An Art History instructor once explained to me how much richer my understanding of Visual Art would be if I had cultural knowledge. For example, paintings with Biblical references: If I haven’t read the Bible how will I understand the painting. We’ve lost the art of flower giving, because we no longer learn the meaning of flowers and their colours. Our lives then are in black and white, many of us are missing the subtle shades of grey that add substance.
This thought was brought home to me today as I watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I have been indulging in a Potterthon that began with a reading of the first two books and morphed into a movie marathon. When historians revisit the late 1990s and early 2000s, they will have to study the Harry Potter phenomenon. Words were added to the language. References are everywhere, including Love Actually.
The octogenarian cowered in her chair, appalled at the darkness and evil depicted. A very black evil contrasted with the white of goodness. The skies and lakes are grey, but the heart of Harry Potter was written in black and white. Not so evil in the octogenarian’s life. She understands only too well that in the pursuit of good moral compromises might have to be made.
Have we made evil palatable? Is that not in itself an evil act?