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JK Rowling’s ‘cross-dressing serial killer’ book tops the charts – and people are pointing out the glaringly obvious

Reiss Smith September 23, 2020
JK Rowling school

JK Rowling. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

JK Rowling has topped the UK book chart with her controversial new novel Troubled Blood, proving once and for all that cancel culture isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Troubled Blood, written under Rowling’s Robert Galbraith pseudonym, was the UK’s fastest-selling book of the week, shifting 65,000 copies in just five days.

Bookseller noted that Troubled Blood enjoyed “by far” the biggest single-week sales of any of Rowling’s five Galbraith books, with almost double the first week sales of its predecessor, Lethal White.

The crime novel was released amid a storm of controversy, after an early review revealed that one of its prominent characters is a murderous cis man who dresses as a woman do carry out his crimes.

Rowling was accused of relying on an anti-trans trope – that of the violent man masquerading as a woman to do cis women harm – with one bookstore going as far as to ban all of her works from its shelves in response.

Those criticising Rowling were themselves charged with perpetuating a problematic “cancel culture” – however the author’s sales figures are at odds with such a notion.

 

JK Rowling recently signed an open letter bemoaning cancel culture and defending free speech, along with about 150 other public figures.

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter, published in Harper’s Magazine in July, read.

“While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

Many noted the irony of a letter bemoaning “silencing” and “censoriousness” being published in a major publication, among them Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“People who are actually ‘cancelled’ don’t get their thoughts published and amplified in major outlets,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on 10 July.

“The term ‘cancel culture’ comes from entitlement – as though the person complaining has the right to a large, captive audience, and one is a victim if people choose to tune them out.

“Odds are you’re not actually cancelled, you’re just being challenged, held accountable, or unliked.”

A fortnight after the letter was published, it emerged a teen news site had agreed to retract and apologise for an article titled “Potterheads cancel Rowling after trans tweet” that was “critical of Rowling personally”.

More: cancel culture, JK Rowling, Robert Galbraith, transphobia, Troubled Blood

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