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Harry Potter Parody Gets Knickers In Twists
Revolution News
© Joe Crowe

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 did. (She 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, where 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 rage."
I don't think it's too late to ask for -- or give -- this as a Christmas present.

Joe Crowe is Knickers Editor for RevolutionSF.

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