The Russian autocrat currently indulging his imperialist fantasy really feels for the author and her transphobia.
What do the battle of Stalingrad, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s astronomical transphobia all have in common? You’re probably thinking “nothing,” right? That’s understandable, because you’re not the megalomaniacal head of a global super power currently engaged in a war of imperial expansion (... are you? If you are, you have to tell me. That’s the law).
In the craggy nooks of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mind, however, all three of the above are just a few of the many historical examples of the same Western “cancel culture” he claims is currently working against him and his country — cancel culture that, in his estimation, has finally gone too far, dagnabbit!
“They canceled Joanne Rowling recently, the children’s author — her books are published all over the world — just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights,” Putin claimed, as part of his rolling litany of grievances that measure up to the international pushback against his country’s unprovoked war against Ukraine.
Her books are published all over the world, but Rowling — one of the richest women on Earth, by the way — has been canceled? If you’re confused, that’s fine. I am too. In part, that stems from the fact that phrases like “cancel culture” have become so flattened and hysterically overused by pearl-clutching dilettantes that they’re essentially meaningless at this point. Whether Putin sincerely believes it or is simply invoking a carefully parsed series of examples as part of a geopolitical propaganda psyop, the “cancel culture” he’s whining about is basically just “people facing consequences for their actions.” Although, to be fair, that’s all most cancel culture panic really amounts to in the first place.
Anyway, that’s where we are now, as a planet. The head of a nuclear superpower currently engaging in probable war crimes is saying he’s pretty much in the same boat as an unapologetic transphobe who made a gazillion bucks by writing about magic wands and broomsticks and snogging. Please, won’t somebody pity these poor, immeasurably powerful public figures?