Once again, as I described way back in the Merlin essay, the thing to do if you want progress is not to try to change the world, that makes you bad or stupid, but rather to wait for a fundamentally good status quo to eventually provide. And there you have it. Corbyn - for all his many real faults - is someone who wants to change the world in some way. He wants to do more than be the personification of a benevolent status quo, the way Tony Blair was a million or so dead brown people aside. This is the heart of the problem that people Blair who has been going around telling people to vote against his own party, but who routinely still gets fawned over by the supposedly left-leaning media , and the Guardian and the Indy and the NS , and the Labour Right and most of the Labour PLP, have with Corbyn.
Does that make her an inherently terrible person? But it does mean that she has a totally different perspective on the world to almost all of the rest of the human species, a perspective based on totally opposed and conflicting interests. Rowling has spoken out to defend the welfare state… and this is an instructive thing to look at.
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In so doing, she has often used her own story. But her story is a fluke series of events in which a single mother on benefits won the publishing contract lottery, published some above-average kids books, and then some below-average fantasy books notionally in the same series, sold the rights to Warner Bros.
She is not typical.
She is not a meaningful illustration of why we need social benefits and the welfare state. The end-result of providing people with the welfare state and benefits seems to be, ideally, that they will go on to become productive members of capitalist society, either as billionaire entrepreneurs or, at least, as happy wage earners and taxpayers. It is, as is often the case, unfair to single Rowling out. These are hardly unusual assumptions on the liberal-left reformist side of things. And the illustration reveals her fundamental reliance on the ideology of the capitalist status quo.
Here, for instance, it is the myth of meritocracy. But then, as Weber pointed out, there are points of convergence between Calvinist doctrine and the ideology of capitalism though he got the sequence wrong if you ask me. And there is literally nothing she hates more than weakness and failure. Seriously, read those fucking books. They detest weakness and weak people. There is nothing in those books but contempt for anyone who is weak, who fails.
The definition of the contemptible. This has, as I say, become a classic self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, Corbynism was always a gamble on a long game. Not by slavishly praising him no matter what he did, but simply by giving the poor fucker a chance, by not systematically misrepresenting and undermining him.
That is, of course, precisely the sort of observation almost entirely missing from the Potter books. And they make sure to perceive him that way because they are filled with even more fear and loathing by the idea that he - and the latent socialist idea he represents - might actually be, or might one day become, strong. But hey, what do I know? The irony is that my Potter posts are getting longer and longer and longer.
Daniel, you're up.
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I was going to kill off Jane I picked her at random but I'm not sure female main characters really matter enough to kill. I wrote a bit about the whole 'mugwump' thing but I cut it for reasons of space ha! My Patreon backers will get exclusive access to it. Hint hint. At least insofar as the "so long as Azkaban stands, there can be no justice in the Wizarding World" thing goes. HPMOR is better on Azkaban, but I can't agree that it has better politics on the whole — if anything, HPMOR doubles down on the original's contempt for weakness and turns it into a shitty Nietzschean wish-fulfillment fantasy not even the good parts of Nietzsche.
And that's without even going into the sexual assault stuff which is truly nightmarish. What sexual assault stuff would that be? It's been a while since I read the story. But yeah, the contempt for weakness is very jarring. I think it says a lot about HPMOR that the two characters who get sidelined the most and treated like useless imbecilles are Ron and Hagrid.
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Y'know, 'cause well-meaning good people are irrelevant if they're stupider than you? I think she gives them a redemptive reading by the end given the whole "Albus Severus Potter" thing. The problem with the whole "Snape was actually good" thing is that Snape was consistently awful all the time throughout all the books.
It might potentially be another example of the cultural Calvinism Jack mentions briefly in the article: Snape's goodness doesn't have to do with his actions which mostly consist of being horrible to Harry all the time but with the fact that he's redeemed by his love of Lily and all the horribleness of his actions can't counterbalance that. There's a bit where Dumbledore even muses that Snape might've been sorted into the wrong house because, at least by Dumbledore's assessment, he's not a total shit.
Which, by the way, raises the inherent psychological abusiveness of 'sorting' There are only four kinds of personality in the world - protagonist,??? As a kid, I used to be cross with Dumbledore for allowing the racist children to go to Hogwarts at all, where they could spend their time bullying people like Hermione.
Why even have Slytherin? The whole of Hogwarts is set up such that the racist aristocrat contingent is a tolerated and necessary part of life. A redemptive reading saying Snape was good enough to be a Gryffindor, and that's why Albus Severus shouldn't feel bad if he ends up in Slytherin.
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The only way to be good in the schema of those books is to be "brave". Naming his kid after Snape doesn't even prove that Harry's less of a self-centred little shit, given his characterisation in the play. Sorry for the lack of clarity. It's my description of what I imagine she thinks. I'm not saying she expresses that exact sentiment in her works, rather that it seems to be implied by some of the ways she's defended the welfare state.
Rowling behaves as though she were a longtime fan of Harry Potter.
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As if she came from a future or a universe where the books existed, written by a better, more natural authoress, and was hurled into our universe or our time, and in order to make money she wrote the stories out from memory. As the years went by, she was able to remember less of the original great books from her world and the quality stagnated.
But she's always that hardcore fan - the one who best understands her obsession. That sounds like a synopsis for the only Harry Potter fanfic I'd consider reading all the way to the end. So the reaction to a systemic flaw of the educational set up like Voldamort is to keep the house system at Hogwarts. How in any shape or form can the winners be construed as the 'good guys'? Keeping all the children with sociopathic tendencies grouped together is not the best idea, but then again a change would relate to the use of intelligence and a stand against entrenched power, as opposed to providing opportunities for conventional bravery further down the line may be wouldn't fit with J.
As an aside hope that The Last Jedi does actually stick to it's apparent guns from the trailer and have Luke refusing to continue the slavery apologist Jedi Order as obviously not fit for purpose. I think you hit on something probably quite fundamental to the series when you described the "contempt of weakness" in Rowling's writing. Viewed in the light of her joblessness and family situation, it's hard to escape the idea that the Potter books were written in large part as an escapist power fantasy.
When I was a kid, the absolute oddest thing about Harry to me was that he turned out to be rich - and in fact VERY rich - due to his inheritance. At best in the middle, and that's if you want to tell a tale of wealth as a corrupting influence. So why at the beginning? For instance, he and Engels foresaw how globalisation would work. I find it hard to read the first few pages of The Communist Manifesto without thinking that I live in the world he and Engels described.
It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. Facebook, not to mention Amazon and Google, have made humans into exploitable assets. Which is some kind of genius. Just as in some religions an object invested with supernatural powers becomes a fetish for those who worship it, so commodities under capitalism are accorded magical powers. When an iPhone is sold, it is exchanged for another commodity generally money.
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