“Wizard freaks invade Reading University”

While this wasn’t actually the title of the article on Accio (UK Harry Potter academic conference) in today’s Grauniad, it might have well have been. The last time I saw this bad a hatchet job by a lazy journo, it was Channel 4’s infamous coverage of the 1995 Glasgow Worldcon with Craig Charles. Even now, the words “sci-fi” spoken in a Liverpudlian accent make me grind my teeth.

The Grauniad article has quite a superior, sneering attitude; when it isn’t decrying papers as “pseudo-intellectual”, it’s describing the attendees as obsessive compulsives with unhealthy sexual fantasies. If anything, it’s the former that I object to more than the latter. HP fandom does have its obsessives (and the article also mentions Draco/giant squid), but the academic side is essentially no different to other literature, media or cultural studies disciplines (science fiction studies, anyone?)

As an aside, it also seems that Pottie : Harry Potter :: Trekkie : Star Trek. I suppose this was inevitable, but one can’t help but feel that such name-calling is just a bit passe.

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