If she weighs the same as a duck...

Discussion in 'J K Rowling' started by Winters_Sorrow, Sep 30, 2009.

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    Winters_Sorrow

    Winters_Sorrow Unreg. Mutant Moderator Staff Member

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    I found this story amusing, both for the thought of JK Rowling receiving an award for "a meritorius contribution to cultural endeavours" from the President of the United States and the (alleged) reason for it's withdrawal.

    Still the idea of JK Rowling having the same recognition/award as Mother Teresa (though obviously a different category) is wonderfully surreal :)
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    Sparrow

    Sparrow Science fiction fantasy

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    That is indeed surreal... in a bad way.
    Mother Teresa, a modern day witch and religious fanatic, and needless to say having absolutely no relevance to the average person, is honored forthright.
    While a writer who is credited with getting millions of young people (and older folks alike) to read long form fiction again, is denied the honor for spreading "witchcraft"!!!


    The real Mother Teresa exposed for the evildoer she was by the fabulous Mr.Hitchens...
    http://www.slate.com/id/2090083/



    I live in a country run by a pack of hounds.
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    Clansman

    Clansman Lochaber Axeman, QC

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    Ummmm. What's Mother Theresa got to do with George W. Bush's decision to not honour JK Rowling? I mean, we all know that GWB was an idiot, a figurehead president whose strings were pulled by that Prince of Darkness Cheney, and the demonic Donald Rumsfeld. Sparrow, sounds like you have a topic for World Affairs, not for the JK Rowling sub-forum.

    Obviously, the honour was denied because they wanted to divert attention from themselves and their own satanic brotherhood in the White House.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    What nonsense. Sometimes i really have to think about whay century we live in.
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    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    She fed, clothed, and gave medicine to more people in her life than you did.

    What are you doing for the world, other than confusing religions?

    I find your accusations extremely distasteful on a personal level.

    Also, I wouldn't consider an article of supposition to be actual fact, no where does that author state where he got the information, and it doesn't seem as tho he interviewed anyone either.

    If JK Rowling gets any kind of reward, I'll cut off my pinky toe. She's an awful writer. Which is why our education system has failed our children, and miserably.

    And no offense to the Brits, but I take anything the BBC has to say about America with a grain of salt. "some politicians" interesting.
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    Clansman

    Clansman Lochaber Axeman, QC

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    Rowling's great accomplishment was not in coming up with a bright new original fantasy series. What she did is get kids by the millions to READ! She took some old stuff, shook it up, rearranged it, and took that little bit of something in all kids that feels lonely and set apart, and created Harry Potter.

    It is not the best fantasy series in the world, but it doesn't have to be. It is surely the most widely read, and it is fun. I have read 6 of the 7 books, and started Deathly Hallows a few days ago. I read it aloud to my kids (they love my Hagrid and Delores Umbridge voices, though I haven't figured out how to do Voldemort), books 1 up to the 4th chapter of DH. And I am a Christian. I see nothing encouraging children to call upon witchcraft or dark powers, and there are surprisingly few deux et machina in this series. What I do see is some young kids going through stuff that kids go through, standing up for what's right, making mistakes, paying for the mistakes, and being brave and (for the most part) honest. I also see the the teaching of a healthy distrust of government and of the press, especially in the last three books.

    As a Christian, I heartily recommend these books to other Christian parents as excellent for teaching great lessons to kids, but most of all, helping them to enjoy reading. It is the ones that don't read that are left to watch the super-sexualized MTV crap. If GWB had spent some time towards creating positive roll models for girls and boys instead of dumping on the likes of Rowling for "witchcraft", then he might have been a little more, ummm, Christian.

    Anyone notice that Harry uses relatively little magic to solve his problems? He usually survives by accident or dumb luck.
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    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    My kids think Harry Potter is a whiner baby. ;)

    We like Oliver Twist and Huckleberry Finn and Rand and Luke Skywalker and Frodo (who is also kind of a whiner, but Gandalf makes up for it).

    PS: Also, as a Christian, and considering many Christian forms of religions once had their books banned under penalty of death, as well as non-Christian works, I'm all for reading whatever is written, words are knowledge and insight, even if you don't agree with them.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
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    Clansman

    Clansman Lochaber Axeman, QC

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    Hey! Frodo was only whiny in the bloody movies. In the books, he was a much more, well, admirable character. Personally, I blame Elijah Wood's crunched-up eyebrows, and Jackson's decision to take all the humour out of Frodo's character by the third scene.

    Personally, I think Harry's entitled to a bit of whining. He did get the short end of the stick. Everybody he loves dies, except the Weasleys and Hermione (still need to get through DH, though).

    My kids also like Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield too. There are two kids who had it tough.
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    Urien

    Urien New Member

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    But what if she really IS a witch? The worldwide success of the books is extraordinary... I feel we should build a bridge out of her to find out.

    The world rains a monsoon of nonsense upon our heads... and as a species our brollies are at best, threadbare.



    My gosh, it's raining again.

    Frodo's eyes were so big you could have etched continents on them.
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    There is some question about what that actually means in her case. Children who were already reading before they discovered Harry Potter do continue to read other books and authors (as they would have done anyway), but there doesn't seem to be much solid evidence that the kids who never willingly picked up a book before go on to discover other authors. Mostly, it seems to be wishful thinking on the part of adults, who simply believe that once children find an author they love they will go on to find other authors to like. I remember reading an article all about how Rowling started kids reading, and interviewing some of her most fervid fans. But if you paid careful attention to what the kids were saying, the picture was somewhat different. When asked, "Are you reading more now?" the answer was usually along the lines of, "Oh yes, I've read all of the Harry Potter books nine times." So reading more doesn't necessarily mean reading a variety of books.

    Certainly, Rowling (unlike other children's book authors) doesn't seem to be exerting herself to get children interested in reading other books -- she's made no effort in any of her interviews that I've read. She talks about her own books, not about the joys of reading, or about other books and authors that her readers might enjoy. (I have met and appeared at public events with other children's and YA authors, and the difference is quite striking.) And of course she has, quite famously, dissed the Narnia books.

    So while I don't doubt that her books have convinced some children that reading is more fun that they thought, I think her impact is hugely over-estimated. And compared to what it could be, if she cared to make the effort, it's very, very small.

    The lessons I most often hear touted are about fortitude in the face of troubles, and loyalty to one's friends. Since you read to your own kids, no doubt you are aware that these are pretty common messages in children's books, so those same lessons could be learned elsewhere. I think of more importance is the harm done by her portrayal of Harry's treatment by the Dursleys and (at least in the first few books -- I lost interest in the middle of book number four) the lack of effort and general ineffectuality of the more benevolent adults in his life to remedy the situation. I think this is a horrifying message to send to abused children, "Don't bother telling your teachers or your friends' parents, because they can't or won't do anything."

    So although I am loathe to approve of any decision made by George W. Bush or his advisers (and accusations about the books teaching children about black magic or predisposing them toward witchcraft -- which would bore them silly if they knew any practicing wicca -- are absolutely absurd), I see nothing wrong with denying Rowling another award.



    As for Mother Teresa, as DG said, she fed, clothed, and provided medicine to the poor. She devoted her life to doing good works. I am far more inclined to believe that the people she lived among knew more about what she accomplished than a snotty, snide commentator like Christopher Hitchens -- and having listened to him speak on TV a number of times about a number of subjects, nothing he says or writes has much credibility for me.

    So I, too, find the remarks about Mother Teresa grossly unfair. If she ardently believed in Catholic doctrine, is this any great revelation? Of course she did. She was a deeply committed Catholic nun. It took Christopher Hitchens to point this out? People are entitled to their beliefs, and they are entitled to express them. It is what one does with those beliefs. She didn't pay her faith lip service, she lived it, and she didn't engage in any holy inquisitions, she simply said what she truly believed. I don't agree with many of those statements myself -- I disagree with most of them quite strongly -- but I wouldn't condemn her for saying them. That would be intolerant.
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    I think the Mother Teresa comparison is a misnomer. The question should be instead: Is she as good as John Steinbeck and Harper Lee? I think not, but if she was really not given the award because of a claim that her books spread witchcraft, then the US administration really does need to take a long hard look at itself.
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Well, I can't say that no child who reads Rowling's books will ever pick up an idea that it might be interesting to try some witchcraft. (Kids do sometimes like to imitate the things they read in books.) I just think that as soon as they found out that none of it's as interesting as the lessons the kids study at Hogwarts they'd be massively disappointed and decide to join a soccer team instead.
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    Culhwch

    Culhwch Not actually a dinosaur. Staff Member

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    Whereupon they discover that soccer is likewise devoid of excitement, and take up skateboarding, smoking and loitering outside shopping complexes...

    I think we're fated to forever continue this same debate regarding the quality, merit, and impact of Rowling's work. It seems to flare up here every now and again. In the end the books are what they are, and what they are is worlds apart depending on who you are.

    What I don't get is why a British author writing decidedly British novels about a Bristish wizard attending a British school of witchcraft and wizardry would even be considered for an award that acknowledges 'contributions to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours'. I mean, Harper Lee and John Steinbeck made undeniable contributions to the American cultural landscape. Rowling? Not so much.
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    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath was banned in many high schools, libraries, and even towns.

    Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird...also a banned book.

    (Psst...before anyone gets all uppity about the USA banning books, wiki your country's book banning history in the 20th century).

    Again, as earlier stated, I take everything the bbc says about the USA with a grain of salt, and I certainly wouldn't hold sway to a quote from a person quoting nobody in particular...literally saying some members...not cabinet, not politicians, hell it could have been an intern for all we know.
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    PTeppic

    PTeppic Reetou Diplomatic Corp

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    Regarding, for example, the latest movie adaptation (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), it draws '“a clear line of demarcation between good and evil, making clear that good is right, and that in some cases this involves hard work and sacrifices”. ' And that's the opinion of no less a body than the Vatican... Not so immoral after all: Vatican gives the latest Harry Potter absolution. But as for The Da Vinci Code . . . -Times Online Also, 'the film promoted the values of friendship, altruism, and loyalty but made clear that “the search for immortality epitomised by Lord Voldemort” was wrong.'
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    Culhwch

    Culhwch Not actually a dinosaur. Staff Member

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    Wait, Voldemort's the bad guy? Boy, did I miss the point of these books. A bit subtle, wasn't it?
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    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    I fail to see what the quote has to do with it being the BBC, Dusty: it's covered by other news sites, and seems to be a direct quote from Matt Latimer's new book - and are you suggesting that he's lying when he says that some members of GWB's administration believed her books promoted sorcery?

    A former speech writer for President George W Bush not telling the truth? Amazing!
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    TheEndIsNigh

    TheEndIsNigh ...Prepare Thyself

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    I take it that none of these 'Rowling deniers' have actually read the bible then.

    That section at the end on revelations - it's a doozy
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Are you arguing that only banned books have any merit or make 'contributions to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours'. ;) I expect that given the lists, that is often truer than one might think.

    Undoubtedly, her books do deal with children at a school for witchcraft, but so do many other books. They were only singled out for book-burning bonfires because of their popularity, not because of any literary criticism. I would just have expected the awarding body to rise above this.

    Dusty - I'm also interested at why you think the BBC is biased against the US. I'd like to think they are fairly balanced. Large parts of the world rely on it as the only unbiased news they get. I think they were balanced in the reporting of your political parties in your recent election, much more so than they appear to be in their reporting and questioning of own own UK political parties. And given the recent US reporting about the evil NHS much more balanced than some news organisations inside the US itself.
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    Sparrow

    Sparrow Science fiction fantasy

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    If you don't take kindly to my comments about Mother Teresa, you really won't like my opinion on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. They are both frauds, from halo to toes, frauds. As for the poor, most, not all, but surely most, deserve to be poor. It seems they've decided before birth that it is God and old superstitions they'll put faith in. I don't believe in needless suffering, and where we can alleviate some of it than we should. So long as there's some profit in it.

    I think this free form haiku poetry says it all...

    Darwin's engine failing
    God whispers, "improvise"
    Adapt or die



    What exactly in this paragraph from Hitchens' essay do you not agree with?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009

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