Shared Text: Hillary Clinton is Voldemort

American Democrats weaponized Harry Potter years ago. ‘Republicans for Voldemort’ bumper stickers, for example, were ubiquitous during the Obama years. It didn’t hurt that The Presence all but endorsed that meme:

The Chinese Communists, too, have enjoyed calling their enemies “the Dark Lord.” In 2014 it was Japan and in 2021 it was the United States. Leftists owned the field, it seemed, in energizing their base via Voldemort epithets.

Now, though, it seems the GOP is turning the tables on the Dumbledore’s Army division in the Democratic Party. For one thing, former Moaning Myrtle’s vocalist Nina Jankowicz has been forced to step down from her leadership position in the Biden Administration’s ‘Ministry of Truth.’ Now Hillary Clinton, of all people, has been branded with the Dark Lord sobriquet, ‘She Who Must Not Be Named.’

Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley predicted that Hillary Clinton will avoid “direct responsibility” for pushing claims of former President Trump’s collusion with Russia Friday on “Special Report.”

TURLEYHillary Clinton has always had a sort of Voldemort-like status of she who must not be named in a scandal. The Clintons have really been able to avoid direct responsibility in a series of scandals. And here was her campaign manager effectively dropping the dime on his former boss and saying, “Look, she approved it. She knew about it.” Now, the reason that’s important is that this claim was utterly ridiculous. It didn’t have a basis. It was quickly rejected by people in the government, and it was without any foundation when people looked at it. But the Clinton campaign pushed it anyway. This Alfa Bank story was pushed by Jake Sullivan, now the national security adviser, and by Clinton herself. But the thing to keep in mind is that President Obama was briefed when he was president, that Hillary Clinton was planning to make a Russian collusion claim against Donald Trump to try to sort of get out of her own email issues during the campaign. And we now have someone saying, “Yeah, she green-lighted the Alfa Bank claims,” which were completely without foundation. 

If you’re not up to speed on the story of how the Clinton campaign and the Dark Lady herself fed a story they knew to be false to the FBI and The New York Times in October 20126, you can read about it here and here. A short cut to the heart of it is on this Glenn Greenwald twitter thread:

This is a ‘Shared Text’ story, though, because, while I’m pretty sure that many of you picked up the ‘Ministry of Truth’ reference to Eric Blair’s 1984 above, I’m all but certain that every single listener to this Fox News broadcast segment ‘got’ what the talking head was saying when he called Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton “Voldemort-like” and “She Who Must Not Be Named.” Harry Potter, despite the transgender controversy and attempts to cancel J. K. Rowling, remains this generation’s (and the one or two before it?) Shared Text. Hat-tip to a friend in Texas for the FOX News story and link.

Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore Experiencing a Box Office Resurgence?

Elizabeth wrote me to say that she thinks Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore is showing signs of recovery evident in the chart above, that it might even be a sleeper hit now that it is at #5 in global box office. “Word is getting out about how good it is, and then we will have Streaming revenue sometime soon. There will be a whole group waiting just for that to happen.”

On the other hand, Nick Jeffery tells me “Dr Strange opened 3 weeks later and has twice the taking, but it’s still very difficult to work out if the film is making or losing money” and that twitter is aflame with this quotation from the CEO of Warner Brothers in a Wall Street Journal article:

I’m guessing we’ll have some information about the success or failure of Beasts 3 by the time Strike 5 is upon us. Not an “informed guess,” mind you, just a guess. Please share any data you have stumbled on relevant to the future of Beasts in the comment boxes below!

Surprised Grindelwald is Clairvoyant? That’s Not the Screenwriter’s Fault

Irvin Khaytman, author of Dumbledore: The Life and Lies of Hogwarts’s Renowned Headmaster and who writes at as ‘hpboy13,’ wrote a dyspeptic and dismissive review of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. ‘The Real Secret is No One Cares’ begins with something like an assertion that Grindelwald’s ability to grasp the future in this film was inserted in the third film to explain the disconnectiveness of its own plot points:

while Secrets of Dumbledore is a VAST improvement over its predecessor… it still isn’t any good. To those withholding judgment from Crimes of Grindelwald in the hope that the franchise would course-correct enough to redeem that film, I would be very curious if that hope is still alive after this installment. Because while this film is not as bleak and boring as the last one, it still is in no way coherent.

The creators are aware of this and engage in a bit of lampshading to wave it away. Apparently, Grindelwald has the Sight or some magical ability to see the future. The only way to combat that is to have a plan that is so chaotic and makes so little sense that he won’t be able to puzzle out what’s going on. Yeah, sure, and that has nothing to do with heading off criticism that the events of the film are chaotic and make no sense!

If like me you did not know what “lampshading” is, the article to which Khaytman links defines it this way:

Lampshade Hanging (or, more informally, “Lampshading”) is the writers’ trick of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the audience’s Willing Suspension of Disbelief, whether a very implausible plot development, or a particularly blatant use of a trope, by calling attention to it and simply moving on.

The sarcastic conclusion that Grindelwald’s “magical ability to see the future” has been inserted here  to head “off criticism that the events of the film are chaotic and make no sense” takes as its unstated premise that we have not been told that Grindelwald has this ability until Beasts 3. Which is true.

But that isn’t Rowling’s fault. We know that this information was in the shooting script for the first Fantastic Beasts film, that the scene revealing this capability was shot, and that it was cut from that movie before its release. Kelly Loomis discovered this in December 2016 and it was written up here in a post titled Fantastic Beasts’ Seventh Deleted Scene Grindelgraves’ Vision in MACUSA Office.

This seventh deleted scene in Fantastic Beasts was one Kelly found in an interview Colin Farrel, the actor who plays Percival Graves in the movie, did with ‘Inside Reel.’ He says: [Read more…]

Rowling’s Love for ‘The Moving Finger’

This recent tweet from The Presence was not a revelation but a repetition of something she said to Val McDermid in 2014. I read Moving Finger in 2018 and discussed its importance to Serious Strikers in a post about the several important parallels between it and Cormoran’s adventures. Just for starters, can you say “faked suicide that is really a murder”?

I reproduce that post after the jump but you’ll want to read the comments from Strike Fans and myself at the original page for the full-influence dosage. If you want more about Rowling and Christie, the author with whom Rowling has the most in common, be sure to check out the seventeen posts on that subject at the Rowling-Christie Pillar Post. Enjoy! [Read more…]

Brush as Wand: Portraiture in Harry Potter (A Pratibha Rai Guest Post)

Pratibha Rai is an Oxford University graduate and she has been a Harry Potter partisan and pundit since 2001. Her research today mostly concerns the sociology of collecting in early modern Europe. She enjoys finding parallels between Harry Potter and history of art. In late 2019 she shared with us what she discovered about that life-saving short-cut antidote, the Bezoar; the next year it was On the Naming Fear & Jinxing in Harry Potter. Those familiar with her work will be as excited as I am about her latest research below. Enjoy!

Brush as Wand: Portraiture in Harry Potter

At Hogwarts, it is an age-old tradition for eminent witches and wizards to sit for portraits in order to preserve their legacy after death. Their framed likenesses cover the walls of Hogwarts like ivy, chronicling the rich heritage of wizarding history such as the plethora of portraits we see surrounding the moving staircase (250 portraits altogether in the Philosophers’ Stone movie). The artist and architect Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) wrote in his treatise De pictura (1435) that a painting ought to be an open window through which the subject might be viewed. Muggle artists have perennially sought to achieve this by imbuing their scenes with optical effects and using oil paints to give portraits a sheen of real life but in Hogwarts, the subject can literally be viewed and even heard from their canvas as they act as agents in their own right to advance the narrative. In this article, I hope to unpack Rowling’s often overlooked fascination with portraiture in the Harry Potter series and how the books use the artistic conflict between truth and illusionism to dramatic effect. [Read more…]