JK Rowling, In Defence Of Greater England

JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series

Sometimes an individual should simply stick to doing what he or she does best. In the case of the British author J.K. Rowling her “best” is continuing her spectacularly successful career of writing fantasy books for children; and not becoming an online agent provocateur for Greater England: a veritable troll-baiting champion of its hegemony over the island of Britain. Since 2014 the English-born celebrity has played a social media game – whether intentional or accidental – of simultaneously claiming victimhood because of her publicly-expressed political beliefs while victimising those who publicly disagree with those beliefs. This has revealed an unpalatable aspect of her character that we could have well done without.

In many ways Rowling seems to have adopted the rhetorical sleight-of-hand employed by the Fox News fringe of the Republican Party in the United States. If you and your class/ethnicity/race are in the political, social and economic ascendancy, yet you find that supremacy being criticised by those upon which it is built, the best form of defence in the modern age is to illicit sympathy and support by assuming the air of an injured party. You are the victim, not the victimiser (or the defender of victimisation).

J.K Rowling’s repeated claims of “anti-English bigotry” in Scottish nationalist circles are the equivalent of Bill O’Reilly and his protests against the supposed “war on Christmas” being waged by “liberals” in the US. Her special pleading on behalf of the “English” in relation to Scotland echoes the reality-twisting arguments of such dubious luminaries as Anne Coulter and Pamela Geller in relation to the supposed undermining and targeting of “Whites” in the States. Such stuff is paranoia with political purpose, and simply serves to whip up a form of sub-militant sentiment amongst those susceptible to it.

While Fox News creates a cultural sea in which murderous fish like Dylann Roof, the Charleston church-shooter, can swim, Rowling places herself as an incongruous fellow-traveller with such unabashed English nationalists as the right-wing, celebrity-historian David Starkey. When the controversial academic issues his diatribes against Scotland, most recently with his description of the governing Scottish National Party as “Nazis, Rowling is notably absent from the ranks of those condemning his hate-speech. Yet the most innocuous of criticisms from youthful Scottish voters on Twitter can send her into paroxysms of outraged hysteria. How dare you question me, how very dare you?! Do you not know who I am? I wrote Harry Potter!

The problem with media-coddled celebrities, even those from a literary background (and it would be churlish to deny J.K. Rowling’s abilities as a talented – if Anglo-nostalgic – creator of imaginative fiction), is easy to summarise: the greater the success, the greater the ego. This creates a sense of self-entitlement, the need for one to be surrounded at all times by the supplicant and worshipful. Which is why the public meltdowns can be so epic when the fantasy of the internal monologue meets the reality of the external world. Not all of us think that every word spoken or typed by Rowling is dripping with Delphic wisdom. In fact many of us believe that when it comes to her views on the mastery of Greater England over the island of Britain she is blind to her own prejudices. She is the ultimate self-denying nationalist.

So rather than whining about the alleged – and invariably false – ferocity of the Scottish Cybernats and their criticisms of her frequently expressed opinions perhaps J. K. Rowling should confront her own inner Britnat? Maybe in doing so she might recognise something in others that reflects her own ideological – and patriotic – loyalties. Though in the case of Scottish nationalism such patriotism is about the freedom to choose one’s own destiny – not seeking to maintain control over the destinies of others.

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11 comments

  1. Great article, but I don’t think anything about Fox News can be called ‘fringe’. Unfortunately, they are the most popular news network in the USA. They are very much the agenda setting, and cheerleading heart, of mainstream, everyday American republicanism.

    1. “most popular news network in the USA” among the minority of the population that attends to TV news.

  2. What better way to co-opt the movers and shakers in society than making them members of the Order of the British Empire. They’ll spout any bit of nonsense you want once you pin that illustrious badge on them. Too many folks will do most anything for their 30 pieces of silver.

  3. But what does the SNP actually offer that’s different from England?

    They want to keep the pound despite the fact that Bank of England doesn’t want that.
    They want to keep the English language and doesn’t give a shit about Scottish Gaelic.
    They want to stay in the Common Travel Area (and not join Schengen).

    Looks like that they, just like Ireland, want to become a poor man’s England.

    1. The pound belongs to the Scots as much as it does to the English.

      They’ve spoken their own form of English – called Scots – for centuries. There is now more support for the Scottish Gaelic language than there has ever been.

      “Looks like that they, just like Ireland, want to become a poor man’s England.”
      Says the Eastern European(part of a set that come to these islands in their droves, only too willing to abandon their own country and culture, language and identity).

      1. Maybe I am not looking hard enough but I can’t find Scots or Scottish Gaelic language versions of this website:
        http://www.snp.org/

        Yeah – the pound belongs to all of the UK’s nations, but the Scots can’t demand a currency union if they decide to be independent.
        As an extreme measure the rest of the UK could even introduce a completely new currency – New British Pound or something if necessary and the Scots would not be able to do anything about it.

        Also the last paragraph is completely wrong – from my experience most Latvians don’t abandon their language and identity.

        It’s perfectly possible to speak more than one language – hundreds of millions of people already speak English as their second language and they haven’t dropped their native one – the Scots and the Irish are the weird ones who did that.

  4. Some would dispute that she didn’t even create the Harry Potter saga in its entirety. Rather she plundered ideas from some of her former colleagues. No wonder she defends and extols the virtues of those other plunderers.

  5. Whilst acknowledging that life changes for some people when their success ,future prosperity and accomplishments are closely tied to media  I usually emit an inward groan when they become publicly vocal  and/or supportive of an ethos or cause that ultimately benefits themselves  
    A healthy cynicism helps maintain perspective and when celebraties start promoting different charities etc, most peoples fisrt reaction is “That’s great ! Isn’t he / wonderful? ” Most times I  agree but also ask myself why did they choose to speak publicy on that particular issue . Many times a cause that is personal to  a celebrity or public figure benefits greatly from their support and promotion and usually involves giving of their time and effort. Now that’s wonderful! Donating money to a cause when youve got plenty anyway is not the same
    Harry Potter  books were really enjoyed by my kids .JK  Rowlings skill as a writer  probably nurtured the imagination of many children and  one of the features of Harry Potter  books was that young readers anywhere in the world coud transport themselves to wher the characters were.
    Then  the films came( in which  I think she had some input) it was much more of  ” Hello , This is England” and one could be forgiven for thinking that no other country existed on the planet. When the celebrities who acquired their status with the help of  the media   cry foul one asks would they and JK Rowling prefer maybe to remain in the scences of their own creations eg DIAGON ALLEY
    If Fox news is the most popular news channel in USA that is a bit scary. . That rhetorical style Fox News employ ,generally addresing the viewer with a sort of’idid you know that  so and so really does or doesn’t do? Usually appallingly and generating   the  desired    instant reactionary effect on the ignorant and ill informed .This  is a feature of many on line journals that  I really  find disturbing in tne fashion in which it exploits fears and concerns without entire facts being explored
    Alethephobia is a word JK ROWLING knows the meaning of but not in relation to herself !
    Have got to use that word soon in a response to some hysterical response in an online comments of certain News sources
    ” …are youz calling me names. ? “Dustin the “turkey vulture” from children’s tv

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