BY FRANK HAVILAND
Revenge is a dish best-served cold, so they say, and in these days of unorthodox diets there is something particularly piquant about watching from the wings as your enemies self-cannibalise. J K Rowling is the latest lefty loon ensnared in a trap of her own design, frantically virtue-signalling as the progressive sharks feast upon her.
Whatever her undoubted gifts as a writer (for which I will personally vouch), Rowling’s political views, and the unchivalrous lengths she will go to advance them, leave something to be desired.
Whether it’s bleating about migrant rights from her 18 spare bedrooms or failing to recant false accusations against Trump, Rowling doesn’t always play fair. As hypocrites go, she is unquestionably the chosen one.
So it is not without irony that Rowling has finally fallen foul of her own shtick, violating the sacred law of progressivism: facts always come a distant second to feelings. The hullabaloo recently engulfing her centres on the casting of Lord Voldemort’s future pet snake, Nagini – a role given to South Korean actress Claudia Kim in the latest Potter outing, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Rowling received a hailstorm of criticism for the choice. Of course the bread-and-butter accusation of racism was deployed (white man’s slave and all that), but there was nuance too, with charges of trying to win ‘woke points’ by ‘token inclusivity’, as well as reverting to the stereotype of the ‘exotic Asian’.
One could almost feel sorry for Rowling, trying to hold the fort with the popgun of facts against the might of the left’s emotional bazooka. She tried to explain that ‘Naga’ derives from the Indonesian for snake, and that the serpent had been conceived of as Asian all along, but the hard-core progressives did not buy it. It may well be true of course, but it doesn’t matter when the intersectional gestapo smell blood.
One downside for Rowling is that she already has form in this department. The fact is that coming from a liberal luvvie, the Harry Potter books are as close to a white supremacist’s wet dream as you can get. It’s Patriarchy 101, with an old, bearded white guy top of the food chain, and a decidedly-male protagonist for whom women are either swotty sidekicks, femme fatales, or adoring mothers. Worse still, Hogwarts appears to be a place without a gender-neutral pronoun or bathroom in sight.
Clearly valuing her liberal credentials, Rowling has made many attempts to make the books more progressive, albeit post-publication. In 2007 for instance, she revealed that Dumbledore was gay, though there is not a single line in any of the books to corroborate this. In 2014, she thrilled fans by claiming that ‘of course’ some Hogwarts students were LGBTQ+. In 2016, she decided that Hermione was black, despite the obvious textual contradictions, as well as Rowling’s own initial sketches which leave little room for debate.
So it is not without a touch of chagrin that I am forced to defend her, believing (unlike her) that facts ought to be given priority, no matter how much one might loathe the speaker.
In the case of casting Claudia Kim, Rowling was damned whatever occurred. Had a white actress been selected, she would have been criticised for a) depriving a woman of colour the role, b) culturally appropriating serpent culture, c) not actually being a snake.
The race card of course is a bit of a non-starter, since anything with white people in it is by definition racist and casting any non-whites in any role can be made racist at the drop of a hat, should you wish to do so.
The accusation of stereotyping ‘exotic’ Asians however, is frankly bizarre. If the word exotic means anything, then Asian would certainly qualify. Having lived in the Far East for most of the past decade, I can confirm that it is in fact rather exotic. Asians don’t do beans on toast; it doesn’t piss down with rain every other day, and the women are stunning (though naturally, it might cost you a #MeToo sponsored rape charge to admit it)
So there you have it. They want diversity, but you can’t cast non-whites, because you’re reverting to stereotypes. As is so often the way sadly, the perpetually-offended hold all the cards in these charades. Having been so often on the winning end of similar three-card tricks herself, Rowling getting a taste of her own Polyjuice Potion should not trouble us nearly as much as the direction the conversation is taking.
The world we are inexorably headed for is one whereby words are not allowed to mean anything, and all human facets must be neutered so as not cause offence. That ought to be offensive enough to spur us into action, even if it means defending our enemies.
In the meantime, perhaps Rowling should keep her head down, and turn her attention to safe, progressive narratives which certainly do not include any white people. Black Panther 2 anyone?
Frank Haviland was born in London, and educated at Dulwich College. After a brief spell in the City, he obtained an MSc in Social and Applied Psychology. He has been many things including a professional juggler, businessman, and English lecturer. Haviland is concerned that Britain (and the West generally) have fallen to the lie of equality (the false notion that everything is, and must be seen to be of equal value). He has recently finished his first book (outlining his theory), which is due for publication later this year. Frank has lived in South Korea since 2011 where he runs a small English school, and writes occasional articles about the damage of political correctness. A selection of his work can be found here: www.frankhaviland.com. @Frank Haviland