One of the many perks of reading is that it opens your mind to new ideas about the world and your place in it. People who don’t read books often develop flawed, narrow-minded opinions about reality. And people who do read become exposed to more intelligent, nuanced perspectives. And in the case of people who read at least one certain series about a boy wizard, it makes them less inclined to vote for idiots.
It’s been determined by the people who study these kinds of things that people who like Harry Potter tend to not like Donald Trump. Study author Diana Mutz, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, determined that Harry Potter‘s focus on tolerance and respect for others makes them less inclined to care for a politician who seems to be filled with fear and loathing at the sight of anyone who’s not like him. As Mutz writes, “Because Trump’s political views are widely viewed as opposed to the values espoused in the Harry Potter series, exposure to the Potter series may play an influential role in affecting how Americans respond to Donald Trump.”
In other words, Harry Potter fans know a Voldemort when they see one.
As the Verge notes, this phenomenon exists beyond the confines of age, gender and even religion:
In the study, Mutz surveyed 1,142 people to measure their exposure to the Harry Potter books and movies, and then measured their feelings about Trump on a scale of zero to 100. The first survey was conducted in 2014, the second in 2016. The results show that Harry Potter readers dislike Trump more than those who hadn’t read the books. And that was the case even after Mutz controlled for variables such as age, education, gender, ideology, party identification, and evangelical self-identification — which are all thought to influence our perception of Republican and Democratic candidates.
A few caveats here. Mutz’s paper struggles to prove anything beyond a correlation, and we all know that there’s a difference between cause and correlation. She also doesn’t pretend to be objective in her feelings about Trump (“Perhaps most importantly,” she writes, “these findings raise the hope that Harry Potter can stop the Deathly Donald and make America great again in the eyes of the world, just as Harry did by ridding the wizard world of Voldemort.”) which makes it tough to know how unbiased her findings are. But, hey, reading Harry Potter is a recommended activity regardless, and if it keeps someone for voting Trump than, hey, so much the better.
Maybe Trump could even consider reading Harry Potter. That is, if he ever read any books at all.
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If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
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