Pearson, “Bachies, Bardies, Trekkies, and Sherlockians”

August 17, 2008

The only word I recognized in the title was “Trekkies,” and who knew they prefer the term “trekker?” People are so picky. I think it’s important that Pearson notes, “These questions [about cultural values and cultural relativism] must inevitably involve the high [culture] as well as the low [or popular culture]” (100). It’s true that those of us who are educated (or maybe just my own undergrad education that tended toward snobby elitism–no offense, PC) tend to value high culture (like my beloved Shakespeare–notice the fan-like possessive) over and above lower forms of culture (dare I bring up the Harry Potter phenomenon? again, no offense!). Well, let’s tackle that debate for a minute: Pearson asks the question, “Should popular cultural forms be judged by the same criteria as high culture or should different modes of evaluation be evolved?” (100). I’ve said it before: Rowling is a fine writer, and Harry Potter books are fine fantasy, but don’t call it literature. But now I’m asking myself, is it really fair (or in any case, helpful) to judge Rowling by the Shakespeare standard? It’s definitely not building any bridges.

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