Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Harry Potter and Email Mishaps

Dale had stories on his blog today of email fiascoes, and it reminded me of one I witnessed.

I worked as a substitute teacher in Evanston, Illinois a few years back. Evanston set up an email system that had settings in which a teacher or any other employee of the district could send an email to everyone in the district if they desired.

One of the teachers (whom I knew) took it upon herself to send emails to everybody in the district warning the other teachers that they should be discouraging the reading of the Harry Potter books, citing an article someone had sent her stating that the reading of Harry Potter was "sparking a rise in Satanism among nine-year-olds."

I hope she felt as foolish as she should when it was revealed that the article was a satirical piece from the humor paper The Onion

Here's an article about the hysterical (in both senses of the word) response to the article from religious zealots.

13 comments:

GETkristiLOVE said...

I love the onion!

Bubs said...

District 214 (which includes Prospect , Hersey, Wheeling, Rolling Meadows and Buffalo Grove high schools) has a school board member named Leslie Pinney. She snuck in during a low-interest election, and has since tried to get a bunch of books taken off the curriculum. She's a rightwing puppet, and hopefully she won't be re-elected. Fortunately her proposal was voted down overwhelmingly.

Toccata said...

That's hilarious but sad at the same time. There's a school district here that has a rabid group of nitwits that are constantly trying and unfortunately sometimes succeeding in getting books banned from the schools. One of the authors banned was Barthe DeClements. I couldn't believe it when they succeeded.

Dale said...

Sad and funny isn't it?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Yes! I laughed, I cried! (but mostly I laughed)

Gotta love the Onion and people who don't understand its concept.

lulu said...

A few years ago one of my students was reading the Onion and she commented that she liked it because they had sotries that none of the other newspapers had. I gently explained that it was a joke and she refused to believe me.

Mob said...

Any book thicker than my local phone book that a nine-year-old wants to read rather than kick aside for the Wii is a-okay with me.

Sad and funny, indeed.

Danny Tagalog said...

I'm sure I read this in the Guardian - treated seriously too!

JR's Thumbprints said...

In the prison where I work, my employer decided the teachers needed email, so they put a computer in a secure area for us to check our email. I hadn't checked mine since the beginning of last summer. Last week, I deleted 568 emails without looking at them. I guess it says how much I really needed it. As for Harry Potter, aka, Larry Potter (a female writer from Virginia claims to have written the original sorcery type children's book which happens to be out of print) I wish JK Rowling would hurry up and kill him off. The HP series tends to be full of grammatical errors and run-on sentence. Lastly, with "The Shrub" as our president, I'm sure he'd agree with the email you received.

Erik Donald France said...

All too funny and ludicrous! One of my tasks is to run a small library -- luckily there are hardly ever challenges; when they are, they are usually as silly. The Bible has has much craziness as anything else anyway. Librarians love fighting book bans ;)

Johnny Yen said...

Kristi-
Me too. And my 12 year old has discovered it too. He loves politics (go figure-- both my ex- and I were Political Science Majors) and he was particularly amused with the post-election headline "Politicians Sweep Elections."

Bubs-
I looked her up after you told me that. She's bad enough, but there are bloggers that defended her.

That's actually been a tactic of the fundamentalist right-- to take over school boards.

Toccata-
I wasn't familiar with the name, and looked DeClements' up-- I recognized the titles, particularly "Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You." Declements' books are favorites of my own children and my old sixth graders.

Maybe we need to start working on getting Charlotte's Web and Phantom Tollbooth banned too.

Dale-
It is indeed.

Barbara-
Satire does seem to be lost on some people, doesn't it?

Last week's Onion was a rehash of old articles. There was one of my old favorites, from W.'s first inauguration in January of 2001. "At Last Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Over." My god, it was like they were looking in a crystal ball, wasn't it?

Lulu-
My friend Julie, who'd helped me get my job in Cicero, started bringing in the Onion for her 7th and 8th grade English students. It wasn't until the end of the semester that they would finally discover the ads for the escort services and strip joints in the back. They were slow readers.

Mob-
My sentiments exactly. But hey, educated people have a bad tendency to do dangerous things, like think.

Danny-
I think that people reading the Onion headlines and not realizing it's a spoof newspaper is a pretty regular phenomenon. I don't know what that says about us yanks.

JR-
Didn't I see that you had a staff of like 5 there? You'd think that any notices they had to send out they could do verbally.

My old school district sent us an email notice that the server's storage space was almost filled, and that we needed to empty out our email boxes. I looked in mine and discovered that I had every email, plus attachements, going back to my first day of employment. I'm just as bad with my home email.

You're right about the Shrub.

Erik-
Yeah, isn't that the funny thing? The bible is full of genocide (the Israelites killing every Caananite), murder, intrgue, incest, and every other type of mischief. They don't seem to want to ban that.

Bird on a Wire said...

The onion is awesome.

I agree with toccata, your story is hilarious but certainly sad. Well, at least we can laugh at it.

Grant Miller said...

God Bless!