What a week for JK, Jimmy, and being a German

Were Rowling not very rich, a woman, and a left winger I doubt she would have attracted such opprobium.

Share

Goodness me. I leave you in charge for a week, and look what happens! Before I disappeared, JK Rowling was regarded as a national treasure, Jimmy Savile was resting in peace, and most of the nation had never shown the slightest interest in golf.

The case of Joanne Rowling and the Deathly Prose (according to critics, her new work of adult fiction, The Casual Vacancy, is "dull", "bleak" and "clichéd") is a curious one. A little over a month ago, there she was, centre stage, at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, taking her place as the modern symbol of English literature's most distinguished lineage, stretching all the way back to Shakespeare. If we knew then what we know now, would Ms Rowling have been there at all?

She has been so comprehensively done over by literary critics and, in particular, by the right-wing press that her presence at such an inclusive, national event would now be considered controversial. How can this be? Rowling, who wears her political leanings proudly (she is a Labour supporter), has clearly been cruising for a bruising, a victim of the ancient British pastime of reputation-trashing.

She's been party to some industry-standard publicity stunts in an effort to sell more books! How could she! She's shone a light on some of the prejudices of Middle England! How dare she! She's included scenes of sexual depravity and social dysfunction! This just isn't on! I have not read her book yet. I am fully prepared to believe that it's a tedious, one-dimensional piece of work, but what strikes me as interesting is the political aspect to much of the coverage.

Were she not very rich, a woman and a seditious left-winger (three strikes and you're out, I'm afraid, Ms Rowling), I doubt that she would have attracted such opprobrium. And the idea that, as the most successful children's author of all-time, she has somehow betrayed those who have spent their pocket money on making her a zillionaire by writing a book with uncompromisingly adult themes is manifestly bonkers.

As for Jimmy Savile, there's a political dimension here, too. Opponents of the BBC (for whom Savile worked, and who seem to have protected him) are using the unmasking of this alleged sex offender as an example of the Corporation's moral decay.

They are quite right to do so, too, but we have heard precious little about Savile's closeness to the Royal Family, who appeared to think he was a marvellous human being.

I shall return to the golf at some stage (I can sense the breathless anticipation already), but I would like to add a little footnote to my colleague Dominic Lawson's piece in this newspaper the other day. Of course, Europe's remarkable success in the Ryder Cup will not change the political settlement: the eurozone will continue to be in crisis, and popular sentiment in Britain will still be largely anti-Brussels.

But this must be also true: for a brief moment, we were desperately willing a German to succeed, and were moved by a Spaniard's tears. We wanted Europe to win, but we equally wanted America to lose. That surely made all of us – yes, even you, Dominic – feel just a little bit European.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Tax Solicitor

£40000 - £70000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Tax Solicitor An excel...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: This is an exce...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Children of a bygone era  

Kids these days aren't what they used to be — they're a lot better. So why the fuss?

Archie Bland
A suited man eyes up the moral calibre of a burlesque troupe  

Be they burlesque dancers or arms dealers, a bank has no business judging the morality of its clients

John Walsh
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns