Monday, December 21, 2015

Hermione Granger and the Social Justice Warriors

I tried to be nice and respectful when discussing this with people over the internet.  There was a very small few I was able to do that because they were also nice and respectful.  Then, there were those who can't accept someone has a different opinion.

The topic is the actress cast to play Hermione in Rowling's great new London play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is black.  Rowling has "enthusiastically" accepted the decision.

I am a canon purist.  That means Hermione should have been more bushier in the movies with buck teeth until she gets Madam Pomfrey to fix them.  Ron should have been tall with a big nose, big hands, and big feet.  His twin brothers should have been shorter.

I know that in casting things don't always work out the way you want them to.  They say they didn't know James and Oliver Phelps would grow to be taller than Rupert Grint.  It kind of looked like they might be from the first movie, but I'm no expert so I'll give them that.  The Hermione thing, the Harry's hair not being messy enough, Ron's nose and all that, it's because they want Hollywood beauty to attract more viewers.  Beautiful trio and all that.

A canon purist is also someone who believes everything in canon is true and doesn't leave things out.  If the author says something then it is canon UNLESS it contradicts what is in the printed work.

I don't owe anyone an explanation as to why I feel the way I do.  I don't have to defend myself saying that I like such and such or have such and such.  It doesn't matter.  I don't have to prove myself to anyone.  I could just shut up and let the liberal Social Justice Warriors think they're superior to everyone else and we're just a bunch of racist hicks.

Whatever I say they're going to think that anyway.

With my degree in English I have read and studied literary criticism.  Literary criticsm isn't reading book reviews to see what critics say.  It's about how you interpret literature.  It shapes how I interpret stories.

The Social Justice Warriors climb on their high horse and praise this day as a great time to be alive.  Little black girls can now dream of being Hermione.  Everything is right with the world.  We're all equal.  Long live social justice.  Praise.  Praise. Praise.

Even Rowling has jumped on the bandwagon.  I'm pretty sure she probably regrets not actually describing Hermione as a black person.  Heck, she's probably jealous she didn't come up with the idea herself.  Rowling is a Social Justice Warrior and she's not quiet about it.

If this isn't about race and it is about interpretation, as some people have told me, then those little black girls have always had the ability to dream to be Hermione.  They didn't need a black actress to give them that possibility.  They are in fact making the statement that we can't dream about something until we actually see it happen.  No dreaming about becoming president for girls.  Don't dream the impossible.  It hasn't happened so you cannot have that dream.

Some have jumped up and shouted that Hermione was black in the books because in Prisoner of Azkaban she was described as having black skin.  No.  She was described as coming back from vacation with a tan.  They scream that as evidence for race but throw out the part where Hermione is described as having a white face.  No, that's referring to her being scared.  That's evidence against them so it gets thrown out.

When I heard about the actress, actually the entire trio, cast I thought it was weird, but didn't really care.  Then I read the tweets and the Facebook comments.  These Social Justice Warriors could not be more demeaning and rude.  Their claim is they are inclusive and allow anyone to have their own interpretation.

Only if you agree with them.

Only if your interpretation is the same as theirs.

Let's go back to how I interpret things, literary criticism.  It also harkens back to something I've come across about being a better writer.  If it's not mentioned we should believe it's not there.  Ron is never mentioned as owning a dog name Scruffy so we should not think he has one in the story.

Some characters' race is mentioned in the story either through the color of their skin or the name they are given.  We are to believe Cho Chang is Asian because of her name.  Dean Thomas and Lee Jordan are both described as dark skinned boys.  JK Rowling is not one to shy away from telling it like it is so if she intended to make Hermione anything but white she would have told us on the page in some form or fashion.  Because she did not tell us, because she did not say Hermione was this or that, because Hermione lives in England, because the majority of the characters are white, because JK Rowling is white, it is not a stretch to believe Hermione is white.  It would be a stretch to imagine her as anything else.  If Hermione had been dark skinned in the books why was she not described as such when Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, and the Gryffindor Quidditch player Angelina Johnson, were?  Rowling wasn't afraid to describe them that way.

JK Rowling is not afraid of letting her Social Justice Warrior-ism shine through.  She made Dumbledore gay.  People argue he is and was not mentioned in the books.  You can read the story and see how it can be interpretated that way, his relationship with Grindelwald and all that.  It doesn't change things when we're told Dumbledore is gay.  They don't hire different actors.  He doesn't become a different person.  He was always gay.  We just didn't know that.

I don't like retconning.  I saw a tweet earlier that called this retconning.  I've never been a fan of retconning.  It's trying to fit a square character in a round hole.    Characters have minds of their own.  They don't always go where we want them to. In Degrassi, they retcon birthdays all the time to keep actors there longer (the character was supposed to graduate in 2012 but now she's young enough she can graduate in 2014).  It bugs me because it changes the history we've been shown.  It feels like it makes things useless.  The character we know today may not be the character we know tomorrow.  Don't get too attached.  What I say now isn't going to be relative later.  It also reeks of lazy writing.  We've written ourselves into a corner with this character and the only way to get out is to change something from the past.

I believe Hermione Granger was intended to be white.  Had she been anything else there would be some marker letting us know, be it through name or color of skin or anything.  Why?  Because this was done for other characters.

I have no problem with any of the three main characters being black or Asian or Mexican or Colombian or Canadian or Swedish or Lithuanian or Egyptian or biracial or anything, if they were that way from the beginning.  I do think JK Rowling has a major issue with them being anything but purebred Brits.  I got that feeling from how she attacked that the cast be only British.  "No damn Americans!" (my paraphrase).  I do like sticking to the source.  Since they're British get British actors and not Americans (or any other non UK country) with British accents.

According to Social Justice Warriors, not allowing Hermione to be anything but what she has been from the beginning, which is white, is racist.  We're not being inclusive.  We're interpreting wrong.  We're just wrong period.

This has nothing to do with what color is being discussed.  Had they decided to cast a white guy as Dean Thomas I wouldn't like it either.  It's not right.  It's not true to the source.  He was described as being dark skinned so he is dark skinned.  Maybe they decide to make him Hispanic (how can he be Hispanic if his last name's Thomas?  The same way you can be white and have the last name Garcia).  That's dark skin.  I'll take it.  But, white?  No.  That's not dark skin.

By the way, some Hispanics are white.  My college roommate and her dad were perfect examples of this.

Most of the time since I've been introduced to JK Rowling as the author of Harry Potter she has rubbed me the wrong way with her social justice ways.  She has these thinly veiled attacks at conservatives and Christians (she was raised Christian but has had problems with the church, she says) and people who do not think exactly like her.  And these Social Justice Warriors now pop up defending this move because it's the right thing politically.  To make the world a better place Hermione has to be black.  It's the right thing to do.

Someone came up with the idea to make Hermione black in this play.  With the way the world is splitting apart right now it feels like a big social justice move.  It wasn't done because this person truly interpreted and always saw Hermione as black.  It was done because it would be controversial.  Someone wants to get some big credit for making Hermione a different race. Maybe I'm wrong.  The world we live in today that idea cannot be dismissed, unfortunately.

After discussing this today on the internet the problem I have is not with Hermione's race or whether it is in the books or not. It is with the Social Justice Warriors who act like this is some victory in some fight they've been having (with whom? I don't know).  It  is with the Social Justice Warriors who cry inclusiveness but do not practice what they preach.  It is with the Social Justice Warriors who simply cannot live if someone has a different opinion.  JK Rowling jumps on the bandwagon because she is a Social Justice Warrior.  It'll make her look good.  It'll make her look "inclusive."

If you are going to claim you're inclusive you might want to learn the actual definition of the word.  Actions speak louder than words.

I'm tired of being told I'm wrong simply because I have a different opinion. I'm tired of having to defend myself because I don't think like a liberal, because I am traditional, because I am conservative.  I'm tired of not feeling accepted or included because I'm not them.  They scream being inclusive and then exclude me.  Hypocrites?  You be the judge.

The same person who told me any interpretation of Hermione is allowed also told me since there was no actual mention of her being white my interpretation is wrong. Hypocrite? You be the judge.

It pisses me off to be inclusive means excluding those you do not agree with.  That's not a very Christian thing to say.  I know.  I'm sorry.  But, it makes me angry that the so-called inclusive people exclude me.

What the heck, I'm sorry I was born white.

P.S. I've already had a bad reaction to the play when I heard it was going to be in two parts.  You can watch the two parts in the same day or not.  That, to me, sounds odd, and a way to get more money out of us,  not that I'll be seeing the play live since I do not live in or near England.  This is just more stuff to throw at us.  Let's make Hermione a completely different race than she was in the books.  I know with plays they can go on and multiple people will be cast, some of a different skin color than the one before, like how maybe one day they'll cast a black person as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (that actually might be weird because she's not blonde, okay, bad example).  This just has Social Justice Warrior stamped on the front page and every other page inside.

P.P.S. Some people find it sacrilege to disagree with Rowling.  Well, too darn bad.

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