J.K. Rowling labels Scottish ultranationalists “Death Eaterish”

I guess the gloves are off now in this year’s Scottish independence referendum:

ROWLING has been subjected to an extraordinary torrent of online abuse from Scottish independence supporters after she donated [UK 1m pounds UK or US $1.7m] to the “No” campaign.

The creator of Harry Potter found herself targeted by the cybernats — the Yes backers who thrive on insulting those with different views — immediately after declaring her support for the Better Together campaign.

The writer, who lives in Edinburgh, is the most prominent figure to donate to either campaign. Her donation is a major coup for the pro-union campaign, which feared being out-financed by the Yes camp.

Yes Scotland and Better Together are now limited to spending $2.6m before the referendum — but the figure does not cover staff costs.

Rowling has previously made major contributions to research on multiple sclerosis, which her mother suffered from, and said that she was concerned about the effect a “yes” vote would have on medical research and on the economy.
[…]
Rowling launched a pre-emptive strike against the cybernats. She said that, although intelligent and thoughtful people made up the majority on both sides of the debate, “I also know that there is a fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence and I suspect, notwithstanding the fact that I’ve lived in Scotland for twenty-one years and plan to remain here for the rest of my life, that they might judge me ‘insufficiently Scottish’ to have a valid view.”

She was born in the West Country, brought up on the Welsh border, and has Scottish, English, French and Flemish ancestry, and says that her allegiance is to Scotland.

“However, when people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste,” she said, in a reference to characters in the Harry Potter books.
[…]
“Scotland is subject to the same twenty-first century pressures as the rest of the world. It must compete in the same global markets, defend itself from the same threats and navigate what still feels like a fragile economic recovery. The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks.”

Colonial sci-fi

Very interesting Atlantic article this week: “Why Sci-Fi Keeps Imagining the Subjugation of White People”

A researcher doing a meta-analysis of science fiction found its initial rise to prominence and formation as a coherent genre is tied directly to the height of imperial Britain and colonial France, both in time and place. Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and so on.

(And though it wasn’t mentioned in the piece, American sci-fi like A Princess of Mars/John Carter of Mars, a serialized allegory about the American Civil War, rose to prominence just a little later as America became a global power, between the Spanish-American War and U.S. entry into World War I.)

After its origins in imperial Britain and colonial France, the genre’s allegory has broadly bifurcated into “we’ll get what was coming to us for the horrors of colonial oppression” versus “man, this is awesome — we should keep killing everyone who doesn’t look like us because we’re the best, and if we don’t, we’ll be oppressed, and white people don’t deserve that.”

As for myself, I find my tastes distinctly in the former camp. Box office bomb aside, I refused to watch Disney’s “John Carter” on principle, because the original story is an obvious allegorical paean to the Confederacy and antebellum South through the lens of a race war between aliens on another planet. The antebellum South, of course, being the height of America’s internal white supremacist colonialism.

Also my tastes tend that way just because I’m totally the type of person who would try to surrender the entire planet to an invading alien military, instead of trying to re-enact “Independence Day.” Maybe that makes me the Marshal Philippe Pétain of our planetary future, but I just assume that if a huge landing force of aliens arrives at Earth while we’re still sending people to our dinky “space” station (which is actually still in our atmosphere) on barely-upgraded-from-the-Soviet-era spaceships, we’ve probably already lost that conflict. Better to surrender quickly and wage a guerrilla resistance to wear the occupiers down — what we humans do best — than try to fight off the initial invasion and lose everything. Or, failing that, we’ll just get what’s coming to us.

Illustration: "Martians vs. Thunder Child" from a 1906 printing of "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells.

Illustration: “Martians vs. Thunder Child” from a 1906 printing of “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells.