Episode 10.5: Gadding with Guys (with film degrees)

This week, as Marcelle and our erstwhile tech support selfishly abandon us to care for a newborn, Hannah and genuine guy-with-a-film degree Neale Barnholden go on magical tour of cinematic and material history, featuring dragons! It’s a Q&A minisode, minus the mini. Buckle in, dear listeners, because things are going to get shouty.

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Hannah McGregor

I am an Assistant Professor in Publishing @ SFU. My areas of research include periodical studies, media studies, middlebrow culture, contemporary and early twentieth-century Canadian literature, critical race studies, and digital humanities. I also make a fortnightly podcast about Harry Potter.

4 thoughts on “Episode 10.5: Gadding with Guys (with film degrees)”

  1. Why do you say Thatcher?
    Maybe because I’m old (but the same age as JK Rowling ), to me, Delores Umbridge is Mary Whitehouse (Christian, Festival of Light founder, petitioner for decency on television, and sex education teacher). Although, Rowling claims Umbridge, or, at least, her dress taste, was inspired by a teacher that she had personally been instructed by.

    Margaret Thatcher never wore pink while she still had her wits. She wore what was proper, which was a dark (usually blue – Tory blue, Royal blue, baby blue, according to her agenda) suit and pearls. She would no more wear pink than trousers (both too communistic). She eschewed feminism and femininity. Women she treated as inferior to men, and men as inferior to herself.

    The press were always trying to put things on her for being a woman (ie. reporting sources that implausibly claimed to have seen her flirtatious or seductive side, or imaged her as some kind of sexualised version of nanny, nurse, school-marm, head mistress), but it didn’t work, because she was the patriarchy. In the HP universe, she would not be a simpering sadist like Umbridge, she would be nothing less than Voldemort (His Britain is very like Thatcher’s Britain, too).

    No fluffy cat pictures, although there was a cat (Humphry) that came with the office and kept Mr Thatcher company.

    And no ‘cozy’ parlour. Everyone in Britain drinks tea, but there was a particular, hilarious interview – an attempt to show her ‘at home’ in No. 10- where she was filmed for the best part of ten minutes answering questions as she frantically peered into kitchen cupboards trying to locate the kettle, cups, teabags, etc. Then the interview cuts to them composedly sitting on sofas taking tea with biscuits. Mrs Thatcher didn’t even fake any affective labour. Thinking back on it, she might have eschewed ‘being mother’ when she realized they had the kitchen fail footage. The press at the time was not more progressive than the prime minister, really.

    Loving your podcast and telling all my friends.

    1. This is fascinating, thanks for the context! I tend to link Umbridge to Thatcher because of the historical era in which Rowling was writing (post-Thatcher England) and the politics of Harry Potter itself — a clear refusal of everything Thatcher represented. But I’m going to look into Mary Whitehouse further!

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