Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

JK Rowling denied top US honour
BBC ^ | 9/30/2009 | BBC

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 ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature
KEYWORDS: book; bush; latimer; rowling
Another juicy tidbit from Latimer's book and I don't find this one all that believable either. If Rowling was rejected for the Medal of Freedom it wouldn't exactly be a surprise. Her books may be entertaining best-sellers but that wouldn't seem to be a sufficient reason for her to get this kind of recognition from the President.
1 posted on 09/30/2009 7:42:05 PM PDT by Saije
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Saije

Not giving her the medal of freedom is one thing, however, saying she ‘encourages witchcraft’ is like saying that Walt Disney encouraged poisoning apples.


2 posted on 09/30/2009 7:43:23 PM PDT by mnehring
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

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.


3 posted on 09/30/2009 7:51:54 PM PDT by ConservativeMind (Liberals have an inability to value good character or to desire it for themselves.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

Exactly,

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.


4 posted on 09/30/2009 7:52:38 PM PDT by JLS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

why would we give a civilian honor to a foreigner?


5 posted on 09/30/2009 7:53:35 PM PDT by plain talk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

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?


6 posted on 09/30/2009 7:55:18 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

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.


7 posted on 09/30/2009 7:55:55 PM PDT by TurtleUp ([...Insert today's quote from Community-Organizer-in-Chief...] - Obama, YOU LIE!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije
In what way did Rowling's books contribute to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours? They pretty much just encouraged her pocket books. As for getting people to read, C.S. Lewis's books are being read by three of my five children (the other two are still working out See Jack Run).
8 posted on 09/30/2009 7:56:18 PM PDT by wbarmy (Hard core, extremist, and right-wing is a little too mild for my tastes.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mnehring

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.


9 posted on 09/30/2009 7:56:55 PM PDT by bgill (The framers of the US Constitution established an entire federal government in 18 pages.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: plain talk

“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.


10 posted on 09/30/2009 7:57:48 PM PDT by Saije
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Saije

Why, exactly, would she get the Presidential Medal of Freedon. No Americans eligible?


11 posted on 09/30/2009 7:59:34 PM PDT by CaptRon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

“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.


12 posted on 09/30/2009 8:00:35 PM PDT by CodeToad (If it weren't for physics and law enforcement I'd be unstoppable!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

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?


13 posted on 09/30/2009 8:00:43 PM PDT by GeronL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

I didn’t get one either.


14 posted on 09/30/2009 8:02:20 PM PDT by ThomasThomas (It always easier to find spelling errors after you post.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije
if anyone should get a medal of freedom it should be this man for teaching kids (especially from very culturally deprived backgrounds) how to read in the first place:

Zig Engelmann
15 posted on 09/30/2009 8:04:18 PM PDT by ari-freedom (Fiscal conservatism without social conservatism is dead.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije
Unmitigated BS. Rowling is not a US citizen for one thing, which makes the hurdle for the CMF a lot higher for her. Her books would have to have a significance beyond entertainment, either in a spiritual or revelatory way. Has she discovered anything new? Has her writing positively impacted our civilization wholesale? Has she by her writing liberated the minds of men and women the world over?Has she become a philanthropist with her massive wealth?

No.

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.

16 posted on 09/30/2009 8:04:30 PM PDT by Candor7 (The effective weap<p>ons against Fascism are ridicule, derision, and truth (Member NRA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

I like the HP books.

That said, I don’t think they rise to the level of the Medal of Freedom.


17 posted on 09/30/2009 8:06:33 PM PDT by PLMerite (Speak Truth to Stupid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
There is no need to justify a work of fiction. The books don't encourage witch craft because they are patently untrue and merely for entertainment purposes only. Any person with a brain can recognize the difference between fiction and a work that would really encourage the practice of witch craft.

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.

18 posted on 09/30/2009 8:13:24 PM PDT by calex59 (FUBO, we want our constitution back and we intend to get it!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill

I was wondering the same thing.


19 posted on 09/30/2009 8:14:51 PM PDT by MamaB (If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Saije

Did Enid Blyton, James Herriot, or Roal Dahl get the Medal of Freedom? How about Tolkin?


20 posted on 09/30/2009 8:16:01 PM PDT by paudio (Road to hell is paved by unintended consequences of good intentions)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bgill
The HP books promote goodness over evil, loyalty between friends, acceptance of those different from ourselves, and the value of learning.

Thank you! I was hoping someone on this freedom-loving site would voice my opinion. I'm afraid too many people didn't read the books through to the end of the series, if at all. And I can understand not reading something because you're not interested or entertained by it, but don't then judge it.

To me the Harry Potter books are all about freedom. About fighting for freedom. About being willing to put your life on the line, to make the ultimate sacrifice to fight evil--to stand on the side of what's right and just. Magic is just the vehicle to deliver that much more important and valuable lesson. That's the lesson I took away from reading those books, and I hope that's the case for the younger generations.
21 posted on 09/30/2009 8:19:14 PM PDT by The4thHorseman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: The4thHorseman

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.


22 posted on 09/30/2009 8:24:45 PM PDT by The4thHorseman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Saije
"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States and recognizes individuals who have made 'an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.'" (This quote is from the Harper Lee Wikipedia entry linked below.)

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.

23 posted on 09/30/2009 8:31:54 PM PDT by TChad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije

barry can remedy that....

whats the issue?


24 posted on 09/30/2009 8:33:15 PM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

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.


25 posted on 09/30/2009 8:44:01 PM PDT by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: The4thHorseman
Magic is just the vehicle to deliver that much more important and valuable lesson. That's the lesson I took away from reading those books, and I hope that's the case for the younger generations.

Exactly! I'm just now re-reading "Deathly Hallows". It's better than I remember.

26 posted on 09/30/2009 8:51:18 PM PDT by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: The4thHorseman

I liked the books. They are some of my favorite books. They were just fun to read.


27 posted on 09/30/2009 8:52:00 PM PDT by luckystarmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Saije

Oh, good grief. This is ridiculous if true.


28 posted on 09/30/2009 8:52:01 PM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TChad

“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?


29 posted on 09/30/2009 9:05:22 PM PDT by BlessingsofLiberty (Obama, YOU LIE!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: wbarmy

“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 ;-)


30 posted on 09/30/2009 9:09:04 PM PDT by 1FASTGLOCK45 (FreeRepublic: More fun than watching Dem'Rats drown like Turkeys in the rain! ! !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: BlessingsofLiberty
No American was allowed to audition for a character part or as an extra...per Rowlings request.

I didn't know that, but it fits the pattern. Her books are wonderful, she is not.

31 posted on 09/30/2009 9:27:32 PM PDT by TChad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: ThomasThomas
I didn’t get one either.

If you stop promoting witchcraft, maybe you'll get one.

32 posted on 09/30/2009 9:38:17 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Saije

If I’m not mistaken, Laura Bush decorated the White House in a literary theme. The decorations included Harry Potter.


33 posted on 09/30/2009 9:39:00 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bgill
The HP books promote goodness over evil, loyalty between friends, acceptance of those different from ourselves, and the value of learning.

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.

34 posted on 09/30/2009 9:51:59 PM PDT by dr_lew
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Grizzled Bear

35 posted on 09/30/2009 9:53:57 PM PDT by TChad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Saije

“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.


36 posted on 10/01/2009 12:28:53 AM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SuziQ

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.


37 posted on 10/01/2009 12:34:39 AM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: plain talk; Billthedrill; Candor7
"why would we give a civilian honor to a foreigner?"

The awarding of the medal is not limited to US citizens. I know that Pope John Paul II received it.

38 posted on 10/01/2009 2:44:07 AM PDT by Mila
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Mila

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.


39 posted on 10/01/2009 4:41:24 AM PDT by plain talk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Saije
This story is asinine. She's British and she wrote some popular kids books.

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.

40 posted on 10/01/2009 4:49:32 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Saije
Latimer claimed, in his book, that the veteran politician and health care activist [Ted Kennedy] was excluded because he was deemed to be too liberal.

As soon as Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, I'll concede Latimer's point here.

41 posted on 10/01/2009 9:36:31 PM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (Two blogs for the price of none!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SuziQ

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).


42 posted on 10/02/2009 9:33:39 AM PDT by The4thHorseman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: The4thHorseman
Oh, I got fahklepmt several times reading the series, but then, my kids will tell you I'm very soft hearted. I could never read the Christmas story, "The Littlest Angel", to them, because the premise of the story just breaks my heart.
43 posted on 10/02/2009 3:22:40 PM PDT by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson