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Wizard problem…. September 29, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I’m no fan of Harry Potter, though I found the Fantastic Beasts film a bit less irritating, but this tweet in a new storm of controversy over the casting in the latest Fantastic Beasts film is surely wrong in one respect:

Another objected to the way race was dealt with in the Harry Potter series. “You can’t be admitted to Hogwarts unless you’re English and we don’t know if there’s any wizarding schools in Asia, home of 4.4 billion people … [and] a homicidal white man traps an Asian woman inside a snake form and brainwashes her.”

Isn’t there an Irish character in the Harry Potter films in attendance at Hogwarts?

As to the broader point – I’m far from immune to all arguments about appropriation or cultural sensitivity, some seem valid, others seem not, but an author can’t write for everyone everywhere and her being English writing about the English school, or at least one in England or liked to England, doesn’t seem to be the worst transgression in these respects.

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1. Phil - September 29, 2018

There’s an Irish character called Seamus Finnigan [sic], just as there’s an Asian character called Parvati Patil [sic] and a Chinese character called Cho Chang. (The last is the worst of all – it isn’t even a valid Chinese name. Perhaps Rowling was thinking of Jiang Qing (formerly romanised as Chiang Ch’ing), but that was a nom de guerre – her birth name was Li Jinhai.) The time to rag on Rowling about cultural sensitivity and inclusiveness was *long* ago!

But yes, complaining about there not being any wizarding schools outside Europe is a bit disproportionate, I think – we didn’t know there were any wizarding schools outside Britain until book 4.

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2. EWI - September 29, 2018

There are two Irish characters, who provide comedic effect. I’m informed that the extended universe (Pottermore) created by Rowling – a confirmed British unionist – has an Anglocentric fake history for Ireland in the seventeenth century.

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Cian - September 30, 2018

Yes – Ireland is (at least at a wizarding level) run by the same government as the UK. Rowling doesn’t seem to have realised why Irish people might be annoyed at this

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EWI - September 30, 2018

My understanding is that her fake Irish history posits a central character of the early seventeenth century who has to emigrate because of Irish Catholic religious intolerance… nothing untoward, or missing from an account of those decades in Ireland, at all.

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Starkadder - September 30, 2018

I wonder does Rowling also have a Belgian settler wizard living in the Congo Free State who has to leave in 1901 because of native intolerance.

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3. Paul Culloty - September 29, 2018

Rowling is of course Scottish, but supported the unionist campaign during Indyref 1.

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WorldbyStorm - September 29, 2018

She did indeed, not a position I’d take, but according to her wiki she’s from Gloucestershire originally though there’s a Scottish side to her family and she moved there to be close to her sister.

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EWI - September 30, 2018

She is of course actually English. The size of English migrant populations in Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man is an under-reported (wonder why) phenomenon when it comes to results of referenda etc.

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Barnes - September 30, 2018

Each of those communities have helped to make those countries vibrant.

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4. Dermot O Connor - September 29, 2018

The POMO kids also got in a lather about Rowling’s cliched fictional version of American Indian magic, which was straight out of Hollywood (the Indians were all about using ‘natural forces’ etc).

Never occurred to the POMO/Tumblr-babies that her version of western magic was no less ludicrous; it’s not as though she researched the Golden Dawn, A.E. Waite, Eliphas Levi, Dion Fortune, Thelema, etc., she just pulled a lot of funny and entertaining gibberish out of her imagination.

Y’know, the same way she gets her political beliefs.

The Tumblr kids who get in a lather about this sort of thing (down with) are always finding ‘problematic’ texts. This ignores the fact that for those of a puritanical bent, EVERY text is ‘problematic’. They should flip the process. Instead of telling us why the latest book or film is ‘problematic’, just tell us old fogeys which ones are NOT ‘problematic’.

The list will approach zero very quickly.

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Barnes - September 29, 2018

Of course the other side is if an author writes about a group of people other than the community they have been lumped into then that’s regarded as fake and speaking outside your lived experience.

The fun part is if she met the current demands then someone else would be along to hit her with a charge of speaking for others. Inauthentic voice etc.

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Starkadder - September 29, 2018

“The Tumblr kids who get in a lather about this sort of thing (down with) are always finding ‘problematic’ texts. This ignores the fact that for those of a puritanical bent, EVERY text is ‘problematic’. They should flip the process. Instead of telling us why the latest book or film is ‘problematic’, just tell us old fogeys which ones are NOT ‘problematic’.”

I’ve often speculated the people who spend most time online complaining about “problematic” works of fiction are the same people who would never campaign, strike or protest in the real world.

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Dermot O Connor - September 29, 2018

Starkadder: exactly. When I was involved in anti-war stuff in the 00s, the pro-war chickenhawks who sent email hate were the ‘101st fighting keyboard brigade’. No danger of any of them joining the Marines.

I’m damned if I can see any difference in the behaviour; hide behind a keyboard and act as though words and signs (flags, statues, tv shows) are more real than material reality.

This generation has it coming; when America’s ‘Suez moment’ hits, it’s going to be interesting. Hope I’m here to see it.

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Dermot O Connor - September 29, 2018

Barnes, yes! This is an article specifically about these Batesonian double-binds; in this piece the term “intersectional left” really refers to identitarian liberals (who are as far from the material left as one could hope). In the double-bind, they don’t just place their victims in a no-win situation, they place them in an “all actions will result in punishment” one.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/14/set-theory-of-the-left/

I first noticed the connection between the double bind and the intersectional left while reading an article by Frank Bruni in the New York Times. Bruni quotes Mark Lilla, author of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, in reference to identity politics: “You must understand my experience and you can’t understand my experience. They argue both, so people shrug their shoulders and walk away, he said.” This is the basic structure of a double bind.

Young ‘adult’ fiction shows the unfortunate outlines of the future, as the young generation of identitarians show every sign of being even worse than the current one. YA writers who write characters outside of their group are racists (because They Cannot Understand). Those who don’t are racists (because they don’t write about POCs).

http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html

“You must understand my experience and you can’t understand my experience” – INDEED.

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WorldbyStorm - September 29, 2018

There is something unlovely about the diktat that one can only write about what one ‘knows’ but if one does that then one is ‘limited’. It is a case of a no-win situation, or actually a no progress situation.

And it’s worrying because I really really dislike the idea of ‘essentialism’ – far too close to racism/sexism/etc for my liking.

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Barnes - September 29, 2018

Well, what is being termed the intersectional left above could also be called a moralistic left. They are watching to see who is sinning and lo they’ll rail against them when they do. There is enough of a cohort out there that just lines up for the scrap that there is always going to be enough to keep the fuel burning.

They are identifiable by the following 2 features:
1) if you question them in any way it’s proof you actually oppose the good cause they are supporting,

2) they are comfortable with inconsistency across either time or on similar issues where it’s just convenient to ignore something. It’s not that thr right doesn’t do the same. It’s just they seem to have been eclipsed by this vocal cohort.

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5. Barnes - September 29, 2018

I wonder if she followed all the advice she gets to make the books this and that would anyone have ended up reading them.

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WorldbyStorm - September 29, 2018

It’s interesting too, because I’m dubious about appropriation. The Led Zeppelin/Spirit – Stairway to heaven yoke has popped up again but to me that’s not a huge problem, nor is the use of blues standards as the basis for songs on LZ 1 and 2, what is a problem is that they didn’t credit those who wrote the standards, or at least the versions they copped them from on those records initially. That’s very real appropriation and it’s nothing to do with ‘culture’ and it was wrong.

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Barnes - September 29, 2018

The thing about appropriation is it’s Western centric and also it’s incredibly stupid at times. Yoga is a big one and what about the girl who wore a Chinese dress. Some American muppet on Twitter weighted in about appropriation only to have people from China/Taiwan tell him get a Life.

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dermot - September 29, 2018

Appropriation seems to be a middle class / bourgeois fixation. A recent exhibit in the US was shut down because it invited westerners to wear kimonos (noo apporpriations).

It emerged that the exhibit was sponsored by the Japanese govt, they wanted to promote their culture in the west.

Oops. I guess middle class americans are the ones who determine what the Japanese can and cannot do. Nothing imperialistic about that.

My working class american GF spent almost 10 years in Asia (Korea and Japan). Has asian clothing (given to her by Korean hosts). She has photos of herself in Korean garb (which she was required to wear by the Koreans for an event). She’s scared to post these, as she’ll be accused of racism by these insufferable ‘liberal’ western bell-ends.

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Fergal - September 29, 2018

Hmm.. cultural appropriation.. I’d hate to think of ‘Irish’ culture in only one way.. and one way only.. sounds like a recipe for life in a blind alley.. cultures just like people mix and have always done so…long may it continue…
The Ayatollahs of cultural appropriation must hate it when cultures and people mix..
No wizardry schools in Asia.. thank your lucky stars
A kid told me about a debate he was organising.. they wanted speakers from different cultures.. noble idea.. when I told him that if the black gay man is a millionaire he’s my enemy.. he said I was old fashioned!! Lol as he might say himself

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dermot - September 29, 2018

Fergal: very true. The kids have told themselves a story (appropriation) and treated it as though it was a law, and not just one (very temporal) way of looking at a complex process.

The great historian Arnold Toynbee knew light years more than modern academics and the confused students they are currently bewildering.

Toynbee’s ‘radiation’ metaphor is a metaphor (but he KNOWS it is). Anyway, do a word-search for ‘radiation’ throughout this text and you’ll get the gist. A much more dialectic process than the appropriation narrative.

I’ve read Edward Said, btw. To paraphrase Princess Bride: “I do not think his book means what the kids think it means”.

Anyway, Arnold:

https://archive.org/stream/ARNOLDTOYNBEEASTUDYOFHISTORYABRIDGEMENTOFVOLUMESIV1947/ARNOLD%20TOYNBEE%20A%20STUDY%20OF%20HISTORY%20ABRIDGEMENT%20OF%20VOLUMES%20I-V%201947_djvu.txt

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2018

To me that’s key, the more there is mixing the better it is for the species.

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6. Starkadder - September 29, 2018

“Young ‘adult’ fiction shows the unfortunate outlines of the future, as the young generation of identitarians show every sign of being even worse than the current one. YA writers who write characters outside of their group are racists (because They Cannot Understand). Those who don’t are racists (because they don’t write about POCs)”

Yes, how dare white authors Andre Norton and Ursula Le Guin create YA novels with non-white heroes, which were enthusiastically embraced by black and Asian readers at the time!

(Note the film/TV adaptions of “Beast Master” and “A Wizard of Earthsea switched the heroes’ race to white, to both authors’ disgust).

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dermot - September 29, 2018

Note also the race realism at work. The current ‘liberals’ are race-realist to a degree that would shame a klansman.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2018

Andre Norton is a bit of a hero of mine. Her work was amazing. Le Guin as well but Norton I think has more heart.

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7. Barnes - September 30, 2018

Fergal,

That means you haven’t faced up to your ‘privilege’ and you are certainly not an ‘ally’.
I’d ask you to rethink that but the protocol requires that we go full tilt on you – Herr Fergal.

Does privilege exist? Sure, in many forms. That’s where conflict exists with these kids. They view things in silos. Class can’t trump the fact you are the same as a Nazi camp guard.

The other concept is ally. This is a follow-up. You are an ally to community x. They don’t need to be an ally to you because, well, your a privileged son of a bitch white male dog.

Where do you fit Socialism in there? I think what happened is a lot of people who knew socialism saw these new trends and thought its right and so let’s build together but it all spun out of control because people who no more give a shit about class issues got on the bandwagon and quick smart class fell down the issues and hard. Now, Socialism is about celebrating identity. Jim Carrey is an ally Fergal is not stuff.

The left helped nurture a monster thinking it was a force for good but now it’s running amok and fighting to re-form Socialism into some classless god knows what.

Now onwards and let us challenge everyone as either privileged whites, Uncle Tom’s, Terfs, Misogynistic, white supremacists*, silencing trans voices and simultaneously assuming to speak for trans people**

*Strangely this is as often reserved for non whites and it’s in that usage I highlighted it.

** The episode in which a big name like jlaw was to bring to the screen a story about a trans person but it got cancelled because she was pilloried for denying big name trans actors the role to play their own community. Now, the movie is cancelled and no star or big studio will touch a project like that again. This whole farrago was of course a victory in the eyes of the Twitter mob.

Ive seen ppl criticized for saying Clinton was neo liberal coz…she was a woman. Again taking the idea that there is only one dimension to her to an extreme or else perhaps using it in a pick and mix fashion so as to allow one to give out. Perhaps giving out is the real aim.

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Fergal - September 30, 2018

Barnes… this is you at your Swiftian best I take it?
If name calling is where indentity politics is where it’s at.. you’re more than welcome to it.

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Barnes - September 30, 2018

Fergal, I agree with your post. I do think name calling is where identity politics is at and I think it’s a dead end .
I don’t think you are Herr Fergal. I was suggesting that’s the tactic an identity politics kid would take in response to your criticism.

I fully agree with you

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Fergal - September 30, 2018

Ok.. wasn’t sure.. cheers!!

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Barnes - September 30, 2018

It’s the case that even an extreme parody is no longer distinguishable from the real thing.

Look at this:

https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/friends-netflix-sexist-racist-transphobic-problematic-millenials-watch-a8154626.html%3famp

Apparently millennials are offended by Friends.

The scary things about them is they believe being “hurt” by an episode of friends and spewing about it puts them in the sane league as real revolutionaries who fought and died, or who spent a lifetime toiling for working class people.
the current approach is “how do you tell im a fearless and committed revolutionary? Because i identify as such” .

It doesn’t fly.

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Barnes - September 30, 2018

But hey dont mind me I have PTSD from watching it in the 90s.

It was literally like living in Hitler’s Germany.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2018

The good thing is that most people won’t pay a blind bit of notice to that sort of stuff and watch it or not as they see fit. There’s stuff about Friends – mostly the casts astronomic salaries in the last couple of seasons – that irritates me, one or two things I think were pretty good such as having an episode or so on how groups of friends having good to low wages impacts on them, but it’s a very watchable show and consistently funny.

Though one thing I feel is that many of those making the criticisms are more a weird sort of liberal than leftist.

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8. Starkadder - September 30, 2018

“The episode in which a big name like jlaw was to bring to the screen a story about a trans person but it got cancelled because she was pilloried for denying big name trans actors the role to play their own community. Now, the movie is cancelled and no star or big studio will touch a project like that again. This whole farrago was of course a victory in the eyes of the Twitter mob.”

Yes, that was Scarlett Johansson, who abandoned the planned
film “Rub and Tug” after the call-out culture objected to her
playing Dante Gill, who is regarded as a trans person (even though
there are some reports that Gill was a “butch” lesbian, not a trans
person). So the film will probably never get made.

https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/561449-why-attack-scarlett-johansson-the-real-problem-is-media-rewriting-butch-lesbian-history-again

Actually, I spoke to a trans person I know on a forum about this,
and she said she didn’t mind if a Cis person played a trans person,
as longer as it didn’t push actual trans people out of work. She said
“If there are three trans characters in the movie, and the Big Cis
Hollywood star plays one trans character and trans characters play the other two, I don’t mind”.

An even sillier example of identity politics extremism: Peter Dinklage
was accused of “whitewashing” because he is going to play the late
actor Hervé Villechaize. Becuase Villechaize’s Wikipedia entry falsely stated he was half-Asian, Dinklage was accused of donning “Yellowface”, when he’s actually playing someone of the same
ethnicity as himself:

https://ew.com/tv/2018/08/29/peter-dinklage-herve-villechaize-hbo/

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Barnes - September 30, 2018

The identity politics twits (kids isnt right. Kids are nice and grow up) aren’t worried about whether dinklage had “lived experience” or whether the affect of booting j law was to end any chance of a high profile movie about trans people.

If you point out to them that dinklage was the same race they don’t care. They still have you on the fact you don’t like asian people, or dint believe Japanese people were detained or whatever. Its the same with the jlaw issue. They’ll pin yiu down for hating trans people or thinking trans people don’t exist.

That this would be a gross misrepresentation of your position is irrelevant. The mindset they have is they know you are wrong they are just waiting to see when you reveal it. They’ll argue a macro issue and ignore the specifics. If they are wrong in the specifics they will nail you with a generalisation..

Its like the kavanagh situation. There is a photo circulating with women behind him who are all horrified. The tweets are all this is ehat eomen think of kavanagah. Woukd it surprise anyone who could pause and think for one second that those women were actually family and friends of his. Now you can believe he did it and still admit you made a mistake about that photo but that doesnt seem to be the case. They all ignore and move on to the next thing. Its like talking with eels

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9. Barnes - October 1, 2018

Just onw final comment on the identity politics lot .

I saw a tweet which said “white irish people don’t get to say what is or isn’t racist. Sit down, shut up and listen”.

This is a classic identity politics play. It takes an issue we all support and turns it into a eay for the Tweeter to wild it against others. It may shock you to learn the Tweeter was as white as any irish person ever was. What confluence of events allowed them to be elevated into a position of telling others to shut up and listen. A very fortunate set of circumstances at least for them. Funny, how the encouragement to sh up doesn’t apply to them. Some how they are elevated and perhaps if you pray to her you might receive a benediction.
Thats characteristic number 1 : they say try to be more bit like me and then the world will be better place.

Thr second characteristic is the absence of logic. Irish people have often determined what was racist. They have often decided they won’t be silent. The bnp fpund that out. Well, that was apparently wrong. Next time you are about to call someone racist you need to sit down, shut up. A recipe for success if ever there was. That’s characteristic two and three: willing to write something because it sounds snappy but reserves the right to then say that’s actually not what’s meant; and a willingness to say something that breaks down almost immediately upon even a quick pass.

Finally,the trump card. Such people rely on widespread support for the cause to allow them to hijack it and to remain elevated and unquestioned. If you oppose racism then why would you ask ‘ who empowered you to go round telling people to shut up?” And if you do ask that question I’d bet you the counter punch would be oh typical, you don’t want to listen you are the very type of person who needs to shut up.
The Tweeter as a result remains in glory and better still becomes a symbol of the cause they have just hijacked and are retweeted by people who support the cause.

Perhaps a way can be found to support the cause and ask such grand standing look at me types to go away but be warned they’ll probably accuse you if attacking the cause rather than laughing at them – for they embody the cause in its highest form.

In an increasingly apolitical Ireland id say don’t sit down, don’t shut up, do listen.

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