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Harry Potter and teen drinking

Is the glowing depiction of alcohol consumption in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ an invitation to underage drinking?

After watching the latest Harry Potter movie, I have to ask, “Does Hogwarts have a drinking problem?” said Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times. Unlike in previous Harry Potter movies, alcohol has a “starring role” in “The Half-Blood Prince.” Sixteen-year-old Hermione gets “tipsy” and flirtatious on butterbeer and Harry goes "partying with his professors”; it was “jarring” to watch with my 10-year-old daughter. Kids copy what they see in movies.

How “very silly,” said Damon Root in Reason. With all the real problems kids face today, is it really worth “fretting” about what young wizards and their equally fictitious professors do to unwind? “Let’s just hope Parker-Pope’s 10-year-old doesn’t get wind of President Obama boozing it up at the White House with Sgt. Crowley and professor Gates.”

My 7-year-old is certainly staying home, said Colin McEnroe in The Hartford Courant. Watching Harry, Hermione, Ron, and their “alienated” teenage peers “wasted and making out,” you’re reminded that the “dewy innocence” of the earlier Harry Potter films is gone. But it’s gone, too, from the now-college-age kids who first watched those films, so the latest Potter movie is probably “perfect for its core audience.”

Actually, The Half-Blood Prince offers one of the few models American teens have of “responsible drinking,” said the blog Voting While Intoxicated. Drinking isn’t a game for the Hogwarts set; there’s no binge drinking or “drinking and flying brooms.” Instead, you see them socializing over “one butterbeer at the pub.” Shouldn’t we encourage that kind of behavior?

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