'm pretty sure that "@$$l" is leetspeek for a very common vulgarity, but if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will tell me.]
So, all in all, a very disappointing experience. It's too bad, really: I'd like to have seen Harry Potter fans articulate something postive about their ongoing interest (other than "it's harmless fun" which more or less confirms my initial comment about it being vacuous) which distinguishes them from people like me who read the books, even discuss them, but refuse to fetishize them. Perhaps, now that I'm a member of DiagonAlley, some of them can send me private messages (which I promise to share here if they are of interest), and perhaps the site administrators and moderator who participated in the discussion can explain how the slurs above don't violate the forum rules.