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Bush officials vs. J.K. Rowling: Were they seriously worried about 'Harry Potter' promoting witchcraft?!

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george-bush-potter_lJ.K. Rowling is surely one of the most universally beloved people alive today. A one-time single mom on welfare who created a wonderful world of magic that got countless kids reading actual novels – who could think of her as anything other than utterly awesome? The answer might be the former Bush Administration. George W. Bush’s one-time speechwriter Matt Latimer’s new memoir claims that certain unnamed “people in the White House…object[ed] to giving the author J.K. Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft.” (Kudos to the bloggers at Think Progress for noticing this passage.)

Latimer is your classic disgruntled former employee, and his allegation is oddly light on details – When did this happen? Who exactly expressed these objections? – so take it with a grain of salt.

That said, there’s something irritating about this story. What kind of person actually disapproves of Harry Potter? Here’s a little reality check/spoiler alert: Magic is not real. Avid Rowling readers can shout “Expelliarmus!” or even “Avada Kedavra!” as often as they like; nothing scary is going to happen. Unless, that is, you consider children exercising their imaginations to be scary, which, if Latimer’s allegation is true, I’m forced to conclude must have been the position of these Bush officials.

What do you think of this story? Can you believe there are actually people living in this century who think Harry Potter’s fictional magic is dangerous? Aren’t the Potter books really about family, friendship, and the power of love, anyway? Or maybe you think Latimer is just full of it? Sound off below, unless J.K. Rowling’s nefarious writings have already turned your brain to jelly.

Originally posted September 29 2009 — 11:53 AM EDT

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