Skip to comments.JK Rowling denied top US honour
Posted on 09/30/2009 7:42:01 PM PDT by Saije
Harry Potter author JK Rowling missed out on a top honour because some US politicians believed she "encouraged witchcraft", it has been claimed.
Matt Latimer, former speech writer for President George W Bush, said that some members of his administration believed her books promoted sorcery.
As a result, she was never presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The claims appear in Latimer's new book called Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor.
He wrote that "narrow thinking" led White House officials to object to giving Rowling the civilian honour.
The award acknowledges contributions to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours.
Past literary recipients of the award include John Steinbeck and Harper Lee.
Others denied the privilege under the Bush administration included Senator Edward Kennedy, who died in August this year.
Latimer claimed, in his book, that the veteran politician and health care activist was excluded because he was deemed to be too liberal.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
Not giving her the medal of freedom is one thing, however, saying she ‘encourages witchcraft’ is like saying that Walt Disney encouraged poisoning apples.
I’ll never forget being in a bible study in which one of the elders of my church (who was the person giving the study) brought up how he was looking forward to the next Harry Potter book to read with his kid. He said the books encouraged youth to understand good versus evil.
One lady in our packed room raised her hand and then asked him how he could justify encouraging the reading of books that are based in witchcraft and wizardry, especially for children.
I was known for having pretty solid justifications to any position or opposing position brought up in class. However, on this one, the elder looked at me as though I would help defend his position. I smiled and simply shrugged. :-) It was funny watching him recover and justify the books.
1. Some people who supported the president do not like the witchcraft in her books.
2. She was not given an award.
This does not necessarily imply causality.
why would we give a civilian honor to a foreigner?
What would we give a Medal of Freedom to a British author of children’s books for? I mean, they’re great books and she’s sold a boatload of them, but a Medal of Freedom? Why?
Oh, come on! She was a guest of the White House several times, even reading from one of her books at the Easter Egg Roll one year. If she didn’t get every honor in existence, that doesn’t mean she was discriminated against.
Snow White shacked up with seven dwarfs. Half of Disney’s characters are naked from the waist down. And dogs owning dogs is just shy of slavery.
The HP books promote goodness over evil, loyalty between friends, acceptance of those different from ourselves, and the value of learning.
“why would we give a civilian honor to a foreigner?”
I thought of that too and did a quick search. Foreigners are given the Pres. Medal of Freedom. Tony Blair. Mother Theresa, a bunch of others.
Why, exactly, would she get the Presidential Medal of Freedon. No Americans eligible?
“As a result, she was never presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “
Um, she’s never done that, promote freedom, wo why would she be given the medal? I didn’t get one, either.
Not giving her a medal she didn’t deserve is a big deal?? Can we give her the Presidential Medal of Literacy?? How did she ever promote freedom?
I didn’t get one either.
She writes great fiction that borders on a mind f__k. That alone doesn't make the grade.
JR Tolkien would be a different matter, if he were still alive.
I like the HP books.
That said, I don’t think they rise to the level of the Medal of Freedom.
These books are entertaining and they do have a good moral to them overall, I feel sorry for self righteous people who let their religious fervor over ride their good sense to the point they can't even read a work of fiction for fear of being contaminated.
I was wondering the same thing.
Did Enid Blyton, James Herriot, or Roal Dahl get the Medal of Freedom? How about Tolkin?
I should qualify that I don’t think Rowling is deserving of a Medal of Freedom (that’s an incredibly high honor). I just felt the need to defend what I thought was a great message in the Harry Potter books.
I presume that Rowling was being considered for the Presidential Medal of Freedom for literature. There were only two such awards given during the G.W. Bush administration, one to Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," and the other to Jacques Barzun, "a French-born American historian of ideas and culture."
I love the Harry Potter books, but it sure sounds like Lee and Barzun deserved that award more than Rowling. Her books have nothing to do with America.
barry can remedy that....
whats the issue?
The Pastor was right. The setting may be one in which witchcraft and wizardry are used, but clearly the story is about the pursuit of power at any cost, and the consequences of one’s choices for good or evil.
Exactly! I'm just now re-reading "Deathly Hallows". It's better than I remember.
I liked the books. They are some of my favorite books. They were just fun to read.
Oh, good grief. This is ridiculous if true.
“Her books have nothing to do with America.”
And, Rowling did not want anything remotely associated with Americans in her books or movies. No American was allowed to audition for a character part or as an extra...per Rowlings request.
Why would we even consider her for the Presidential Medal of Freedom award?
“As for getting people to read, C.S. Lewis’s books are being read by three of my five children”
I am happy to hear C.S Lewis’s name!
My dad gave me CS Lewis’s books to read growing up and I am very grateful for that.
My dad and I disagree in politics but when it comes down to good books to read he has great taste. I wish he had better taste in politics ;-)
I didn't know that, but it fits the pattern. Her books are wonderful, she is not.
If you stop promoting witchcraft, maybe you'll get one.
If I’m not mistaken, Laura Bush decorated the White House in a literary theme. The decorations included Harry Potter.
The books are not simply fantasy, but they are ABOUT fantasy. They introduce an entire fantasy world which overlays the real, "muggle," world so that the initiates into wizardry have a superior vantage point. The mundane habits of the muggle world are openly despised, even if many of its aspects are duplicated in the school life of Hogwarts.
People love these books, and I don't begrudge them their enjoyment, but have many misgivings about them, for my own part. I think they make an interesting comparison to the Tom Swift, Jr. books. These were based in a fantastical version of the real world, and the hero was portrayed as a prodigy and champion within the world, so that a young reader might imagine himself achieving great things in emulation of him. By contrast, to imagine oneself as Harry Potter only reinforces estrangement from the mundane.
I do have to admit that the story-telling in the Potter books is far superior to the Tom Swift books and others like it.
“contributions to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours. “
I read her books, I like the movies, but I don’t think she meets the qualifications above.
Harper Lee’s book changed America for the better, permanently, in my opinion. She deserved that medal.
My main concern is for secular kids, reading the series, who may start to look up witchcraft on the internet or browse through the witchcraft section of the bookstore, stop into a satanist bookstore, try to cast spells. . . I think these scenarios are likely. These are terrible consequences.
That said, I’ve let my kids read them. We just talk first about what real witchcraft is, why it is evil, etc., and how the HP books are fantasy that do not show real witchcraft in truth, but pretend magic in fantasy.
One of my absolutely favorite sets of books, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, has very important characters that are good and bad wizards. Christian author. Also C.S. Lewis has witches in his books, although they are bad. There is magic that is good in the C.S. Lewis books, and he was a thoroughgoing Christian.
The awarding of the medal is not limited to US citizens. I know that Pope John Paul II received it.
Thanks. I am aware of that now thanks to many looking that up. Pope Paul, Mother Teresa - OK - but an author? I think it is very possible that this whole story is a crock and Rowling was not awarded the honor simply because she is not a Mother Teresa or Pope Paul.
Why she would even be considered for the US Medal of Freedom is beyond me.
It had nothing to do with witchcraft and this author made that up.
Ted Kennedy probably didn't get one during the Bush Administration because he was a murderer. If I recall, Obama gave him one, because he's OK with murderers.
As soon as Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, I'll concede Latimer's point here.
I decided to re-read the series this summer and I’m about 3/4 of the way through the Half-Blood Prince. Enjoying it as much as the first time—but I’m looking forward to Deathly Hallows; that’s where the reality of the fight against evil really hits home (even though I did cry quite a bit reading it).
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