Back in freshman year of college I took American Studies 203: Pop Culture in America, and for this exceedingly labor-intensive class, we studied seven areas of pop culture - music, film, books, TV, etc. - picked something from each and wrote a 15-page paper on the themes it contains and what those mean both about the creator of the material and the society that consumes it. My book of choice, after considering doing "The Kite Runner" and realizing that I couldn't write about a book I fully despise for mostly these reasons, was "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which had come out a few months before.
One of my main points: J.K. Rowling's description of The Daily Prophet and how her negative depiction of the media must subtly suggest her own dislike, and, that Rita Skeeter is meant to symbolize all those mud-slinging, Stephen Glass- and Jayson Blair-esque journalists that probably stalk the crap out of her life. Hey, it didn't have to be true, it just had to be what I guessed.
But now, with a recent study suggesting that Harry Potter readers show a greater dislike of the press because of how Skeeter displays "a complete disregard for accuracy, truthfulness and objectivity," I feel disappointingly vindicated. I may have gotten an A in that class (yay!), but now part of the reason the journalism industry (which I've adored since watching and reading "All the President's Men") is failing could be because those obsessed little kids with Sharpie lightning scars on their foreheads can't bother to pick up a paper. Awesome.
I leave you with this:
+ Photos courtesy of IMDB