Friday, March 31, 2006

In Class: Defense Against the Dark Arts

Note: the picture is from an actual course catalog for a technology school. Below is a scene from a visit I made to see how that class is taught. (Thanks to Nearly Redmond Nick for finding this).

PROF. MOODY: When it comes to the Dark Arts, I believe in a practical approach. You've got to know what you're dealing with…CONSTANT CYBERVIGILANCE!!! So I've decided to let you see firsthand what you're up against. Now the Ministry of Technomagic thinks you shouldn't see any of this…that you aren't ready. I say different. I say you need to know…Now, who can tell me the three unforgivable hacks? You in the back…your pocket protector is leaking inside your robes.

KID IN BACK: The old geezer can see through stuff…wonder if he could look inside this laptop...

MOODY: Yeah, and you've got a malware attack from all that porn you've been downloading, Mr. shut up. All right, who can tell me one of the three hacks that will land you a life sentence in Redmond? Yeah, you, with the nerdy glasses, you look like a geek…Potter's the name? Give me one, Potter.

HARRY: Well, there's the Imperius hack…

MOODY: Yes, the Imperius hack. Gave the Ministry a fair bit of trouble in its day…let's see it. (takes worm out of glass jar on teacher's desk; takes sliderule out of pocket protector, points at worm) Microsmio. (worm shrinks to invisibility in his hand) Imperio. (slithery silver substance floats out of his hand, toward a kid's PC on his desk). What's happening, son—your name's Malfoy, right?

MALFOY: (in terror, pressing buttons on his keyboard) Windows is crashing…my hard drive's doing an auto-format. My data--Help!

MOODY: (waves sliderule, silvery stuff floats out of PC toward another one nearby) Yes, too bad…hope you backed it up this morning. CONSTANT VIGILANCE. Now, shall I make it wipe out your email? Send you five million copies of "How to Make Your Penis Ten Inches Longer"? Clear the history files on your browser? Hmm? Potter…let's see you try it…(silvery stuff floats into Harry's PC). Well, what's happening?

HARRY: Nothing, sir. My data's fine, all my apps are up and running…

MOODY: (his CG-Eye shoots out of his head toward Harry's PC) Ehh, look people, he's fighting it! He's got a Macintosh! Ah, but wait…is your Safari downloading anything now?

HARRY: (disgusted) Yes…it's a picture of Professor McGonnigal, naked…and it's reproducing—tiling itself all over the desktop…stop it Professor Moody, please stop it!

MOODY: (pulls a bottle of Jolt out of his robes, sucks down half of it in one gulp) Repair your permissions and you'll be fine, Potter—and fix that download setting. CONSTANT, UNCEASING, PERPETUAL VIGILANCE. Are you people ever gonna be geeks—or do you want to be nerds all your life?


Note to J.K. Rowling's and Warner Bros.' lawyers: I never really went to take that class. I've never even been to Boston—honest. And I have $55.67 in my bank account right now, and I own nothing of value except an iMac dome desktop and the entire six volume set of Harry Potter books in hardcover, which I purchased with my own money.

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