Magic Beyond Words July 25, 2011Posted by Rusty in Uncategorized.
I have always been and continue to be a contrarian asshole. This is not a news flash to anyone who has made my acquaintance. But like Jules in Pulp Fiction, I’m trying. I’m trying real hard. I want to be a better man (mostly so I can bang the chick from the song, Better Man). I recently made a huge step in my path towards not being so unpleasant: I started reading Harry Potter.
Harry Potter came out when I was 14. Really the perfect age for a boy to avoid Harry Potter. I was reading Stephen King (scary clowns! swear words!) and Kurt Vonnegut (he sees right through the bullshit, man). A book about an 11-year-old British wizard? I knew even then not to use the word “gay” in a derogatory manner, but that is the gayest shit I had ever heard.
I watched Harry Potter become more and more popular and soon enough a new book coming out was a national event. Because I’m an asshole I ruined a character’s death from the sixth book and had “Hermoine dies” as my status message 48 hours before the final book was released in 2007. I don’t know why I treated Potter fans so scornfully, but I did.
Now I’m an old man. Twenty-eight. That means I work with people who are between the ages of 23 and 26. Jesus Christ, they LOVE Harry Potter. And I would never say this to their face, but they’re all nice, kind, intelligent, quick-witted people who are a pleasure to work with. So I convinced myself that I missed out. A friend lent me the first Harry Potter and I started it a few days ago.
It’s awesome. It’s so good. It’s not perfect (it is a kid’s book for Christ’s sake), but I am very happy and, frankly, excited to enter into this world.
So why five paragraphs of me (figuratively)(you hope) jerking myself off over my life story? Because I just watched a movie where a woman writes, has her mom die, and then writes some more. Then she becomes famous. I can’t imagine anyone other than a typewriter fetishist enjoying Magic Beyond Words. Not a lot of noteworthy stuff happens, and I have to write about something, amiright?
So let’s hammer out some notes on the movie:
1. JK Rowling is unpopular in high school. This makes no sense. She is slender and has a rich girl rack (a big B, think Paltrow and Lively). Her accent is sing-songy and she is obviously brilliant. Still, she is picked on by the Queen Bees of her school. But the Queen Bees are all brunette, overweight, have split ends, and speak in a Cockney accent. Um, the reason Queen Bees have power is because everyone wants to fuck them. There is no school in the entire world where the gorgeous blonde (and I prefer brunettes!) would be lower than these bullies on the social ladder. It’s ridiculous.
But still worth it to see Rowling get beaten down in a hallway.
2. Rowling meets a boy in Portugal and she catches him going through her stuff. His defense: “I am falling in love with you.” Relationship escalates.
Rowling catches boy in Portugal cheating on her His defense: “Marry me.” They get married.
I know Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature, not the Nobel Prize for Good Decision Making, but for a supposedly brilliant person, what the fuck, JK Rowling?
3. Rowling ditches Portuguese husband after he gets abusive. She moves to England and applies for benefits. She protests she can’t live on 69 pounds a week. The caseworker’s response: “You should have thought about that before you left your husband.”
My job is signing people up for benefits, so I pay attention to how these things are portrayed in media. I am happy that the movie goes of its way to make receiving benefits look honorable. But no caseworker in their right mind would ever, ever say that to a woman coming out of an abusive relationship. Has it happened before in the history of time? Yeah, maybe. Probably. But, no.
4. So JK Rowling is apartment hunting and she finds a place that costs 300 pounds a month. She needs to provide an employment history to prove she can afford the place. Obviously that’s a problem. But the landlord lets her stay anyways because “it’s clear you love your daughter.” Wait, what? She makes 297 pounds a month. The place costs 300. But you’ve known this lady for five minutes, so she is obviously Parent of the Year. Another no.
5. The movie ends with a big Harry Potter movie premiere. Rowling leaves and thinks about her life and her (dead) mother. She looks at her own daughter and starts reading to her. Because no matter how successful you are, your worth as a woman is defined by your mothering abilities.
Not the worst thing in the world, just boring. It’s a story of nothing with occasional Sorcerer’s Stone references sprinkled about to keep the Harry Potter nerds in line. “Oh my God, that page says “The Sorting Hat.” This is where she wrote about the sorting! A talking hat! How droll! How whimsical!”
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 0
Nope. Didn’t recognize a single name or a single face. I think this is the first “0” ever.
I don’t know all the details of JK Rowling’s personal life. So maybe this was accurate, but the way her first husband is portrayed is fantastic. It’s like Lifetime panicked that there were no men in the movie and someone had to be the bad guy. Not just bad. Adulterous and abusive. Evil. Welcome to Lifetime!
Sort of off-topic, but I do think it’s awesome that she made it big while living off of the system. That is what the system is around for. I also love that she’s repaid the favor by supporting high taxes for the social safety net and not being a tax exile asshole like Bono or (I’m sorry) Freddie Mercury.
GRAND TOTAL: 13
Woof. I hope Ms. Rowling isn’t offended. She should know that even if her life story is whack, her first book is amazing.