Joel Stein is a moron
In the meantime, via Stupid Evil Bastard, I was directed to this op-ed by Joel Stein. Apparently Mr. Stein thinks that adults who enjoy the Harry Potter novels are, as he so quaintly puts it in the title of his op-ed, "stupid, stupid, stupid":
I read 50 pages of the first "Harry Potter" book, and it seemed witty, imaginative and fast-paced. It also seemed like it was for children. It's about wizards and magic cats and evil stepparents, and has a reading-level that is only slightly above this column.
Not satisified with displaying his arrogance and stupidity for all to see, Mr. Stein had to go on to bury himself deeper by trying to use the popularity of the Harry Potter books as an indictment of the entire Baby Boomer generation:
After a generation of boomers choosing to remain in a state of stunted adolescence — wearing jeans, smoking pot and cranking their BMW stereos to blast Eminem songs they clearly don't like — the next generation has opted for a stunted toddlerhood. Adults see "Finding Nemo" without bothering with the socially accepted ruse of dragging an unwilling 11-year-old nephew along. Grown men play video games and couples go to Disneyworld on their honeymoon, often for reasons other than having sex in Cinderella's castle with the dwarfs watching. You need a wad of Disney Dollars for that one, by the way, 50th anniversary or no 50th anniversary.
Stein has also clearly not even checked out the later books. J. K. Rowling grew as a writer as the Harry Potter series progressed. The third book contained a clever plot device involving time travel. In addition, the fourth and fifth novels no longer read like children's books and contained multilayered plots more emotional resonance in which Harry has to learn how to deal with death, particularly the end of the fifth book.
If Mr. Stein were to make fun of me for enjoying the latest Harry Potter novel, I'd look him right in the eye, smile, and tell him I have an M.D., a Ph.D.; treat patients with cancer; and run a laboratory that studies tumor angiogenesis. Then I'd mention that reading this book is one of the things I enjoy in my limited spare time before inquiring of him what his level of education is and what great works of literature he's read lately for pleasure while preparing to appear on such erudite works as VH1's I Love the '80's (or I Love the '90's or I love whatever decade). What, Mr. Stein? You mean to tell me that you don't frequently read Herman Melville, Shakespeare, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Leo Tolstoy, or the like for pleasure in your spare time? I'm disappointed.
Finally, I'd turn my back on him and resume enjoying the novel.