The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

To Me, HP Stands for Hewlett Packard: A Confession

Written by: Stacy Centa, the 100-Word Critic

(Stacy Centa is a guest columnist for CC2K, on loan from her own website . Typically, Ms. Centa reviews movies for us in exactly 100 words. For Harry Potter Week, she has increased her word limit for the following confession)


Harry Who?

Here's the thing: I don’t know to pronounce the name Hermoine [sic].  Is it Her-Money, like she works hard for it?  Or is it Her-Moines, like the capital of Iowa?  Or is it French: Her-Mwain, spoken through the nose and dropping off the last couple of letters.  I have never heard the name said aloud.  I know it’s the name of a character in the Harry Potter universe because the actress playing her graced the cover on my ever-sophisticated magazine Parade that comes with my Sunday Washington Post.

I have never read any of the Harry Potter books.  I have never seen any of the movies. When I think of a young Brit named Harry, I think of the prince, not the fictionalized wizard (Is he a wizard?  A wizard-in-training? A wizlet? I honestly have no idea).

The first time I ever saw a Harry Potter book was years ago, clutched in my little cousin’s hands. He couldn’t put it down.  He sat with it at the dinner table and immediately resumed reading after his final forkful of whatever my grandmother cooked that day.  Honestly, how often do you look to your baby cousins for book recommendations?

Initially, I was put off by its audience.  It’s not that I was too good to read a children’s book, I was simply too old.  I assume most adults felt this way initially.  I know more than a handful got past it.  Then they became part of the vocal masses intent on proselytizing the rest of us.   I’ve heard it all before, the it’s-SO-much-more-than-a-children’s-book argument that clearly worked wonders on them.  It’s not like I didn’t see the phenomenon swirling around me, it’s just that I never got swept away in the riptide.   I have nothing against pop culture. I love my television, I subscribed to People for years, and I can never pass up VH-1’s “Best Week Ever” if I’m home.  And I don’t have anything against fandom or fantasy, I could go fang to fang with any Buffy fan out there.  I guess I’ve experienced Harry Potter craze the way I experienced Transformers this summer: the insane media hype ultimately became white noise, barely even registering a blip on my radar.

Sure, I know I am missing out on some things. HP references have leapt out of the confines of the page and screen and interloped into my world.  Words I think are gibberish (I find out later) actually have meaning to the Hogwart (?) crowd.  Even my beloved The Office is lost on me sometimes. 

And so, another HP movie will come and go without my plunking down ten dollars to see it.  I’m not saying I’ll never see any of the movies. I just don't have any plan to see them any time soon.  I hadn’t seen Star Wars until my brother made it a mandate for me to do so and that was only two years ago.  I don’t live under a rock; I just enjoy the cool shade it provides.


Author: Stacy Centa, the 100-Word Critic

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