Instead of doing actual work, I thought I would take this morning to weigh in on the JK Rowling issue. She put out a number of tweets and blogs and likes that I won’t bother trying to repeat or paraphrase and end up botching.
There has been a virtual firestorm around her actions. I suppose because she is such an enormous figure and anything she does is scrutinized to the microscopic level.
I don’t personally agree with her sentiments. But I also don’t care. If you read my writing or hang out with me or run me over with a car, you’ll see I don’t spend a lot of CPU cycles dwelling on gender. It simply doesn’t interest me. I’m not saying it isn’t important. Or it hasn’t had huge effects on my life. Or it shouldn’t interest you. I just don’t care. There’s a lot of things I don’t care about. It doesn’t mean they aren’t significant. It means I sleep and eat and can’t spend precious time worrying about every problem, issue, or state of the world because there are simply too many. I like reading about those issues. But I don’t enjoy writing about them, and as such, I’d do a terrible job if I tried.
But the blowback to JK has struck me as I’ve seen a lot of this lately. Where if you aren’t 100% in lock step, group think, mind meld with everyone, you’re hateful trash.
The response of the Blair Partnership and the demands of the writers stands out to me.
Blair Partnership said it took pride in the diversity of views represented by their authors but it could not compromise on the “fundamental freedom” of allowing authors the right to express their thoughts and beliefs.
A spokeswoman said it would always champion diverse voices and believe in freedom of speech for all but it was not willing to have staff “re-educated” to meet the demands of a small group of clients.
It is really amazing to me that authors would dogpile on JK for this. Like I said, I don’t particularly agree with her, but that doesn’t mean she should die. I have the ability to evaluate her actions and character. Does JK Rowling intend to hurt people? Is she trying to wreck lives? Every iota I’ve ever heard about her is glowing with praise. And now we find out she can’t actually walk on water so we need to destroy her?
A bit excessive, isn’t it?
Well-meaning people have been trying to ban Mark Twain books for over a century, entirely missing the point. If I could only consume entertainment by spotless individuals with whom I share every opinion, I would be a lonely and bored motherfucker.
They call it cancel culture, but it’s been going on a lot longer. I see parallels in the “ratfucking” that the Nixon campaign mastered and has gone on ever since. It’s the Roger Stone method. You think the other side is so bad and so dangerous to democracy, that you will attack and subvert democracy to prevent them from winning. You will close polling places, taking away the fundamental right to vote, to preserve democracy.
And in the case of JK Rowling, you will engage in censorship, personal attacks, and threaten violence, to prevent all that stuff from maybe happening to someone you like.
The hypocrisy is staggering. I don’t understand how otherwise thoughtful people can twist themselves around to justify this.
There is a book coming out soon. I don’t approve of the author’s behavior on many fronts. But I want to read it. It’s a quandary because I don’t want to give him any money. However, I will not steal the book. Or demand it be boycotted. Or torch his house. I’m not going to compromise my own ideals to inflict damage on someone who doesn’t share my ideals.
The ends don’t justify the means. Not only because that’s a clever slogan, but the actions we take define us far more than our secret thoughts and wishes we never implement. Murdering bad people in the name of pacifism doesn’t make you a spiritual superstar. It makes you a murderer.
JK Rowling has made some amazing books. She almost single-handedly revitalized the publishing industry. She got kids to read huge books! She’s made tremendous monetary and social contributions to this planet. I’m not going to discount her enormous body of work based on her opinions unless those opinions rise to the level of promoting genocide or the extermination of kittens.
Not everyone has to agree with you on everything for you to still treat them as human beings.