Memo to Brits: it's time to take back Harry Potter. So argues an irate Boris Johnson, current mayor of London, in The Telegraph. The occasion for this outburst? He's noticed a Harry Potter theme park being built in Orlando, Florida. Why, he wonders, are Americans profiting from a quintessentially British story? The Atlantic Wire already covered one instance of Brits taking up cultural arms this week, and this seems a fitting followup.
ON BRITAIN'S INABILITY TO EXPLOIT ITS CREATIVITY
This is just about the most creative and imaginative country on earth--and yet sometimes we just don't seem to have the gumption to exploit our intellectual property. We split the atom, and now we have to get French or Korean scientists to help us build nuclear power stations. We perfected the finest cars on earth--and now Rolls-Royce is in the hands of the Germans. Whatever we invent, from the jet engine to the internet, we find that someone else carts it off and makes a killing from it elsewhere.
WHY HARRY POTTER SHOULD BE BRANDED WITH A UNION JACK RIGHT NOW
[T]he fact is that Harry Potter is not American. He is British. Where is Diagon Alley, where they buy wands and stuff? It is in London, and if you want to get into the Ministry of Magic you disappear down a London telephone box. ... Hogwarts is a place where children occasionally get cross with each other--not "mad"-- and where the situation is usually saved by a good old British sense of HUMOUR. WITH A U. RIGHT? NOT HUMOR. GOTTIT?
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
The seven Harry Potter books have together sold about 400 million copies, in 67 languages. There is nothing like it in history. Think of the cumulative impact on the imaginations of the younger generation of today--and those young people will be reading Harry Potter to their own children tomorrow.
My point is that this Potter business has legs. It will run and run, and we must be utterly mad, as a country, to leave it to the Americans to make money from a great British invention. ... Bring Harry home to Britain--and if you want a site with less rainfall than Rome, with excellent public transport, and strong connections to Harry Potter, I have just the place.