Publisher's Weekly Newsline has a story about a Harry Potter parody
that has been getting some people's knickers all a-twist.
Michael Gerber, who has worked for SNL and the New Yorker,
tried to sell a Harry Potter parody, but was rejected by editors at St. Martin's,
Talk, and Vanity Fair (among others, the article says).
The legal departments weren't into it, so now Gerber is self-publishing the
story, called Barry Trotter and The Unauthorized Parody.
Gerber says that whatever happens will serve to determine whether literary
parody can even exist anymore. "If Warner sues, we might as well roll up literary
parody right now," Gerber is quoted in the article.
While a parody of Potter, it also takes a swing at the big multimedia empires
like AOL Time Warner, or as I call them, They Who Dwell Above All And Think
AOL 6.0 is Awesome.
We'll know soon enough whether Gerber will get sued, but the author of
the Gone With the Wind
parody The Wind Done Gone
eventually won.) The book may escape the big boys' notice, since the author
is marketing it himself and it's not being mass printed. It's available at
Amazon, though. You can order it at www.barrytrotter.com
you can also download the first chapter.
Our own Paul Riddell weighs in, saying that it all depends on whether it's
funny or not. "Really crappy parodies are ignored unless they're somehow defamatory
of the material. The clever parodies, such as Harvey Kurtzman's 'Goodman
Cleaver'parodies of Superman and Archie comics, are the ones that (get) the
lawsuits, while National Lampoon's Doon gets away without a scratch
because the only people who thought it was funny consider Piers Anthony to
be a genius."
If the parody really stings somebody in the biz -- that's when Gerber
should look to be sued. "With AOL Time Warner at the center of this," Riddell
says, "rest assured that the book will drive some huge-ego slob to a murderous
I don't think it's too late to ask for -- or give -- this as a Christmas