19 votes

JK Rowling's new book, about a transphobe who faces wrath online, raises eyebrows

40 comments

  1. [20]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xbLO5bB0Tk Nathan J Robinson: I realize JK Rowling's new novel might seem a little long at 1200 pages but a good portion of the space is taken up by fictitious...

    Observers noted that the plot appears to mirror Rowling's own experience of taking heat and losing fans for expressing transphobic views in recent years. Rowling has said publicly that the book was not based on her own life, even though some of the events that take place in the story did in fact happen to her as she was writing it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xbLO5bB0Tk

    Nathan J Robinson: I realize JK Rowling's new novel might seem a little long at 1200 pages but a good portion of the space is taken up by fictitious mean tweets.

    14 votes
    1. [19]
      spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      from Nathan J. Robinson's review (J.K. Rowling’s new novel shows why having an editor is important): a woman who is famous for creating a piece of fantasy fiction starring a main character named...

      Rowling has said publicly that the book was not based on her own life

      from Nathan J. Robinson's review (J.K. Rowling’s new novel shows why having an editor is important):

      In The Ink Black Heart (spoilers), the murder victim is a young woman, Edie, who has become successful and wealthy by creating a popular fantasy series (in this case a YouTube cartoon called The Ink Black Heart, starring a disembodied heart named Harty).

      a woman who is famous for creating a piece of fantasy fiction starring a main character named *checks notes* Harty

      yeah, obviously, not based at all on anything in Rowling's life.

      14 votes
      1. [18]
        HotPants
        Link Parent
        Completely aside from Rowlings offensive personal views that might have made their way into her latest novel, I am offended by this from a literary perspective. There is nothing more tiresome than...

        Completely aside from Rowlings offensive personal views that might have made their way into her latest novel, I am offended by this from a literary perspective.

        There is nothing more tiresome than an author writing about an author. Fuck you The Shining and Misery. I will not read you, even though I love the movies.

        4 votes
        1. [5]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          The fact that one of the characers is a writer doesn't mean that The Shining is about a writer. It's been a long time since I read the book, but I honestly don't remember much 'shop talk' at all....

          The fact that one of the characers is a writer doesn't mean that The Shining is about a writer. It's been a long time since I read the book, but I honestly don't remember much 'shop talk' at all. I'm not the biggest fan of Stephen King, but I do think that The Shining is one of his better books (If not one of his best) and I certainly do recommend reading it, especially because I think it's one of the best examples of a haunted house story.

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            HotPants
            Link Parent
            Thanks, but I'm going to hard pass. Stephen King horror books are just not for me, especially when I've already seen the movie and know the main protagonist is a writer.

            Thanks, but I'm going to hard pass.

            Stephen King horror books are just not for me, especially when I've already seen the movie and know the main protagonist is a writer.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              rosco
              Link Parent
              What do you think about Books that are about writers? Murakami comes to mind for me. Almost all his novels are about a writer and a mysterious woman, haha.

              What do you think about Books that are about writers? Murakami comes to mind for me. Almost all his novels are about a writer and a mysterious woman, haha.

              1. [2]
                HotPants
                Link Parent
                Isn't that the same as an author writing about an author?

                What do you think about Books that are about writers?

                Isn't that the same as an author writing about an author?

                author writing about an author

        2. [12]
          Thrabalen
          Link Parent
          In all seriousness... what about a movie about making a movie? Or something like The Producers? Is that the same to you, or different? I don't necessarily disagree with your premise, I'm just...

          In all seriousness... what about a movie about making a movie? Or something like The Producers? Is that the same to you, or different?

          I don't necessarily disagree with your premise, I'm just curious about the why.

          2 votes
          1. [5]
            HotPants
            Link Parent
            Fuck scriptwriters who write scripts about script writers. Fuck them even more. Fuck you Seven Psychopaths. You were dead to me before I even started watching you. And I love a little bit of the...

            Fuck scriptwriters who write scripts about script writers. Fuck them even more. Fuck you Seven Psychopaths. You were dead to me before I even started watching you. And I love a little bit of the old ultra violent.

            I'm a bit inconsistent, I actually liked The Producers (67), Swingers, Midnight in Paris & Sunset Blvd, and thought Barton Fink & Adaption. were OK.

            It's not that everything is automatically bad. It's just so tired. So old.

            It's like a movie about a devious plot to kidnap or kill the USA President, or a man wrongfully committed to prison, or a whodunnit where the criminal is a side character you only saw for two seconds, or a man whose family was brutally murdered by bad guys.

            I've seen a lot of movies. I'm one of IMDB's top 1000 raters. It's like @AugustusFerdinand
            said "I'm not a critic, but even I can see many tropes and plots coming a mile off".

            My wife no longer lets me share my theory on how a movie will end because I have sucked the joy out of a surprise ending more than once.

            I typically love a movie if the ending is surprising to me in the moment, but not surprising in hindsight. Bonus points if you kill off the main character at the end, or leave it a little ambiguous (a la Sopranos.)

            2 votes
            1. [4]
              Thrabalen
              Link Parent
              Ah, see I thought it was about the conceit, but it's about how overdone it is because of the relative ease of it. That's why I asked the question.

              Ah, see I thought it was about the conceit, but it's about how overdone it is because of the relative ease of it. That's why I asked the question.

              2 votes
              1. [3]
                HotPants
                Link Parent
                Yes. I'm not angry at your question. I love your question. I am angry at how overdone it is. And that it pulls me out of the immersive experience. It's hard to pretend you are immersed in an...

                Yes. I'm not angry at your question. I love your question.

                I am angry at how overdone it is.

                And that it pulls me out of the immersive experience.

                It's hard to pretend you are immersed in an alternate world when you are thinking "really? You are writing about... a writer?"

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  MimicSquid
                  Link Parent
                  They say "write what you know", but it turns out that some writers only know writing.

                  They say "write what you know", but it turns out that some writers only know writing.

                  6 votes
                  1. Thrabalen
                    Link Parent
                    That... is an amazingly insightful point.

                    That... is an amazingly insightful point.

                    1 vote
          2. [6]
            vegai
            Link Parent
            I think https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109707/ disproves that premise for movies anyway :)

            In all seriousness... what about a movie about making a movie?

            I think https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109707/ disproves that premise for movies anyway :)

            1 vote
            1. [5]
              HotPants
              Link Parent
              Ed Wood is a very sticky movie. It sticks in your mind so vivdly. It made me go rent Plan 9 from Outer Space (as a VCR, I was lucky to live near a world class video store.) But is it a good movie?...

              Ed Wood is a very sticky movie. It sticks in your mind so vivdly.

              It made me go rent Plan 9 from Outer Space (as a VCR, I was lucky to live near a world class video store.)

              But is it a good movie? Does being sticky make it a good movie?

              Critics love it, but are suckers for anything about the film industry. Look at Life Itself or What She Said.

              1 vote
              1. [4]
                vegai
                Link Parent
                I'm crazy for most things that are or try to be artsy, and Ed Wood pushes many of those buttons for me at least.

                I'm crazy for most things that are or try to be artsy, and Ed Wood pushes many of those buttons for me at least.

                1. [3]
                  HotPants
                  Link Parent
                  Is that irony? Adding insult to injury? Because Plan 9 from Outer Space had such poor production value.

                  Is that irony? Adding insult to injury? Because Plan 9 from Outer Space had such poor production value.

                  1. [2]
                    vegai
                    Link Parent
                    I'm not sure what you're talking about. Perhaps we're talking past each other here a bit.

                    I'm not sure what you're talking about. Perhaps we're talking past each other here a bit.

                    1. HotPants
                      Link Parent
                      I was agreeing with you. Ed Wood the movie had a fantastic cast, great script, very well directed. Ed Wood the movie were about Ed Wood and the films he directed. And how bad they were. I wasn't...

                      I was agreeing with you. Ed Wood the movie had a fantastic cast, great script, very well directed. Ed Wood the movie were about Ed Wood and the films he directed. And how bad they were. I wasn't sure if that qualified as irony or if it just added insult to injury.

                      1 vote
  2. Fiachra
    Link
    You know, there's a popular theory that the film The Room is based on a real breakup that creator Tommy Wiseau went through. If true, it means the nonsensical actions of Lisa in the film reflect...

    You know, there's a popular theory that the film The Room is based on a real breakup that creator Tommy Wiseau went through. If true, it means the nonsensical actions of Lisa in the film reflect Wiseau's own failure to understand his partner's feelings during the relationship.

    For the same reason, this book might be an interesting insight into how well Rowling understands the grievances people have against her.

    14 votes
  3. tomf
    Link
    Welp, I finished the book. This isn't completely accurate. These views are spread out over a few characters who have their own issues and are either wrong or projecting. This is hardly the focus...
    • Exemplary

    Welp, I finished the book.

    The book centers the story of Edie Ledwell, a popular cartoonist who, according to the official description, is "persecuted by a mysterious online figure" — and ultimately found dead — after her cartoon was criticized for being racist, ableist and transphobic (at least partly over a bit involving "a hermaphrodite worm,"

    This isn't completely accurate. These views are spread out over a few characters who have their own issues and are either wrong or projecting. This is hardly the focus of the book, the motivation for any character, or even a point that contributes to the overall story.

    Also, to say 'persecuted by a mysterious online figure' is also wrong. Edie isn't 'persecuted' at all for writing these characters. There is a subplot about the origin of said-characters, but she isn't persecuted for that.

    Its a shit article that is trying to suck up some clicks from a previous controversy. Basically tabloid trash.

    As for a review: it was good overall. Not as good as the others in the series. There's a lot of technology involved, which I absolutely hate. She was smart to avoid using proper domains like a lot of authors do, but the whole in-game chat log, the localization of characters, etc etc was clunky. I think a good ol crime / mystery novel is best when there is very little technology at play.

    The book is longer in length, but the bulk is essentially chat logs from a game. I also don't think shitting on a book for length is relevant, though. Some books are long, others are short... so long as you're not wasting words, it doesn't matter.

    Its like criticizing the Nick Adams stories for being too short... or Moby Dick for running off on tangents. But again, its a tabloid-level article.

    I still love this series and the TV series that is based on it. I was hoping this book would be as good as the others, but it isn't. The chat logs were awful to read.

    9 votes
  4. autumn
    Link
    No thanks. I loved Harry Potter, but I don’t need this. Glad to distance myself from Rowling after she’s made this her life’s work.

    No thanks. I loved Harry Potter, but I don’t need this. Glad to distance myself from Rowling after she’s made this her life’s work.

    8 votes
  5. [10]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    I gotta say, I find it hard to empathize with billionaires basically whining because people for one reason or another disapprove of their statements. I mean, how much was your life really affected...

    I gotta say, I find it hard to empathize with billionaires basically winning whining because people for one reason or another disapprove of their statements. I mean, how much was your life really affected by online comments when you can literally hire the best psychotherapist in the world to give you sessions to solve your insecurities in your mansion in Monaco? You can even get a media team and a PR firm just to deal with all that for you! You're a celebrity, you're super rich. You're at the top of the world, I'm sure you can deal with the fact that some people think you're an asshole. I'm not famous and some people think I'm an asshole. Just go drink a martini by the pool in a diamond cup or whatever.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      I think that everyone can simultaneously have great flaws and also have many greatly admirable qualities. I personally admire that she's one of the few wealthy people (and self-made too) who...

      I think that everyone can simultaneously have great flaws and also have many greatly admirable qualities.

      I personally admire that she's one of the few wealthy people (and self-made too) who advocates paying one's fair share of taxes, upholding the social contract of welfare in a contemporary mainstream culture that largely celebrates getting away with whatever one can. She eschews tax havens, acknowledging that government welfare saved her as a single impoverished mother.

      She instead celebrates and most singularly embodies the idea that welfare uplifts the impoverished so that they may flourish and help others in the future. When I think of welfare success stories, J. K. Rowling shines as an example above all others.

      11 votes
      1. vegai
        Link Parent
        Yes, in fact to be more precise, absolutely nobody has only the other. Does that mean that everyone should just shut up? I'm supposing not, but perhaps that knowledge should still be around when...

        I think that everyone can simultaneously have great flaws and also have many greatly admirable qualities.

        Yes, in fact to be more precise, absolutely nobody has only the other. Does that mean that everyone should just shut up? I'm supposing not, but perhaps that knowledge should still be around when criticizing others.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      Fiachra
      Link Parent
      I mostly agree with you, the position of Twitter Main Character can't materially harm a billionaire. But I think knowing that two million people are furious at you still probably fucks you up a...

      I mostly agree with you, the position of Twitter Main Character can't materially harm a billionaire. But I think knowing that two million people are furious at you still probably fucks you up a bit, which is probably why they tend to defensively double down. So the glare of social media is pretty fucked up: it ruins marginalised people and just emotionally entrenches the powerful into their bad takes.

      I'm not saying we should feel sympathy for JK Rowling (quite the opposite), I'm saying that Twitter's tendency to suddenly focus huge swathes of people onto one contentious topic for a day at a time is really bad for society at large, and we should do something about it. It's not even that good at bullying bad people into changing their behaviour.

      9 votes
      1. Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        Twitter is like a sniper in a tower. They may not be focusing on the most critical target, or even the most interesting one... but that particular person is all the scope sees at the moment.

        Twitter is like a sniper in a tower. They may not be focusing on the most critical target, or even the most interesting one... but that particular person is all the scope sees at the moment.

        3 votes
    3. [3]
      post_below
      Link Parent
      To stray a little off topic... I'm not sure that an endless supply of money equates to an easy life. Ditto for fame. Most of the things that empirically (based on what research there is) matter...

      To stray a little off topic... I'm not sure that an endless supply of money equates to an easy life. Ditto for fame.

      Most of the things that empirically (based on what research there is) matter for fulfillment and peace of mind are independent of money and celebrity. Provided, of course, enough money that there is no stress around basic needs and taking care of your family. Money is understandably everything for many below that line.

      Using Rowling as an example, wealth and fame have clearly not conferred the self awareness to realize that, whatever she thinks about trans people, it's not a hill that she can do anyone any good by dying on. Instead she seems to be causing herself all sorts of misery.

      Money can't save people from themselves :)

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        Money doesn't buy happiness. On the other hand, it does pay off "misery debt" fairly well.

        Money doesn't buy happiness.
        On the other hand, it does pay off "misery debt" fairly well.

        6 votes
        1. lou
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Oh money can buy happiness, as long as you know what's important in life and spend it wisely. I'd rather say: money alone can't buy happiness. Money in combination with knowledge and virtue most...

          Oh money can buy happiness, as long as you know what's important in life and spend it wisely.

          I'd rather say: money alone can't buy happiness. Money in combination with knowledge and virtue most definitely does.

          Or, to be me more precise: money cannot buy happiness, but it most certainly can buy things which will, in turn, greatly increase the odds of being much happier than you would be without it.

          5 votes
    4. [2]
      skullkid2424
      Link Parent
      Had to read that twice. winning instead of whining makes a big difference to that statement lol.

      I find it hard to empathize with billionaires basically winning because...

      Had to read that twice. winning instead of whining makes a big difference to that statement lol.

      4 votes
      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well, they are winning which is why their complaints amount to whining :P

        Well, they are winning which is why their complaints amount to whining :P

        2 votes
  6. [7]
    tomf
    (edited )
    Link
    i love this series. my guess is that this is all blown out of proportion. i’m about 1/10th in so far and i have a feeling how this whole ‘transphobia’ thing is going to play out. Anyway, the...

    i love this series. my guess is that this is all blown out of proportion. i’m about 1/10th in so far and i have a feeling how this whole ‘transphobia’ thing is going to play out.

    Anyway, the Strike series is great and is definitely worth a read.

    edit: over 50% through and nothing... there was one person who was harassed due to misgendering someone, but they only had that much of a reference.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      That very well may be, but I personally can't in good conscience support her in any way, shape, or form. Maybe once she dies and no longer profits from the work I will give it a read. But I...

      definitely worth a read.

      That very well may be, but I personally can't in good conscience support her in any way, shape, or form. Maybe once she dies and no longer profits from the work I will give it a read. But I suspect my view of her is so tainted now, similar to Orson Scott Card, that I would still struggle to enjoy her work even under those circumstances.

      14 votes
      1. bhrgunatha
        Link Parent
        For a long time now, I've not been able to separate the artist from their work. I've read the arguments from both sides, but I can't bring myself to support them. I'm with you and firmly in the...

        For a long time now, I've not been able to separate the artist from their work.

        I've read the arguments from both sides, but I can't bring myself to support them.

        I'm with you and firmly in the camp of not supporting people whose views and actions are repulsive to me, whatever the reason. It's not "cancel culture", it's just basic humanity.

        That's not to say there's no place for controversy or offensive ideas in art and entertainment. In fact I think addressing those topics is an absolutely necessary part of a healthy culture.

        Of course, you have to make up your own mind deciding whether the work is representative of the artist or whether it's the artist exploring the subject matter.

        That isn't easy, especially given the state of media and reporting these days.

        6 votes
      2. lou
        Link Parent
        To me that's a more practical consideration. I'd hate to be fully invested in a book, only to realize in page 800 that "oh, shit, it really was transphobic all along!". That would be extremely...

        To me that's a more practical consideration. I'd hate to be fully invested in a book, only to realize in page 800 that "oh, shit, it really was transphobic all along!". That would be extremely frustrating.

        4 votes
      3. rosco
        Link Parent
        Didn't know about Card, but holy shit does he really go to the wall for his ass backwards beliefs. Why would anyone think hiring him for Superman would be a good idea?

        Didn't know about Card, but holy shit does he really go to the wall for his ass backwards beliefs. Why would anyone think hiring him for Superman would be a good idea?

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      vegai
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Googling "Strike series" refers to a TV adaption of her book series. The actual book series seems to be called "Cormoran Strike": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormoran_Strike Also, looking at the...

      Anyway, the Strike series is great and is definitely worth a read.

      Googling "Strike series" refers to a TV adaption of her book series. The actual book series seems to be called "Cormoran Strike": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormoran_Strike

      Also, looking at the series reviews on goodreads, seems like there's a bit of a reaction there: https://www.goodreads.com/series/108050-cormoran-strike -- the latest book is rated at 3.03/5 while the others are are rated in 3.87-4.36 range.

      1 vote
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        yeah, the TV series is really good. The books are good too, but can be a little long. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in the ratings for this book, but so far that 3/5 seems a little low, but not...

        yeah, the TV series is really good. The books are good too, but can be a little long.

        I wouldn't put a lot of faith in the ratings for this book, but so far that 3/5 seems a little low, but not too low. This book seems to be dragging a little. It most likely won't be bad in the end, but the structure of it so far is kind of annoying. Its a lot of chat logs for one of the storylines.

        I really like the Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott characters.

        1 vote