Rowling Returns to Twitter with a Bang!

Twitter, of course, has exploded with the predictable backlash from the political left for whom transgender people are a protected class. For the background of who Maya is and this backlash, see this piece on Cosmopolitan that describes Rowling’s tweet as “supporting a transphobic author.” For that author’s explanation of the controversy, go here.

I am left scratching my head about this re-surfacing of The Presence at her twitter page. Why now after a year of prudential silence? Is it that she says she is all but finished with Strike5 and has time on her hands to deal with online firestorms?

And why on this subject of all possible subjects? Can you think of one less likely to win her a second ‘Ripple of Hope’ award?

The science is indisputable and the PC police backlash is as predictable given the prevalent blurring of sex and gender into synonyms (sex is a function of chromosomes not organs while gender is, at least according to the Zeitgeist, what you will). Other than standing with a woman who is being treated unfairly, what did Rowling hope to accomplish here outside of a martyrdom by doxxing? [Google ‘TERF’ for the trending story.]

Why has she chosen this issue for her re-appearance? She keeps a silence through the recent elections but decides to surface on an issue that is guaranteed to cast her as a fascist trans-phobe Tory bigot (etc.) in twitter dom?

Rowling has always said that courage is the virtue she admires most — and is showing no little of that quality here. Looking at losing all she has gained in keeping quiet for the better part of a year with respect to the high opinion of fandom, Rowling stands up for a woman being pilloried for her courage to speak the counter-metanarrative biological truth about sexual reality.

I have to admire her for that; she certainly didn’t count the cost or consult with Warner Brothers and her publishers before she wrote and sent this tweet. Or, if she did, she ignored their advice. Unless they wanted the headlines on the principle that all publicity is good publicity? Forgive me for doubting that.

In addition to the questions above, does this give Serious Strikers reason to re-visit interpretations of the Career of Evil meeting between Robin and Cormoran and the young people who want to have limbs amputated because they self-identify as amputees? Her implicit critique of the NHS in Lethal White? The theme of media irresponsibility and recklessness (and how people believe whatever The Daily Prophet and its Muggle equivalents reports)?

Let me know what you think of two issues: (a) why Rowling has re-appeared to speak on this issue today rather than Brexit, etc., in the past year, and (b) how does this reflect the more conservative messages implicit in the Potter series as well as the Strike books.

Please save your commentary on your disappointment (or elation?) that Rowling has outed herself as the new Margaret Thatcher for the tweet threads and fandom posts available elsewhere and everywhere for that discussion.



  1. Nick Jeffery says

    I’m afraid this tweet made me angry, and not just because I disagree with transgender exclusion. I knew immediately this would alienate and hurt many who love her. I miss her witty and erudite presence, and this explosion makes her regular return almost impossible.

    JK Rowling has faced a continual stream of negative comments on-line for more than a year, based on what has been pretty tangential evidence of gender critical (or TERF) views.

    If Ms Rowling could have sat down with her PR team and compose one tweet that would ensure an almost total avalanche of hate, without explicitly giving any openly objectionable statements, this would be that tweet. It is an act of destruction and it is quite deliberate.

    Professor Groves shared with me an explanation of Solve et Coagula: “‘Solve et coagula…. a medieval alchemy quote, which is to say that nothing new can be built if not before we make space, breaking the old.” We live in interesting times.

  2. I suspect that the woman’s unjust firing was the final straw for Ms. Rowling. Speaking the truth on almost anything today will whip up a troll-storm. I salute Ms. Rowling’s courage.

    Now how exactly is the amputation of healthy limbs different from the amputation of healthy sexual organs? If NHS personnel can be forced to to one, why not both? Why not show similar indulgence to “otherkin” or whatever the next trendy denial of reality may be. In my opinion, transgenderism is a monstrous delusion. Men and boys are males and have XY chromosomes. Women and girls are females and have XX chromosomes. Wishing doesn’t change those characteristics.

  3. Matthew Trent says

    A.) She chose to speak on this because she holds many Christian values, but also had a difficult time not speaking her mind. B.) I would say this is consistent with the strong Christian themes from HP. As a Christian, I have mixed feelings on the issue. While I agree only God defines gender, he also tasks us with two principal jobs here on Earth: love God and love each other. To love each other involves kindness, encouragement, helpfulness, having a caring heart and so on. I believe we can fundamentally disagree with the idea of transgender while still loving these folks as human beings because God made them too. I think using social media to sort out religious, political or any other personal views is a no win situation. I think she would have been far wiser to help this woman, privately, without broadcasting it on the internet. Leave her social media for business purposes, marketing, PR and so forth. Rowing supporting this woman does not make her “trans-phobic”. Disagreeing with something and having hate and or fear in one’s heart for that same thing are two extremely different situations.

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I hope with reference to both “issues”: I take it her intent was conscientious, and wonder how arguably ‘”trans-“philic’ or ‘”trans-“agapic’ (or ‘humane’) the first three and the fifth sentences of JKR’s tweet are – or again, how arguably insufficiently so? (I take it all were intended to be so.) And how do they sit with the main clause of the fourth sentence?

  5. Odd Sverre Hove says

    I agree with JK:
    1) One should no force anybody out of their job for stating anything – unless the job is defined as a job of carrying an ideological message. A church minister becoming an atheist cannot keep his job indefinitely. But any job being without an ideological obligation should be open to any labourer being able to do the job fairly, without ideological preconditions.
    2) We have to interpret her last sentence correctly. A few Norwegian newspapers translated her words like this: “… for stating that sex is sex”. But that is not what she wrote. The Norwegian language has no distinction between gender and sex, genus et sexus, and I tend to think that JK’s twitter language is also without that distinction. If so, her words «.. that sex is real» – thus seems to mean “.. that biological sex is real”.
    3) This is not opposed to Dumbledoore’s words in HP7, that what happens in Harry’s mind is indeed real. A sex (= gender) you feel – is also real, like all feelings. But you can’t use that feeling to deny “.. that sex (= biological sex) is real”. You shall have to find another solution to that contradiction.

  6. Curiouser and curiouser! Why would JKR break her almost year-long twitter ban to essentially drop a nuclear bomb? I think that she meant what she said, but I’m sure there were a million issues that she wanted to weigh in on in the past year but didn’t. Bravery is one explanation but self-sabotage seems like another. Is she trying to actually get cancelled to get out a contract? Is Fantastic Beasts that much of a mess? I’m with John that JRK should focus on Strike 5 before serious Strikers lose their minds with questions.

    It does make me wonder about some of the things in the Strike books. I’ve thought it interesting that she made her main character a pretty traditional person, even with Robin there to offer the more liberal take on things. I thought that it either was a testament to Rowlings writing style, that Strike needed to be a consistent character and making him not PC fits who he is. Or that Strike was some kind of foil for JKR’s beliefs. Although JKR had seemed to “gone off” the very far left in Lethal White.

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