I am going to willingly step into their click-bait advertising trap to ask some questions of their selective virtue signalling. You see, Jane Arthur and Catherine Robertson want you to know that they simply will not stock the books of arguably the world’s best selling author. They “have queer and non-binary friends and family members” and to stock a single book by J.K. Rowling would make people like them feel “unwelcome or unsafe”.
Oh bravo! The lives they will have saved! The safety they have promoted! They truly are heroines of the 21st century.
They also want you to know that they are Intersectional Feminists™. In case you aren’t aware, far from Kimberlie Crenshaw’s original conception of intersectionality (race, class, and sex), nowadays to be an Intersectional Feminist™ means to centre males in the movement. It is to say not only can males become women upon a declaration alone, but it is feminism’s job to validate, placate, pander, and worship them when they do.
J.K. Rowling has earned herself a spot in the bad books of Good Books due to her recent statements on transgenderism and women’s rights. Her statements are available online on her website or her Twitter account, but sadly this seems not to have helped those who are invested in misrepresenting her words and punishing her for WrongThink™. Those who have not read her statements, which are entirely reasonable and very compassionate, describe her writing as if it included diatribes against transgender people and this is simply not true. Take this excerpt for example:
“I want to be very clear here: I know transition will be a solution for some gender dysphoric people, although I’m also aware through extensive research that studies have consistently shown that between 60–90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria. Again and again I’ve been told to ‘just meet some trans people.’ I have: in addition to a few younger people, who were all adorable, I happen to know a self-described transsexual woman who’s older than I am and wonderful. Although she’s open about her past as a gay man, I’ve always found it hard to think of her as anything other than a woman, and I believe (and certainly hope) she’s completely happy to have transitioned. Being older, though, she went through a long and rigorous process of evaluation, psychotherapy and staged transformation. The current explosion of trans activism is urging a removal of almost all the robust systems through which candidates for sex reassignment were once required to pass. A man who intends to have no surgery and take no hormones may now secure himself a Gender Recognition Certificate and be a woman in the sight of the law. Many people aren’t aware of this.”
Or this one:
“I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Trans people need and deserve protection. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.
So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman — and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones — then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”
But, as the saying goes, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. By condemning J.K. Rowling, literally refusing to print her name thereby figuratively making her she who shall not be named in a meta level feat of irony, Good Books were sending a deliberate virtue signal up in lights.
Look at us! We are Good People™. We are in the know. Our views are Right On™. We will cast out the lepers too! WrongThinkers™ don’t belong here!
Except that isn’t exactly true, is it? Just like most woke virtue signallers, the owners of Good Books are utterly blind to their own shortcomings; to their own bigotry. For while they are happy to throw tomatoes at J.K. Rowling in the stocks, they stock an impressive list of books by ‘problematic’ men.
I’m going to list some of these men, however, I would like to preface this by saying that I do not want any of their books withdrawn or burnt. I’m a proponent of freedom of speech and the right for all to read what they wish. I see no issue with bookstores stocking Mein Kampf (as another Rowling hater does). If anyone wants to read the shitty prose and horrific ideas of Adolf Hitler they should be able to — the more people exposed to that depravity, the better we should be at combatting it.
The problematisation of the Dalai Lama is sufficiently well known that one would expect that if the owners of Good Books were incensed with half-baked rubbish online about Rowling, they would be apoplectic about him. The Dalai Lama has spoken openly about knowing about sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers for decades while doing nothing about it. His inaction on widespread sexual assaults is further compounded by some dodgy comments about women and muslims.
“I already did know these things, [it’s] nothing new,” the Dalai Lama said in response to a question on Dutch public television NOS late on Saturday.
“Twenty-five years ago… someone mentioned about a problem of sexual allegations” at a conference for western Buddhist teachers…
Along a similar vein, Good Books seem fine with stocking the writing of another religious leader who has shielded sexual predators from facing the consequences of their actions. He has shamed victims of sexual abuse and authorised the spending of extraordinary amounts of money to keep rapists out of prison. There is a lot more I could get into on this subject as well as that of corruption in the Vatican, but I think we all get the picture.
“Pope Francis has accused victims of Chile’s most notorious paedophile of slander, in an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic church its credibility in the country.”
I like Stephen Fry, but will highlight his shortcomings for the purpose of this exercise. Fry is, of course, an ex-con having spent time in prison in his youth for stealing a credit card, but that is not what has earned him the label of problematic. One Guardian headline reads: ‘Stephen Fry criticised for telling ‘self-pitying’ abuse victims to grow up’. Another Guardian article discusses the outrage after Fry’s remarks that ‘women don’t like sex’. He also insulted an award winner at the BAFTAs calling her a “bag lady” on stage. And while not illegal, his relationship with a much, much younger man has also been called problematic. However, the Good Books team may not even be aware of Fry’s biggest transgression as it is relatively recent news. In a move of audacious bigotry he is the voice of J.K. Rowling’s latest audiobook The Ickabog. Guilt by association!
I am a huge fan of Douglas Murray. Another gay English intellectual, Murray has not shied away from writing on topics that could get him cancelled. In fact, his latest book The Madness of Crowds has created quite a stir as is apparent in this review in the Guardian. I thoroughly enjoyed the book although I definitely disagreed with parts of it — that’s the beauty of books. It explores the madness in the culture wars and woke culture with a focus on identity politics. Most complainants ignored the sections on race, homosexuality, and women, in order to be aghast about his assessment of trans activism. This I would suspect would earn him a block from the owners of Good Books. If they see fictitious allegations about Rowling as “unsafe”, they should probably stay away from Murray’s writing. He has also committed the horrendous sins of being a conservative while gay and appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
In addition to these problematic men, Good Books also stocks titles by David Mitchell (sin of blackface), Jerry Seinfield (sin of jokes not ageing well), Noam Chomsky (sin of signing letter supporting Rowling and free speech), and James Smith who is described as the Gordon Ramsey of the fitness world and committed the sin of comparing eating carbohydrates to prostitution. Ryan Holliday and Bill Bryson seem also to have faced the online mob, but their crimes weren’t exactly clear.
Oh and just to get a little political, not only does Good Books stock the books of Donald Trump’s ex-National Security Advisor John Bolton, but also that of the warmonger-in-chief himself, Barack Obama. I’m winding you up about Obama. I am just as taken in by his charms as you, but he did do a lot of drone strikes.
However, nothing made me laugh harder than seeing that the Good People™ at Good Books have 8 copies of Burning the Books in stock. The world is just too much sometimes.
Anyway, like I say, please don’t try and cancel any of these books. Read them, critique them, love them or hate them, but don’t cancel them.
This piece hasn’t really been about Good Books, they have simply highlighted the ridiculousness of the virtue signal and cancel culture. Of course, the owners of the store can stock whatever books they want. They can refuse to stock J.K. Rowling. But when they write a piece in Spinoff to advertise their political purity via their hatred of the most iconic female author of all time, while happily stocking any Tom, Dick, of Harry, I have questions.
I want to know if forgiveness is only for the male? Or is it that men are allowed to have their work separated from their personal opinions? Why is Rowling metaphorically burnt at the stake for the uncharitable misinterpretations of what she has said while men are held to the lowest of standards? How can a pair of women who have made a concerted effort to perform their Intersectional Feminism™ not see their own internalised misogyny?
All I want from this, from anyone who has read this far, is for people to just stop cancelling. You can dislike people and books without needing to publicly declare it. People do not need to be publicly punished for every statement you disagree with. Stop burning the books. Stop calling out every little thing. Stop performing virtue and purity and go out and behave like a decent human being.
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