Rightly widely criticised views

Alison Flood in the Guardian reviews Rowling’s new novel. (Oh does she have a new novel? I hadn’t heard.)

Before it had even come out, criticism of JK Rowling’s new Robert Galbraith thriller, Troubled Blood, was already wall-to-wall, after an early review in the Telegraph claimed that its “moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress”.

In other words people who hadn’t read it were already tearing it to shreds because of a highly dishonest remark in the Telegraph.

As the pair look into the disappearance – and this is a spoiler – one of the avenues they investigate is the possibility Margot was murdered by Dennis Creed, a now-imprisoned and notorious serial killer who once tricked some of his female victims into his van by wearing a wig and a woman’s coat to appear unthreatening. This has now been cited across the internet as further proof of Rowling’s transphobia, after her earlier essay, tweets and decision to return a human rights award after the organisation behind it denounced her views. Amazon has now suspended reviews of the book due to “unusual reviewing activity”, while the hashtag #RIPJKRowling trends on Twitter.

The Telegraph review chose to go big on Creed, describing him as “a transvestite serial killer”, and asking “what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues” would make of it. But Creed is just one of many suspects – and without giving too much away, he is not the main villain, nor is he portrayed as trans or even called a “transvestite” by Rowling.

Creed is described as a “genius of misdirection in his neat little white van, dressed in the pink coat he’d stolen from [his landlady] Vi Cooper, and sometimes wearing a wig that, from a distance, to a drunk victim, gave his hazy form a feminine appearance just long enough for his large hands to close over a gasping mouth”.

Perhaps some will still consider this depiction transphobic, given Rowling’s rightly widely criticised views on trans people.

Notice that nervous “rightly.” Nervous, placating, and wrong. Anyone would think Rowling wanted trans people punished or ostracized or otherwise harmed, but she doesn’t – basically she just wants them to stop doing that to women.

It is, at best, an utterly tone-deaf decision to include an evil man who cross-dresses after months of pain among trans people and their allies.

Pain shmain. It’s worked-up pain, manufactured pain, hyperbolic pain, deranged furious socially constructed and encouraged pseudo-pain.

And we should also be wary of how one review has been reproduced without question by countless newspapers and websites, by journalists who have shown no indication of having read the book themselves.

And by cowards who think they have to say Rowling was “rightly criticised” for not echoing every word of the Trans Catechism.

H/t Arnaud

12 Responses to “Rightly widely criticised views”