In Defense of J.K. Rowling

Please read the updated blog here.

First, a disclosure: I’m not a TERF, and I don’t agree with anything about that particular movement. And I’m not even going to get into how Rowling, herself, should understand the concept of transgender–or trans-anything–as the world she’s created is strongly feelings based. Harry should be a Slytherin, according to the sorting hat; he feels like a Gryffindor, though, and that’s the deciding principle. We are, in any realm, who we reveal ourselves to be.

But this isn’t about that. Rowling has some problematic views, yes. Just like George Lucas and I’m sure George R.R. Martin. Because she’s problematic. Because we all are. Because, spoiler alert, our dear and much beloved Joanne is a human being.

Peak not through keyholes, the old saying goes, lest ye be vexed. There’s a wisdom, there, in our internet era that’s unfortunately been lost. Our betes noire weren’t so out in the open, even when I was a kid. Heck, even when I first registered to vote. I didn’t own a smart phone until after I got married, partly because I didn’t see the need and partly because I got my first pair of brand new, as opposed to new to me shoes from Uncle Sam. Which is another issue, which falls outside the scope of this piece: my views on privacy have a lot to do with my socioeconomic background. So do yours.

We want our creators to be like Alanis Morisette in Dogma, dispensing wisdom that’s both appropriate and easily digestible and then going away. When they fall short of this, which they always have and always will, we feel cheated. Of what, exactly, I don’t know. What I do know is that we have to stop shoe horning people into roles they don’t fit. We need spiritual guidance, in this world. Maybe now more than ever. If you’re getting yours from Harry Potter, that’s fine (although I’m more of a Star Wars type, myself). What’s not fine is expecting Rowling to become Jesus.

I watch The Mandalorian with my son. We discuss the show’s various plot points, mining them for teachable moments. But we’re not praying to George Lucas. Or, for that matter, to Jon Favreau. To which you’re probably saying, duh. Except…isn’t that what we’re really, truly, doing to Rowling? I love, and I mean love, Happy. He’s on my list. But every Friday night, we interact with his creation. And how much of any creation, in the final analysis, belongs to its creator?

As makers, of all kinds, we work for one reason: to give our work away. Success is, Geppetto-like, stepping back as something greater takes on a life of its own. When a piece communicates itself, successfully, without me waiting in the sidelines to explain something–that’s when I know it’s done.

So love Harry Potter, or don’t. Like I said, angsty potboilers about trust fund jocks aren’t really my cup of tea. Read something else, if you want; a singular joy of capitalism is voting with your wallet. But don’t waste any more of your time, and mine, screaming into your Cheerios because Rowling is just another muggle.