Sunday, April 16, 2006

My favourite rich person

I decided I liked J K Rowling when I heard she named her first daughter after Jessica Mitford. I decided she was my favourite rich person, on the grounds that she got her millions without really exploiting anyone.

Her politics are a bit iffy, I'm sure she means well, but conservative readings of Harry Potter are ususally easier to support than radical ones. In particularly the whole House Elf Liberation Front thing bugs me.

I think I'm going to forgive her for the House Elf Liberation Front (we're supposed to like Hermione, just think she's annoying, which isn't an unusual stance to take towards someone who has newly found a cause). She just posted this to her website, under miscellaneous

His bemusement at this everyday feature of female existence reminded me how strange and sick the 'fat' insult is. I mean, is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I'm not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain...

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn't seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? 'You've lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!'

'Well,' I said, slightly nonplussed, 'the last time you saw me I'd just had a baby.'

What I felt like saying was, 'I've produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren't either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?' But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I'm just happy to think how many people who need to read that will find it on her website.


  1. I liked the 'fat rant' as well. It's interesting that you should have just discovered this, because it came out a few weeks ago and has been making serious trouble in the fandom. Lots of people think she's hypocritical to post a rant like this because Dudley is fat (at least until the fifth book) while Harry himself is underweight. There's been a lot of flamewars over the last couple of weeks.

    I thought the Hermione thing was something of a self-caricature, you know, the uninformed idealism of youth. But I guess we won't be able to say for sure until we find out what becomes of the House Elves in the final book.

  2. I'm excited about the books, but I've never spent any time in the on-line fandom.

    I agree with people who say that there's some hypocrisy going on, given the narrative in her books.

    But that's actually quite common in her books, mostly I think because she's writing within the confines of an English school story, and doesn't analyse that story, so she ends up telling the conservative narrative that that implies.

  3. she got her millions without really exploiting anyone.

    That's capitalism itself!

  4. I don't think it's good that people should be overweight, but I don't think an obssesion with being thing is any better.

    My friend just finished up a cooking class where they made pancakes and had to listen to some of her girls throwing up their breakfast afterwards.