Harry Potter and the Gulag Archipalego

This blog post has been edited 4 March 2014. Please see additional note at the bottom. MM

When I was bombarded with analyses of the Lego movie, putting a recent blog post together, I came across one review from what appears to be a libertarian blog or news site called The Federalist. It was a sort of unremarkable commentary—first outlining the argument that the movie was anti-business and then unpicking it, turning the argument on its head so the movie becomes instead a paean to hard work, creativity, and all the enterprising qualities that embody the libertarian ethos. It’s a good trick, and one I think all of us reviewers and commentators like to do. I recall a similar hue and cry over the Muppet movie, so I’m thinking a) movies for kids rely on a convenient stock of easily drawn villainy, and b) big business is an easy and obvious image of villainy, like the severe Russian generals of my own childhood, none of which subverts or submits to the idea that c) the virtues associated with individual triumph can be wrestled into whichever ideology you want them to support. So who cares. Continue reading