In the past 36 hours, thanks to the Twitter hashtag RIPJKRowling, a few hundred thousand people have expressed their opinion about whether or not J K Rowling is, or should, die.
J K Rowling isn’t actually dead, of course, but the people who popularised the hashtag are already firmly of the belief that material reality is subordinate to their fantasies, so pointing out her continued vitality may well count as a hate-crime.
If you have a pre-2015 brain, which simply has J K Rowling filed as the author of a very successful series of novels about a boy wizard, then you may wonder why thousands of people, the majority of whom have presumably never met her, now wish her dead.
Those paying a little more attention to current affairs will know, or guess, that it’s down to her position on trans rights, although the detail is so widely and wildly misreported, misrepresented or misunderstood that it may be a little hard to understand exactly what she’s done wrong, other than fall into the catch-all sin of being “transphobic”.
Understanding how this happens requires understanding the business model of the trans rights activists, which on the surface looks like this (because the same people who constantly talk about things being non-binary or spectra also have a remarkably binary view of the world).
The first problem comes if you try to find out exactly what trans rights you’re supporting, because that whole field is locked in what we’ll call A Great Loyalty Oath Crusade spiral.
In Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Captain Black starts the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade by having bomber crews sign loyalty oaths before getting essential equipment and briefings. He bullies other officers into following suit, claiming that if they were really loyal they wouldn’t mind getting their men to sign loyalty oaths, and loyal men wouldn’t mind signing them.
When other officers take his advice he ups his own campaign, to continually demonstrate he is the most loyal. Combat crews end up signing oath after oath, reciting the pledge of allegiance, singing The Star-Spangled Banner, and anything else that Captain Black can think of to make them prove they are loyal.
Without realising how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all of the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to.Joseph Heller, Catch-22
The trans rights movement, which one must believe was originally about making life a little better for a tiny number of people, has become a global talking point. It attracts the support of national press and presidential candidates, billion dollar businesses and A-list celebrities, each competing against the others to prove they are most loyal.
If you demand expression of religious faith from politicians you are just begging to be lied to. They won’t all lie you, but a lot of them will, and it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell.Arnold Vinick, The West Wing
The cycle repeats over and over, making what would have been fringe views only a couple of years ago mainstays of the rights that are being demanded.
The phrase “They don’t believe that transwomen are real women” is now uttered with the same horror and disbelief that was previously reserved for discussing those who didn’t believe the Earth was round or who thought that dinosaur bones were a trick of Satan’s, to fool people into believing in evolution.
As recently as 4 or 5 years ago it was quite acceptable to say that, while transwomen may be women, they were not female. Such a view is now heretical, although many of those who support trans rights haven’t kept up, and don’t realise that it is now biologically impossible to tell a transwoman from a woman.
This constant revision of what is being demanded means that our diagram from above is not a static model.
You’ll note there’s no route back from being a transphobe. Once you’ve been labelled you can never apologise enough, never be compliant enough, never escape the screenshots of past transgressions or the blocklists. This is a feature, not a bug. If you don’t sign the fifth loyalty oath, or sing all 4 verses of The Star-Spangled Banner, and then are reaffirmed as loyal, it gives permission to all others to waver.
There is one final addition to make to the diagram before you close.
That’s there because the biggest lie behind this whole thing is that it’s a women’s issue.
With very few exceptions, men who choose to speak out against trans rights activists are simply ignored by the activists themselves. Author James Felton demanded to know why the media had sought a man’s opinion on this issue, rather than a transwoman’s (pointing out that’s just asking a different man is enough to get you escorted out of Twitter). A tweet of mine was seen by quarter of a million people and my negative feedback, in full, was, “Oh do shut up you fool, you aren’t half as clever as you think you are.”
But, as the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade carries us ever further from what’s rational and reasonable and we find ourselves in a society increasingly willing to sign every oath, recite every pledge and sing every verse, we must all take a stand.
In Catch-22 the crusade comes to an immediate stop when the fierce and untouchable Major _______ de Coverley refuses to take part and, with two sentence fragments, brings the whole edifice of nonsense crashing down.
And fear of just that is, of course, why those invested think J K Rowling must die.