All posts by Hannah

Magical redheads

I watched Harry Potter yesterday. I’ve had quite a lot of time on my hands over the past few weeks, for one reason or another, and it’s something I’ve known was going to happen eventually; things that are so easily achieved are rarely put off forever, I find, and I thought that ‘well over half my life’ was long enough to leave this particular activity before completion.

I got called ‘Hermione’ quite a bit at school as well, so it seemed best to find out the precise implications of that before I forgot the entirety of what being at school was like. Admittedly this name-calling was mostly contemporaneous with the early films, back when she was mainly just a smart-arsed pre-teen with massive hair (I see what they meant, the more film-savvy kids), and tailed off drastically when it emerged that she’s quite fit and physically heroic as well as the book-learned kind. I’m not going to pretend that didn’t smart a bit.

Oh, also, when I say “I watched Harry Potter recently”, I should also add the caveat that what I actually did was watch the last two, or one, depending on how you look at it. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen the first one, having been alive for a decade’s worth of Christmases since its TV debut, so that didn’t seem worth it, and having skipped that I thought I may as well cut to the ‘good stuff’, as it were.

It wasn’t an unenjoyable experience, I’ll admit that now. They’re not demanding films, even when lacking knowledge of the bulk of their backstory, and having grown up utterly irritated by the leads they didn’t grate excessively on my nerves. What really pissed me off, more than the shitty CGI acting or the word ‘Muggle’ or the sheer scale of the stupid moral showboating on display, was that bit at the end when Harry chucks that really powerful wand in the moat thing.

It’s presented as a moment of great importance. Harry’s the ultimate Goody Two-Shoes, a pacifistic non-ruffler of…bloody unicorn feathers, or whatever, and he’s just so fucking great that when presented with ‘the most powerful wand in the world’, he thinks, ‘Nah’. He’s not up for that. That’d be bad probably. So he snaps it in half, this wand that’ll only answer to him anyway, and he lobs it off a big bridge.

‘Most powerful wand in the world’. That’s a relative thing, that. That suggests a scale of power with this stick at its zenith. Harry’s just destroyed the biggest evil in the world and he’s got sole control over the thing that’s most powerful out of what’s left, and instead of looking after it with some sodding willpower he thinks, again for clarity, ‘Nah.’

Whilst I think understand that particular sentiment more than most (thinking ‘Nah’ and fucking something off because it seems like a bad plan, that is), this strikes me as somewhat problematic. Take the aforementioned Power Wand Index. Surely there’s a second most powerful wand in the world that’s just been promoted? How great a margin can there truly be between the two? And what’s going to defeat that? Harry? Not anymore, no. He’s thrown away the thing he’d need to sort that out. His stupid friends didn’t even stop him, they just stood there looking precious and a bit grubby, and then it cuts to them all rubber-faced with lots of ginger children.

I know you wear unfortunate glasses, you scabby git, but for God’s sake have a bit of foresight. That snake-nosed bloke might be gone, but are you so naive as to think that he’s the only one? Weren’t there other baddies you didn’t murder? One of them’s got the most powerful wand in the world now, and he’s going to fuck you up with it. This is how this sort of thing works, and no number of magical redheads will be able to save you this time.

Harry Potter and the Gigantic Fuck-Up. I knew there was a reason I’d avoided this shit.

Save it for Newsnight

It’s a special kind of privilege that allows you to announce that your most hated aspect of modern society is something genuinely trivial. I am aware of this and of the air of twattishness that it confers upon me and, frankly, I don’t care.

Not caring is what got me in this position in the first place. It is an excellent position to be in and I hope people join me in it. For the record, by choosing to not be annoyed by homophobia, sexism, racism and the rest of the gamut of hate, I am not saying that they aren’t shit things. They are shit, all of them, and you won’t hear me saying otherwise. It’s just that they’re huge problems and, frankly, I don’t have much faith in my ability to do anything about them.

I’m generally of the opinion that if you ignore differences they’ll probably stop being issues and as an example I am a shit feminist for precisely this reason. I’d rather we stopped empowering women in particular and started just generally being evenly tolerant and fair to all people, both twats and people with them, because it has the same result and means I don’t have to burn any bras, which are expensive and necessary.

Anyway, the end result of this even-handed apathy is that I have a lot of hate-time left over for unimportant stuff. Anyone who likes a good argument will tell you that it is far more enjoyable to debate this pointless shit than, say, the effect of discrepancies between the recycling policies of neighbouring councils on overall waste targets. Save it for Newsnight. If you’re anything like me you’ll have realised this at school, when the thought finally occurred that the day of the exam is not the day to worry about the exam, and that a handed-in essay is very literally out of your hands – don’t worry about things you can’t change, basically, when there’s some day-to-day stuff out there that’s really annoying.

So: my bête noire, my chief bugbear, the bane of my existence. I will illustrate it with an exchange typical of the sort that pisses me off:

‘Friend’: My dog just died.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry.
‘Friend’: Don’t be, not your fault.

There. Do you see? He deserves a dead dog. The dog probably died of exasperation. My ‘Friend’ has interpreted my ‘Oh, I’m sorry’ as an expression of guilt rather than sympathy, and is telling me that he’s aware that I’m not directly to blame for the demise of his pet.

Think about this – as far as the friend is apparently concerned, I have admitted that I murdered his canine. He dismisses this instantly, and says so. Who does that? Who has so much of a persecution complex and so little in the way of a brain-mouth barrier that he doesn’t rethink what I’d just said, consider that he’s aware that little Rex died of cancer and not at my hands, and accept what is obviously an attempt at compassion?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a shit about his dog. I’ve never met it and I don’t like them and anyway I made it up for this example. But is it not blindingly obvious that I’m not taking the fall here? Social convention says I express some kind of sympathetic bullshit at that point in the conversation. It says I don’t ask what gruesome end was involved, don’t consider whether or not ‘Friend’ is actually a bit of a knob and deserving of comfort at all, and just mutter three very comprehensible words that means my end of the conversation is kept up and we can move on to less depressing things.

The struggle is real, and the problem is rife. Listen for it, don’t do it yourself, and smile politely at those who fob your grief off in the same way. Moreover, accept your platitude with good grace and I’ll have one less entry on my hitlist. You being less of a twat means I’ll eventually get around to being motivated to be annoyed about genocide. Sort it out. You’ll be sorry if you don’t, and this time there’ll actually be blame involved.