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August 22-September 4, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

What's Right, What's Easy?

In response to Peter Byrne's column, "Muggles, Arise!" (Aug. 15), I hasten to remind Mr. Byrne that one shouldn't judge a book by how it's covered in the media. From the start, Harry Potter has been mischaracterized by corporate interests as a kids' book about sorcery. No doubt this mischaracterization is due to the subversive philosophy that Rowling subtly delivers to her readers. Rowling has said that, to her, the moral significance of the tales is "the choice between what is right and what is easy," explaining that "tyranny [is] started by people being apathetic and taking the easy route and suddenly finding themselves in deep trouble."

Pity poor Harry Potter. He knows that Voldemort is back, but is ridiculed by the press and government. Most of his school is turned against him because they only know what the media and their leaders promote. The book raises an interesting question: What would you do if your government were infiltrated by enemies of freedom and liberty? In Harry's case, he organizes a forbidden group to resist the evil. Far from being just a dumb kids' book, Harry Potter is likely to be the one cultural event of the century that the world will share globally. Its popularity and the message of choosing to do what is right, no matter how harsh the personal consequences, makes it the possibly the most subversive and influential book since the Bible. God knows that the messages in that book, like "The truth will set you free" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," are not views that our current leaders promote.

John Rose, Santa Rosa

Wizards, Unite!

Silly Peter Byrne! To say that we're all Muggles and the elite are the wizards is simplistic and just plain wrong. Those of us who engage in radical creativity as activist writers, songsters, punk rockers, dancers, poets and green architects; who create alternative media, are playwrights, graffiti artists, conscious rappers, cop watchers, open mic'ers, "burners" and bioneers are all wizards, for we deal in the magic of imagination to create social change.

It's those who have never questioned reality, who sit like lumps in front of TVs and are obedient consumers, who are Muggles. Behind the wheels of every SUV sits a Muggle.

J. K. Rowling is stirring up the powerful latent magic of creative transformation within us, for we truly are in an epic struggle. The Dark Side certainly has its wizards, who, through cunning and deceit, have attained positions of great power. We can and must outwit them! Why, the Republicans are now running R. G. Voldemort for president.

Forest Staggs, Petaluma

Peter spends each of the precious 800 words allotted him this week rebutting these two letters. See "The Byrne Report," p9.

Not one or t'other

Did I miss something (Letters, Aug. 22)? Does there have to be a choice between "Ask Sydney" and Rob Brezsny? Sydney is solid and answers a few questions in a refreshingly earthy manner. Rob is a poet and guides us with rich analogy and humor and addresses the 12 astrological paths. The work is different! Rob was my lure to the Bohemian. Don't lose me.

Andee Kobus-Sheard , Santa Rosa

If we are foolish enough to misprint or forget to print Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology, we are immediately punished by having to read his horoscope to legions over the phone. There is no way that we would take the misguided step of offing our favorite Marin-based astrologer; this ain't no "either or." Sydney wanted to leave. We miss her too, but that's the last word.

Dept. of forehead-slapping

In the magnificent round-up otherwise known as Fall Arts Listings ("Fall into Arts," Aug. 22), we made two remarkable errors—remarkable, that is, for their sheer stupidity.

We have received many, many, many notices that Napa's River Festival (formerly set for Sept. 2) has been cancelled this year, yet we doggedly printed notice of it. Our failure in regards to Face to Face's Art for Life annual auction was more internally egregious. We had the listing, wrong dates; we had the listing, wrong price; we had an image to support the listing, Chaka Khan went there instead. And lo, when we went to print, no listing at all! Please mark Sept. 6–8 on the calendar for this 20th anniversary fundraiser featuring 20 new artists. Still at Santa Rosa's Friedman Center, the auction proper is slated for Saturday, Sept. 8; tickets are $75. For details, go to

The Ed.

embarrassed, contrite and strangely hungry for canapes

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