Harry Potter Writer’s Next Book is a Left Wing Screed


What is it with left-wing British writers and filmmakers and their war on the village. For conservative authors like Agatha Christie, the village symbolized the perfect miniature England. For left-wingers it’s the source of all evils, of ignorance, reactionary politics and racism.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were shamelessly unoriginal and her post-Harry Potter books are determined to be third rate versions of the same kind of Harold Robbins meets Social Welfare politics that are already piled on every shelf in every bookstore from London to Sydney to New York.

Here are some tidbits of her next book, which you’ll be hearing about almost as incessantly as Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, over the next few months, from the notoriously controlling author’s profile in the New Yorker

“I think there is a through-line,” Rowling said. “Mortality, morality, the two things that I obsess about.” “The Casual Vacancy” is not a whodunnit but, rather, a rural comedy of manners

What kind of morality does J.K. Rowling obsess about? Here’s a hint.

Her nonfiction canon adds up to just a few thousand words, and includes a single book review—she praised the letters of Jessica Mitford, the British writer and left-wing activist, for whom Rowling’s older daughter is named

So yes it’s a shrill left-wing screed.

The story is driven by the long-standing frustration that some of Barry’s disagreeable and right-wing neighbors have about the town’s administrative connection to the Fields, an area of public housing and poverty on the edge of a larger, nearby town. Historically, children from the Fields have had the right to attend primary school in Pagford, a place of flower baskets and other middle-class comforts, and the town has also supported a drug-treatment clinic that serves the neighborhood. In the absence of Barry’s righteous influence, the anti-Fields faction sees an opportunity to rid Pagford of this burden.

This is a story of class warfare set amid semi-rural poverty, heroin addiction, and teen-age perplexity and sexuality

How dare they! Don’t they know that heroin treatment clinics are an ornament to any English town. I bet they hate Pakistani immigrants too.

She said, “In my head, the working title for a long time was ‘Responsible,’ because for me this is a book about responsibility. In the minor sense—how responsible we are for our own personal happiness, and where we find ourselves in life—but in the macro sense also, of course: how responsible we are for the poor, the disadvantaged, other people’s misery.

Speaking of responsibility, how much has the woman with 900 million dollars given away to charity for the poor and disadvantaged?

But Rowling also seems profoundly connected to her own teen-age self. (“What does that say about my arrested development, I wonder?” she asked.)

What it says about her politics is even more predictable. Leftist politics are fossilized immaturity.

She was suddenly among privately educated girls, in pearls and turned-up shirt collars. Paraphrasing Fitzgerald, she said that she reacted to Exeter “not with the rage of the revolutionary but the smoldering hatred of the peasant.”

Yes being in a posh boarding school is exactly like living as a peasant in a feudal society.

After graduating, in 1986, she worked for a while at Amnesty International

Useless non-profit work. Check.

Rowling’s empathy can feel like condescension. But there’s no doubt that she has an understanding of the extremes of British poverty, from sources that include her husband’s experience as a general practitioner in an Edinburgh drug-addiction clinic. (He now practices elsewhere.)

It can feel like condescension because it is. It’s the usual shameless poverty porn that the left devours with a spoon. And that requires a certain amount of fake working class credentials.

Rowling has mocked journalists who, in her view, overdramatize her period of hardship—“I laughed myself stupid,” she has said, after a reporter suggested she couldn’t afford to buy writing paper—but she has contributed to this confusion. In 2008, while in a New York courtroom to oppose the publication of an unauthorized Harry Potter encyclopedia, she testified that there had been times when she was “literally choosing between food and a typewriter ribbon.”

Meet J.K. Rowling, the British Elizabeth Warren.

in retrospect: she was a middle-class graduate, poised to start a teaching career, who claimed modest state benefits while she finished a novel, which she partly wrote in an upscale café owned by her sister’s husband. (Such state benefits—for housing and living costs—were then more easily accessible to young British graduates at the start of a professional career than they have ever been in the United States.) This is hard to classify as abject poverty

But… but she had to eat her typewriter ribbons to stay alive. Didn’t she?

And like all leftists, her sense of being oppressed has to be sustained even when she has a fortune bigger than the net worth of some nations.

her public posture is often that of someone wronged: she has described buying herself a big aquamarine ring as a “no one is grinding me down” gesture made in response to tabloid coverage, and has characterized moving from an apartment to a very large house as being “driven out” by the press

And yes her book is every bit as sophisticated and innovative as you would expect.

The book’s political philosophy is generous, even if its analysis of class antagonisms is perhaps no more elaborate than that of “Caddyshack.”

And no… no one edits her.

Rowling does not widely distribute her unpublished manuscripts, and her publishers seem to have processed them with little intervention.

  • aloyicious

    Here, let me wipe the surprised look off of my face.

    :0 —-> :|

    There, that's better…

  • wpnlee

    did you read the book?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      It's not out yet, so obviously not.

      • wpnlee

        OK, but perhaps you are defending the English village because you are English and/or have lived in a village over there?

  • Edward Clne

    Daniel asks: "What is it with left-wing British writers and filmmakers and their war on the village."
    One could just as well ask that of left-wing (or liberal) American writers and filmmakers and their war on just about everything. The answer is simple: Guilt. A guilt founded on the unearned fortune of living in a Western industrialized civilization that provides them with every comfort and convenience should they choose to pursue them. And the guilt is engendered by a tenacious and corrupting altruist code of morality. It is activated by endless stories of poverty-stricken countries and pictures of infants with flies feasting on their eyes and sores. To ameliorate their guilt they endorse government policies that rob the rich and middle class and struggling lower class and this ensures their passage to heaven. Then they can go on living the high life until another batch of sorrowful photographs and stories resurrects their guilt. That being said, I wonder if J.K. Rowling ever stops to think where all her fans who have enriched her got their money. Doubtful.

  • Mark Anderson

    At least she admits to being a fiction writer Daniel.

  • Advocatus

    Haha, excellent takedown. Sadly, I won't be reading the book. It doesn't sound like much of a page-turner.

  • DKP

    It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999, spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore

    It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew – and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world. ~J.K. Rowling, "Horcruxes," Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2005

    It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well. ~J.K. Rowling, "King's Cross," Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007, spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore

    With that being said, this new book does NOT appeal to me at all and makes me very sad.

  • Madge Hirsch

    I read your blog regularly and enjoy many of your articles and agree with nearly all you say about Islam. But I think that you have a tendency to mouth off about things you know little about. Have you ever lived in an English village? Do you really know anything about the suble intricacies of the English class system? Have you ever lived outside America? As an Englshwoman who has lived in towns, cities(Edinbugh and Birmingham-very very different) and a small village in the Lake District and now lives in a small village in rural France I find your criticisms of JK Rowling's book simplistic. Due to rampant house price inflation most ordinary English people whose ancestors may have lived in a given village for generations cannot afford to buy property where they grew up. Villages have become the preserve of the rich incomers who are often the worst sort of NIMBY. Many pretty villages in the north of England or Cornwall are ghost towns where most of the houses are second homes for the London wealthy.Here in France there is still a more varied social mix and we still have genuine peasants!

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Does it really appear to you from this piece that Rowling's book is about people not being able to buy homes in the village, or about there being no place for the blessed blight of the modern state and the vital drug treatment facility in the village?

  • http://twitter.com/RichardBrennan @RichardBrennan

    Why is working at Amnesty International, which stands up for the rights of people around the world in places such as Iran and North Korea, useless? I would have thought you would support people who defend the rights of the individual.

    • ChevalierdeJohnstone

      Obviously, Amnesty International performs a valuable and necessary social service, working tirelessly to promote freedom and human rights, which is why those places where they spend the most effort – Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, and the like – are bastions of human decency and liberty.

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    I'm a big fan of J.K. Rowling’s writing and her 'Harry Potter Series'! It's one of the most enjoyable piece for me and I'm sure people who love to read are fond of this series indeed. I agree with the say about Rowling’s writing style. Yes, this is very innovative as well as attractive. Thank you so much for writing about one of the most famous book.