We need to talk about JK Rowling’s weird Twitter presence


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We need to talk about JK Rowling’s weird Twitter presence

Oh no baby what is you doing

In the aughts, JK Rowling was nothing short of a god.

She’d created a magical world, held us all enraptured while she finished book after book, worked with the directors on film after film. As a kid, it was generally accepted that her attention to detail and nuance were amazing. It couldn’t be further away from the pandering, infantilizing demagogue she’s become over the past few years on Twitter.

Someone with JK Rowling’s influence could really do a lot on Twitter. She could use it to help educate and engage with the people who grew up with her books, starry-eyed kids who adored her and are now grown adults, trying to engage with the world as it burns around them in a fiery pit of Nazis and fidget spinners. But JK Rowling doesn’t engage with her 12.5 million followers like that.

Instead she treats them like the kids we once were, patting everyone on the head and refusing point blank to engage with the real world unless it’s littered with Harry Potter references.

Maybe it’s because of a frantic need not to be forgotten, but every day there’s a new, incredibly niche Harry Potter plot-point or character development she conveniently forgot from the books, that Teen Vogue will inevitably claim “Left Them Shook!”

It’s become so ridiculous it’s reached the level of easy parody:

And look, it’s not as if you can’t be an author-tweeter and a politically conscious one. It’s not as if you can’t be funny, or sassy, or off the cuff, just because you’re a public figure. Stephen King is the perfect example of the opposite; the antithesis of what JK Rowling is on social media. When earlier this month he tweeted that he didn’t want Donald Trump to come see his movies, it didn’t feel scripted. It didn’t feel like a ham-fisted attempt to stay relevant.

It didn’t feel like it had been crafted with a BuzzFeed headline in mind (Sass Queen JK Rowling Just Clapped Back At Trump With One Perfect Tweet).

Rowling’s own tweets about politics are sweeping, with just the right amount of sass, but ultimately they don’t actually say anything. Doesn’t anyone else think it’s weird that the woman who created a $25 billion (52 million Galleon) world filled with hundreds of spells and its own rich language and cultures, can’t actual muster anything to say about the state of the world in 2017 other than “Dobby would be sad lol”?

Of course, it makes sense that Rowling’s Twitter presence is so veiled and childish; when she actually does open up about her political views, they’re often embarrassingly out of touch. Remember her “Corbyn is not Dumbledore” meme, hastily forgotten about when everyone decided that actually, the kindly older man with a white beard who wants to make the world a better place wasn’t just a figure for derision?

No? OK, remember when she issued that ambling statement about why she was against Scottish independence, a scab manifesto so bad it would make Professor McGonagall cringe? That was also bad.

Look, I know it’s joyless to discuss whether someone is a bit of an idiot on social media. Because again, ultimately, while her presence is weird and jarring with carefully curated sass and constant self-promotion, it’s tragic but harmless. Maybe the reason it’s even worth talking about is because of the near God-like devotion JK Rowling inspired in us as children, and how far she seems from that mythical ideal as an adult.

It’s like meeting a fun new friend in the smoking area of a nightclub and following her on Insta to find that it’s a bottomless pit of emotionless selfies and big, Merlot-filled glasses with “FRIDAY WINE NIGHT O’CLOCK” captions.

It’s not being able to look back at the books and movies you once loved without rolling your eyes at the newest publicity desperate tweet plugging the newest iteration of a spin-off movie, play or detective book. It’s a really, really diluted version of the milkshake duck phenomena. I dunno, it’s realizing that as an adult, in 2017, everything is a little bit more annoying, and a little less magical, and that in your twenties life can suck so much even that the slightly irritating behavior of a once beloved author can send you spiraling into an existential crisis and yearning for the good old days, I guess.

Please don’t unfollow me on Twitter after reading this.