You may have noticed that the hashtag #RIPJKRowling was trending yesterday. No, Rowling didn’t die but a lot of people were kinda-sorta wishing she would. What prompted this outpouring of hate? A site called PinkNews published a piece about her new book. Here’s the claim they made:
JK Rowling's latest book is about a murderous cis man who dresses as a woman to kill his victims https://t.co/LfryjntLzk
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) September 14, 2020
That set a lot of people off:
JK Rowling has basically become Dolores Umbridge, so obsessed with her deeply prejudiced perspective that she’ll go to any length to remain convinced of her own righteousness, no matter what harm it causes. https://t.co/6RpVHxvjoW
— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) September 14, 2020
PinkNews didn’t claim to have seen the book. They picked up the claim about the serial killer in the new novel from a review published by the Telegraph:
The meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer. One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress.
So ultimately it was that line about never trusting a man in a dress as the “meat of the book” which set off an entire day of hate, some of which was cataloged by fake wokester Titania McGrath:
I still cannot believe JK Rowling has written a novel which implies that trans people can be villains.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 15, 2020
But it turns out this was all nonsense. Today, Nick Cohen wrote a piece for the Spectator about the hashtag and the people using it to attack Rowling. He knew the claims being made by PinkNews and the Telegraph were false because he had just finished reading a preview copy of Rowling’s new book:
Troubled Blood is a 900-page novel that is Dickensian in its scope and gallery of characters. Strike and his business partner Robin Ellacott are hired by a middle-aged woman to investigate the disappearance of her mother in the 1970s. Detectives at the time thought Creed had killed her, but no one knew the truth and the woman’s body had never been found. Strike and Ellacott investigate Creed, but then they investigate a good dozen others. You have to search hard to find a justification for the belief that the book’s moral ‘seems’ to be ‘never trust a man in a dress’. But then relentless searches for the tiniest evidence of guilt are the marks of heresy hunters…
Creed mentions the advantage of lipstick and a wig in making women think he’s ‘a harmless old queer’ when Strike interviews him, and that’s about that. A novelist uses a passing detail to explain how a murderer got close to one of his victims – for presumably the victim who gave the police a ‘proper description’ did not see him in a woman’s coat and wig. A critic, unintentionally or not, whips up a rage, and thousands allow themselves to be whipped. Pavlov’s dogs showed more critical independence.
Cohen refuses to spoil the end of the book but he says it has nothing to do with the idea “never trust a man in a dress.” So this entire hate-fest was whipped up over a minor detail that occurs on page 75 of a 900 page book. The people looking for a fresh reason to abuse Rowling don’t care about the truth. They needed an excuse and Pink News and the Telegraph provided it. It’s just a continuation of the ugly treatment Rowling has been getting from the #LoveWins crowd for months.
More of the death threats, threats of violence, & sexual harassment sent to JK Rowling by trans rights activists.
The media refuses to acknowledge this. Instead they write "JK Rowling's Words Are Violence."
It's a manipulation tactic by the media to silence critical opinions. pic.twitter.com/wsy63T5kPn
— Dataracer (@Dataracer117) September 1, 2020