A brief response to Kelly Conaboy’s post on Gawker, “If You Buy a Harry Potter Engagement Ring You Should Not Get Married“:
1. There are some very excellent reasons that people should not get married. They include such things as “the couple is too young to legally marry,” or “the couple believes marriage is an outdated patriarchal institution based on the premise that women are property,” or, especially, “the couple does not wish to get married.” However, nowhere on that list of reasons why two loving, consenting adults should not marry is “because they both like Harry Potter-themed jewellery.” No matter what your opinion of the oeuvre of J.K. Rowling, the fact that two grown-ass people who love each other also love her books does not mean they are somehow too immature to wed.
2. How about just being happy that people who share the same passions and interests have found each other and apparently delight in each other’s company? No one is making you, Kelly Conaboy, marry someone who likes to read intelligent social commentary disguised as fiction about teenage wizards. I fail to understand how it somehow impacts you that someone else who is completely separate from your life loves Quidditch enough to want to own this ring:
3. I’m sorry, but no one who had to google the words “Golden Snitch” is fit to write about a ring that represents the Golden Snitch.
That’s like asking me, the person whose idea of haute cuisine is dumping a can of Campbell’s into a dented old pot, to write a column about cooking. Also, the fact that Conaboy twice implies that she didn’t know what a Golden Snitch was reeks of performative ignorance.
We get it, Kelly, you are too cool and grownup for Harry Potter. Do you have any other points you wish to make.
4. Writes Conaboy:
‘Imagine this scenario: The adult female on whom you have spent the past seven years of your life takes you to the top of a mountain. She pulls out a ring. “Is that?” “Yes—the Golden Snitch,” she says. She has proposed to you with a ring you recognize as the smallest ball—the name of which both of you know—used in the broomstick game child wizard Harry Potter plays during his downtime. Two adults standing on top of a mountain with a ring from a series of young adult novels neither of whom were, even at the time of publishing, the correct age to read. A Harry Potter engagement ring.’
While I get that she’s trying to be pithy and clever, there are a few issues here.
First of all, Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone was published in 1997. Assuming the “correct age” to read that book is the same age as the protagonists – eleven years old – those readers would now be 28, which is a decade above the legal marriageable age in most states and provinces.
Second of all, there is no correct age to read Harry Potter books because they are great books.
Third of all, while we’re imagining things, imagine this: EVERYONE MINDS THEIR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS AND DOESN’T POLICE WHAT KIND OF ENGAGEMENT RINGS CONSENTING ADULTS CHOOSE TO GIVE EACH OTHER. IS THAT ACTUALLY SO HARD.
If you need a refresher on the deep and complicated theory behind this last point, might I direct you to Nicole Cliffe’s fantastic piece On Subcultures. Specifically, you should read this part:
‘There are people who respond to other people having fun in ways that are alien to them with inexplicable rage and contempt. This is, honestly, one of the worst things you can do to yourself as a person of something resembling character. I kind of do it around things like Burning Man, which is silly. Obviously, if people really love Burning Man then they should just burn their little hearts out with great joy and abandon. And we should remember that other people probably feel this way about things we like. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, and you’ve ever tried to show someone an episode of Doctor Who, and it’s been a dismal failure, and they’ve tried to get YOU to align yourself with their vaguely snide amusement by saying things like “so, I assume the special effects are deliberately bad on purpose, right?” or “wait, how many of these have you SEEN?” or, worst of all “how does anyone stand the Doctor?” then you should know better. Perhaps the single greatest summation of this concept being “don’t yuck on someone else’s yums.”‘
Everyone likes different things. Some people like things you think are stupid or boring or pretentious – and you are entitled to that opinion! That being said, it’s pretty crummy to use your opinion as a way to make other people feel small. Also, your personal taste in books or television or leisure activities are not the official determinant of who’s allowed to get married.
6. I would be way, way more concerned about adults buying each other rings that reference something like Atlas Shrugged, a book that is purportedly for adults but, in my experience, is mostly beloved by neo-Libertarian fifteen year olds. But you know what? Even Ayn Rand fans need love (and jewellery) too.