Michael Gorman on Harry on NewsHour


lislemck writes "Michael Gorman appeared on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer this evening to discuss Harry Pottermania Continues to Impact Popular Culture.

She kept waiting for him to say something about "the habit of sustained reading of complex texts," but no luck."


...is how author JK Rowling excercised a power to prohibit Canadians from reading the book. Her lawyers were apparently successful in getting a court to order such after it was discovered that the bookstore these customers bought the book from had sold the book too early.

Richard Stallman, founder of the free software movement, has the right take on it to my thinking. Sadly, in some discussions of this I've seen, this event isn't given the focus it deserves as a human rights violation because it applied for a limited time or because so many people are entertained by Harry Potter books that they are willing to dismiss how these Canadians were treated.

—J.B. Nicholson-Owens ([email protected])

I don't see Rowling speaking out against the Court's decision in any way.

Is there any indication that she even knows anything about this law suit? If the suit was brought by the publisher then Rowling would have been told only what the publisher wanted her to hear about it.

As for her not running to the press, there was an earlier story about how Ms. Rowling shuns the press. Why should she suddenly turn around and start exploiting it?

Whatever happened to not sweating the small stuff?

Gone the way of the dodo.

It was nice to see the transcript, and that I didn't accidentally color it with my own views entirely! Just some.

Maybe I should mark it up so y'all could see where we were yelling about Wrinkle and Narnia and His Dark Materials...I think the humor of Peter Rabbit part you can find on your own :).

Thanks again, Samantha, for supplying the good link, and my apologies to all for the bad one!

I don't see Rowling speaking out against the Court's decision in any way. She's certainly got the mic these days. She could say anything right now and there would be any number of reporters ready to interview her and report on her apologies for bringing such a minor case up in the first place, or her simply announcing that the outcome was so offensive to human rights it can not be tolerated. This is the triumph of business interests over people's right to read and I can find nothing to indicate that she understands this situation on that level. I'm not beyond admitting that I'm wrong, I'll be happy to learn that she believes contrary to how I have described her.The decision is not enforcible, but that's not why the case should have been thrown out. It should have been thrown out for being too minor to warrant the Court's attention. Whatever happened to not sweating the small stuff?

Here's a page that has links to the clips (both audio and video) and a transcript.

If you go to this page the clip is currently available at the bottom, under "other news." I don't know how long it'll be up though.

. . . author JK Rowling excercised a power to prohibit Canadians from reading the book.

This is a misrepresentation. Rowling, or her lawyers, merely exercised her right to petition the government for a redress of a grievance. It was the court which handed down a really stupid decision. Such a ruling could not possibly be enforceable and the motion should have been thrown out of court from the get go. Unfortunately, this case does not speak well for either Rowling or the Canadian court system.

Hmm, I guess the link to the PBS clip did not work. Would have liked to see what Gorman said, but again, I am not surprised he would "leave us waiting" on the issue of sustained reading.

I found that ridiculous and disturbing. If I read the stories about this correctly, and you are right the coverage was mostly lost in the shuffle, then for one it was an accident. They made it sound as if it might have been some conspiracy to release the book early, but it was just an error, oops, guess what, it happens. To go to the length of actually prohibiting those who paid good money to read the book before the "oh so precious" deadline is not only ridiculous, it was a lack of respect and an abuse. That Rowling's minions bribed them with a "signed book and other goodies" to keep a gag on was simply insulting. All I can say is my opinion of Rowling, which was not high to start with (not to take away from her achievement, but I am not one for hypes), went even lower if she had to stoop down to intimidate a few readers who really did nothing wrong, and who,guess what, actually support her work. If that is how she treats her readers, I can only shudder at how she would treat a detractor.

I have no evidence to indicate Rowling knows about this, however I find it hard to believe that this could occur without her knowing about it. Her literary agent (with whom Rowling is in contact even after the publication of the book, I assume) has given public comment on this issue. Rowling could have read the same report I've read, or hear about it from her friends and neighbors. Finally, it's odd and therefore more likely to be a subject for discussion.As for why she would break her unwillingness to talk to the press: The importance of this should merit an exception to whatever reluctance she has to talking to the press. Viewed through narrow economic terms, her customers have been mistreated and her would-be Canadian customers are threatened for her next book. She has an opportunity to not look like the beneficiary of an unjust and improper decision by distancing herself from it. Viewed properly, she is someone of worldwide fame who has an opportunity to speak out and be heard about a human rights abuse.However, as likely as I think it is that she knows about this situation, I can imagine why she would be reluctant to discuss it publicly: I would like to believe that a billionaire will find little sympathy from the public on this issue. Also, I would hope that when people consider the ramifications of denying someone the chance to read what a business publishes "by mistake" that they will realize the public stands to lose a great deal. Hence, it is not in the public's best interest to side with Rowling, her publisher, or anyone else sympathetic to this decision.

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