Harry Potter has become a surprisingly obsessive allegorical tool for liberals’ opposition to the Trump Administration
He quoted a New York Times oped by a high school girl touring colleges:
I was surprised when many top colleges delivered the same pitch. It turns out, they’re all a little bit like Hogwarts — the school for witches and wizards in the “Harry Potter” books and movies. Or at least, that’s what the tour guides kept telling me.
During a Harvard information session, the admissions officer compared the intramural sports competitions there to the Hogwarts House Cup. The tour guide told me that I wouldn’t be able to see the university’s huge freshman dining hall as it was closed for the day, but to just imagine Hogwarts’s Great Hall in its place.
Above is a picture of Harvard’s Annenberg Hall, as suggested by commenter Syonredux. From the Harvard admissions website:
Freshmen have the privilege of taking all of their meals in Annenberg Hall, which you have likely seen in every single admissions brochure. It looks very much like the Great Hall from Harry Potter, except our tables run the wrong way (still awaiting word on whether it actually inspired Mrs. Rowling during the time of her writing). Annenberg seems really cool at first because, as mentioned above, it is essentially Hogwarts.
In Tom Wolfe’s novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, the old aesthete drops in a bombshell of a paragraph cynically summing up what he’s learned from his lifetime’s obsessions with architecture and status about why we love beautiful buildings. Poor Adam Gellin, the much put-upon undergrad intellectual, has fled from the gay rights rally he was intimidated into appearing in into the gothic majesty of the Dupont U. library. (Dupont U. is more or less Duke U., which has perhaps the most extravagant architecture of any American college):
He stood in the lobby, just stood there, looking up at the ceiling and taking in its wonders one by one, as if he had never laid eyes on them before, the vaulted ceiling, all the ribs, the covert way spotlights, floodlights, and wall washers had been added … It was so calming … but why? … He thought of every possible reason except for the real one, which was that the existence of conspicuous consumption one has rightful access to — as a student had rightful access to the fabulous Dupont Memorial Library — creates a sense of well-being.
Yup. Having rightful access to magnificent architecture makes you feel good.
(By the way, my impression from walking across Harvard a couple of times is that its campus is slightly less awesome overall than you’d expect.)
Maybe Wolfe’s insight has something to do with why there seem to be so many protests at Southern California’s Claremont Colleges over the years regarding the purportedly oppressive “campus climate.” As I’ve often joked, the actual climate in Claremont, CA seems halcyon, but the most vocal students claim to find the metaphorical climate debilitating.
This may have something to do with some of the constituent colleges of this consortium (with contiguous campuses) being among the few prestigious private colleges founded after WWII. The postwar modernist architecture at Claremont McKenna and Pitzer is completely non-Hogwartians. Harvey Mudd, for example, looks like a motel.
Maybe the Claremont students wouldn’t kvetch so much if they had some Hogwarts-style buildings on campus to make them feel better about themselves?