This is what happens when you think you have everything worked out. Already had a post lined up for today, I said. It’ll just flow off the fingertips, I said. No problems with posting it on Friday morning, I said. I tell ya, I’m such a slacker sometimes!
Anyway, before I head into today’s post, I thought I’d revisit last week’s, um, less-than-charitable thoughts on why Watson, for example, is being played by a woman in CBS’s new series and not Holmes. One of my hypothetical network “creative” directors/bean-counters says: “[Because] men will turn off in their millions and that’ll trash our viewing figures.”
Well, I only had to wait a few days for vindication of my jaundiced view. Director Andrew Stanton, on marketing “John Carter”, had this to say:
I changed Princess Of Mars…because not a single boy would go.
He does go on to say that he then changed “John Carter of Mars” to plain ole “John Carter” because:
And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars.
Oy! And two more bits made me sad:
I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth … Mars is going to stick on any other film in the series. But by then, it won’t have a stigma to it.
So not only can’t we have an allusion to a woman in the title, we also can’t have anything futuristic in the title either because of a stigma attached to it. Let me be clear, I’m NOT slamming Andrew Stanton for any of this. I’m just sad that such decisions need to be made by people like him in the 21st century.
Am I a fan of Rowling’s work? Not really. We have all the Harry Potter books. I read through them just so I could keep tabs on how things finished, but I don’t feel a driving urge to re-read them. They’re there for the kids now, in case one or both of the two would like to delve into Potter’s universe. (I can’t stand Potter’s universe, having been educated in one very close to it, but it may hold novel value for my two.)
I say “oh noes!” in the post’s title. Why? Because JK Rowling is (a) one of (if not the) richest woman in the UK, (b) is a writer, (c) is a woman. This means that every mean-spirited, narrow-minded excuse for a critic is going to excoriate her, regardless of the book’s merits (or otherwise), based on nothing more than a combination of (a), (b) and (c). And I’m talking about both male and female critics here.
When I first read the news of Rowling’s next book, I winced. I personally think this is an extraordinarily brave move on her part, especially considering who she is. My fear is that no good will come of it because of who she is. People resent her for her fame, the way she rose to it, the money she’s earnt from it, and the fact that she dared do all this while being…a woman.
(While not at all in the same league, I remember one petty-minded manager at a company I was contracting for telling me that one reason he was making life so difficult for me (not paying my invoices, writing obscenities on my work, locking me out of the company’s systems) was — and I quote — “because you’re a woman and you earn more than me”. And that was just little ole me. You can just imagine what Rowling’s going to face, can’t you?)
I think Rowling is as competent a writer as Dan Brown, really I do. But no matter how much criticism Brown has copped, I predict it’s going to be nothing compared to what Rowling faces when her book hits the shelves. She has my sympathies and my best wishes.