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Here is a piece about a recent controversy concerning the author of Harry Potter.
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My Take On The JK Rowling Controversy - Op-Ed Piece
There is a controversy going on in the video game world that may or may not be a literature story. Now, I will tell you all that I am not that interested in the game, the controversy, the author involved; or basically anything about the story, but I haven’t written much on this site in a while since all my stories are out for possible publication in other magazines, so I will stick to writing this piece.
JK Rowling doesn’t like trans people, and they don’t want you to buy the new Harry Potter game because of it. Yeah, sure, whatever. I need something to share with the readers for this week’s newsletter. Beggars can’t be choosers. So next week, when I randomly pick a story to cover by throwing a few darts on my wall of random buzzwords, let’s all hope for Bill Murray and Gatorade to show up. Does that make any sense? Is there any story in those words? No, but there is also no story with JK Rowling and trans-people, yet here we are.
Before I put words down on the paper (or computer screen, if you want to get technical), due to the nature of the piece, I was pondering then whether I should even talk about it. First off, do I even care enough to write about it? Which I realize is a strange and unusual question to ask of a possible piece because you would figure that I like the stuff I write about. I am clearly breaking that rule here.
To give you an idea of my general disinterest in Harry Potter, there is a funny story in my household about the wizard that we bring up whenever we mention him. Me and two sisters, who were prime readers of the Harry Potter demographic when it was first released in the States, were given the first books for Christmas the year they came out by our aunt and uncle. Most adults would consider the first Harry Potter book to children in the year of its release to be a surefire hit for Christmas, but that was not the case. None of us liked it. We all read about a page of them and have never picked them up since. Every so often, when the family gets together, we all get a good laugh that the three of us didn’t like Harry Potter. I’m an editor, and my two sisters graduated college, so you can’t say we aren’t educated and casual readers, and just about every part of the Harry Potter target audience that we could be. But for some reason, those books never clicked with us. The biggest phenomenon in literature, one of the trademarks of readers worldwide and one of the most popular books ever written, had little impact on me as a reader or writer. Go figure.
If you want to hear another funny thing about that experience is that my looks would probably tell you that I am a big Harry Potter fan. I look like I would be sitting next to Harry in one of the classes, with my glasses and general nerd-inspired attire, so you would look at me and think, “Now, that is a guy who knows Harry Potter. He probably knows all about Lord of the Ring too.” Still, despite looking like I could be Harry’s brother, I had zero interest in reading the series. If my memory serves me correctly, after rejecting Potter, I learned of Star Wars and superheroes, and those fantasy stories were of more interest to my youthful brain than Harry’s. Do I know the books and the stories? Yeah, but even when deciding on what book to read next, I don’t consider Rowling’s novels an option. (This is coming from the guy who just ordered books from Walmart online because of a gift card I received. Because who doesn’t think of Walmart and then think of high-quality literature?)
If you want to read this piece and basically dismiss me as an unreliable source due to my non-involvement in the book series, then I won’t stop you, but I will ask why my rant on the game’s actions is any less credible than those of someone else. As Danny Ocean said in the movie, “Just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” Or at least, I think he said that. I haven’t seen Ocean’s Eleven in a while, or as the kids say today, in a minute.
I must admit that this is one of those times when I am jumping off the cliff, and I am going to say something crazy. I want to act as though I haven’t done this before, but any reader of this blog knows that is not the case. I confess that my theories on some things leave me in strange places sometimes. They are so out there that you may even accuse me of click-baiting you or flat-out lying to get more attention to this piece. Anyone who thinks that of me has not read enough of my stuff since there is a good portion of it that is fairly grounded. Like the last poem I worked on was about a guy walking around his neighborhood. Yeah, controversial stuff. But like a car accident, it is the negative that people remember, so I understand why the readers would remember the crazy theories I have about an author or a book as compared to a more level-headed one.
Ready? Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I think that the JK Rowling controversy regarding her opinion of trans people and how that is supposed to affect the new Harry Potter video game is fake. However, I have to clarify what I mean by fake; I don’t mean that the people involved don’t believe their perspectives; I mean that the people pushing the game created a fake news story for those that are involved to better the game’s sales.
Think about it for a second. Who is losing in this controversy? Because it seems to me that everyone wins… which is a bit strange. JK Rowling gets to stand by her beliefs, so she feels as if she is not lying to her audience. The trans people get to defend their interests, and the company behind the Harry Potter game has a reason for people to talk about it. It’s the perfect controversy since those that are outraged don’t have enough of an audience to hurt the game, only get people’s attention. In other words, there aren’t that many trans people, so picking them as a seemingly angry group is a great choice. Take a group of people who like something that make up most of the population, like those that like fantasy novels or the Super Bowl, and you will get a more cautious approach from the company and the author. Rowling didn’t come out and say that she is against those that read fantasy novels (or the Super Bowl) since that is too large of an audience, and knocking those people could potentially hurt the game’s sales.
The game wanted to have a news story that everyone in the video game media could talk about in order for there to be eyes on it, but not enough to completely ruin the game, and who better than the vocal group of the LGBTQ community? Let’s face it; no one is not playing that game because of Rowling’s views on trans people. It’s a video game, after all. It’s like the Harry Potter universe in that it is made up. This is a game about wizards and wands and magic full of young kids in dangerous, life-threatening situations, but we draw the line at the person’s sexual identity. Yeah sure. I mean, yeah, that fits into the theme of the post today, which is complete nonsense.
To be clear, I don’t really care who wins out in this situation, but how can the media say the
game is so bad, yet the game is also breaking records? Unless that controversy is no controversy at all and is more like a public strategy established by the video game company making the game.
I also want to point out that Rowling knows a thing or two about the controversy. She wrote a book under a completely different name, and then once the publisher found out it was her, they changed the book’s author, and Rowling had another bestseller on her hand, because instead of Rowling writing a non-Harry Potter book, the story was JK Rowling wrote a book under a different name, and no one knew until now. That is called marketing people. It is a game plan by those involved to try to control the public’s perception of the product upon its release.
Did I lose you yet? Probably, these type of posts is always black and white with the audience. Some love ’em, some hate ’em. I got a funny story for any of you that stayed with me during that opinion. Once, a reader wrote about my take on Harper Lee being stupid and that he would never read this site again. I said that Harper Lee didn’t write To Kill A Mocking Bird. I will look at the positive of this post and say that because that guy (from the Harper Lee article) isn’t reading this one, there is no way he can hate this take. See, I saved that guy all this time reading. You’re welcome. Oh, and I didn’t realize there were that many Harper Lee fanboys out there. This whole time I thought we all liked the book because it was shown to us in school and stuck with us, but apparently, there are some who will go to the ends for Atticus Fitch. I told someone else about that amusing story, and you know what they said, “Their rejection only means they are not the audience you are looking for.” That is coming from a guy who doesn’t read this site coincidentally.
I guess my audience is not that of a group of people devoted to my brand who will still buy the product despite a controversy. I may have missed that one.
We hope you enjoyed this piece about Harry Potter and JK Rowling.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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