This week people have been celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Harry Potter. It reminded me of an article I wrote about the Harry Potter books in 2000. It was by debut column as a regular writer for the Faith Page of the Winnipeg Free Press.
I wrote about two events in Toronto’s Skydome. On October 23, 2000 J.K. Rowling read excerpts from her book Harry Potter to 20,000 school children in the Skydome and on October 25, 2000 singer Eminem played a show there to a packed house of enthusiastic teenagers. Many religious groups had been criticizing both Rowling and Eminem. The year my column debuted, Eminem and JK Rowling were two of pop cultures most famous icons.
Religious groups were accusing Rowling of championing witchcraft and Eminem was being taken to task because his songs often promoted violent acts towards women. In my column I suggested the Rowling books should not cause concern for parents but they would do well to read the frightening and disturbing Eminem lyrics and then decide whether they might be suitable for their children.
The main point of my article was that parents had a responsiblity to be informed about the books and recordings that engaged their children, and be willing to discuss the content of that literature and music with their kids. That’s as true today in 2017 as it was when my column was written in 2000.