Sunday, June 8, 2008

someone please shoot me. or jkrowling. right away.

So apparently JKRowling spoke at Harvard's graduation. Here's the transcript of that. If you feel like you might want to put your head through something solid, feel free. I did.

I'm just gonna say. I absolutely cannot get over how she cannot get over herself. Examples:

"However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure."

That's a little out of context because she does say she has no doubt that many of them have experienced hardship and heartbreak, but that kind of blanket statement is so ignorant I can't even begin to wrap my head around it. The bigger your accomplishment, the more likely you are to have experienced failure--at least that's what I think, but that's blanket statement-y too. Can we just assume that a lot of people have gone through really tough things and that a lot of people haven't? That a particularly prestigious school should make little difference? Well, it wouldn't have been so bad if she hadn't followed it with this:

"You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable."

Are you kidding me? Are you absolutely freaking joking, because you must be that or retarded. Now, don't get me wrong. While I have never been divorced, I have no doubt it is devastating. But statistics tell us that half the people she's addressing will be divorced at least once at some point. And being poor? Being at the poverty level, the official government defined poverty line? I have been there a large part of my life, and while it's not always comfortable and sometimes it really is awful, it's not quite the tragedy she seems to be making of it, not unless it's real poverty, India, Africa, and so many other places.

But that's not even what bothers me the most about that statement. I just can't believe she said it. How astoundingly presumptuous of her. I just--I don't even have words for that. Does she not realize what goes on in the world? Please, someone show her an actual scale of the lives of the people on this planet, Harvard grads included, and designate a place on it for failure and tragedy and then for her, for the privileged place she was in even at rock bottom. Again, I don't say this to take away from anything that anyone has suffered through, and I have no doubt it was a difficult and painful and I certainly wouldn't want to be in the place she was in--but oh man, the whole of Harvard's 2008 graduating class might never fail as badly as she did.

That, and she's still so wrapped up in her cliches I might have just quit reading the speech. She used a light at the end of the tunnel metaphor. Not saying I've never done that ever, just saying that I'm not paid nearly as much as she is and if I were, it'd probably be better spent on me. Or Nicole. Or a fair number of other undergrads. Now, I'm as addicted the the Harry Potter series as a lot of people are. I'll give her that her books are entertaining and that I can't put them down. But this isn't a post about her as a writer, this is a post about how badly she annoys me.

She addressed the graduating class at Harvard, and all she had to say was about herself. It gets better toward the end, and she does acknowledge how lucky she is to live in the country she lives in, etc., but I don't know. Between that and being such a copyright hog (not in the justified way, but in the selfish, I think I'm the greatest [writer] there ever was and therefore my name should be on every last thing even when it means that charity is no longer given to those in need of charity because at one possible date in the indeterminate future I might give money to them in my name because it's all about me my name is JKROWLING JKROWLING!).

Ugh. End rant. JKRowling, please, please. Sometimes you are not someone or something to aspire to, and as most of the writers I emulate are dead, I could use someone worth looking toward. And they're there, for certain, however less broadcast, but if you must be in the spotlight, understand that sometimes light shines toward you because you have the means to point it toward the things we all ought to be seeing. And here I'll say nothing about your light at the end of the tunnel metaphor, except that I think it's a train and I really hope that if this keeps up, one of the two of us is on the other end.


nicolioliolio said...

it was very self-centric, i agree, but (and please don't hate me for this), i actually kinda liked it. not all of it, but "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default," was a good line and the part about how we touch people's lives simply by existing...that kinda made me wanna cry cause it's such a beautiful thought. her thing about imagining better was all the power we needed to make it so, that was pretty good, too. so i think if you take out all the parts about her life... it wouldn't have been as bad. though of course, that would have left just about those 6 lines that i mentioned. haha

sarawr said...

oh no, i totally agree with that, and there were some really nice lines and ideas in there. and i do agree that you will fail on your way to succeeding, and that you'll never accomplish anything if you don't try. those things--wonderful. but they were a little overwhelmed by the me-me-me of the rest of it, at least when i read it. i don't know, i have such a love-hate relationship with jkrowling. i love harry potter, i can't get around that. and she promotes things like anti-racism, which i especially love and appreciate, and there are lots of other things like that. it's just, sometimes, arghghg. make sense? and i think you can absolutely talk about your life in a speech and have it not be about you, in fact, i know you can. i just wish she had done that in hers. i don't know. question though--did you read it first via perez's link =)?

nicolioliolio said...

i <3 how addicted to him you've become... all thanks to me. really warms my heart. haha

michelle said...

Is the full transcript of her speech available online anywhere?

sarawr said...

Unless it's the abridged version--and it may very well be, but I feel like it isn't--here's the link to the full speech: