harrypotterconfessions and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
So, there's this blog on tumblr called harrypotterconfessions, and as the name may suggest, it's like a HP-specific tumblr version of fandom_secrets. And, like fandom_secrets, some of them are confessions for a very good reason. Namely, that some HP fans want to make sure that I Don't Want To Live On This Planet Anymore.
For some reason, today had a few incredibly bizarre confessions, namely the following: (note, links all go to my tumblr and the reblog responses I left on said confessions).
In response to that first one, here are some more shocking revelations: Heathcliff isn't very nice, Emma shouldn't have tried to run everyone's love lives, Desdemona didn't actually cheat, and the One Ring is an artifact of pure evil.
Regarding the second one, I think the idea that Peter was playing Iago and making the others distrust Lupin is an excellent one. I also think they had some prejudice against werewolves (like Ron did) that made them more willing to think Lupin could be the traitor than anyone else. And also, they dismissed the idea that Peter could be the spy out of hand because they thought so little of him.
That third one has got to be a troll. Or a sociopath. I'm voting troll simply for my peace of mind.
The fourth one -- I guess that person has never done anything in haste that they have regretted at leisure. Give 'em a few years and hopefully they'll figure some things out.
The fifth one, I'm gonna pass before I start ranting here about non-cannon shipping.
The sixth one, love it, love what you said, you know what side I'm on in this one.
The seventh one, god that scene is so disgusting. A woman was murdered through the actions of a man, and it's the man's suffering that matters. It's all a set up for his Big Dramatic Scene And Character Growth. Lily is treated as a thing, not a person -- quite literally, since that's a corpse Snape's getting his Death Eater cooties all over. She would not have let him touch her in life, so he grabs her in death. Despicable.
Number eight: We all bring our own Issues to works, and we can't escape them, whether or not we want to, and I don't think other people should tell us what we should feel or not feel, what should and should not bug us, particularly when they don't know our circumstances. And honestly, I've always been troubled by both Hagrid (who is not a good teacher) and Arthur (who breaks the law he is supposed to enforce.) Intent isn't magic, and the fact that they're "good guys" doesn't wash away the problematic stuff they do. But that's part of the reason JKR is a good writer: she allows her characters to be human, with human flaws, and because of that, real people are going to royally dislike some of them that other people adore. And that's okay -- most people who have different opinions about these things aren't Snapewives.
Number nine: I blame lots and lots and lots of coffee. Also I think she's joking, in a self-deprecating way, about her HP obsession. Gods I hope she's joking.
Regarding the second one, I think the idea that Peter was playing Iago and making the others distrust Lupin is an excellent one. I also think they had some prejudice against werewolves (like Ron did) that made them more willing to think Lupin could be the traitor than anyone else.
Yeah - the rest of the Order may not have been close enough to Lupin to overcome the werewolf bigotry, but considering how close the friendship between the Marauders was supposed to be, I have a hard time believing that they would have doubted him without somebody whose judgement they trusted bringing up the idea that he might be a traitor. And once the seed was planted in the minds of people who were already paranoid out of necessity - well. No matter how open-minded they were consciously, they lived in a society where people like Lupin were considered less than human, untrustworthy and sadistic. We all internalise the isms of the society we live in whether we like it or not - witness Slughorn, who is eager to dissuade Harry of the idea that he's prejudiced, right after he expresses admiration of Lily's talents in terms of what he expects from a person of her heritage.
We all bring our own Issues to works, and we can't escape them, whether or not we want to, and I don't think other people should tell us what we should feel or not feel, what should and should not bug us, particularly when they don't know our circumstances.
You're right, and I certainly didn't mean to come off as telling the person how to feel about Hagrid or Arthur, just that there were more legitimate targets in the HP-verse for those very complaints. Bullying teachers like Snape and truly incompetent teachers like Lockhart, and holy terrors like Umbridge who manage to achieve both, and they're complaining about Hagrid, who at least knows his subject and doesn't unfairly penalise the students he's less than fond of? People like Lucius who offer outright bribes to have the law bend in their direction, and have to sell items on the black market because they'd show he's still a terrorist at heart when he can't sufficiently bend the law for his needs, or Crouch who uses his power to take his own son away from the legal punishment he himself enacted, and keep him under control using means that were morally wrong as well as technically illegal... and they're complaining about Arthur playing around with a car in a way that keeps to the letter of the law, at least? I get that "Character B's behaviour is worse, so therefore character A doesn't behave badly" is flawed logic at best, but talk about ignoring the log in character B's eye in order to bring character A up on the technicality of having a potentially vision-impairing speck?
I don't think it's even that 'therefore character A doesn't behave badly' so much as recognising the hypocrisy of complaining about the lesser trespass while ignoring or outright excusing the worse offense in a character that they favour. That type of Slytherin fan has serious blind spots.
I agree with ekaterinv though, Hagrid has always bothered me on those grounds; I don't have personal experience with a teacher like any of these (I was homeschooled) but I always thought it was a very questionable judgement call for Dumbledore to give him a teaching position in the first place. Knowledge of your subject alone doesn't make you a reasonable candidate for teaching children when you are known to have a highly flawed or even nonexistent grasp of safety precautions. I don't think putting children in very possible literal danger is an acceptable risk in a learning environment. :/
All the people you listed, though -- Snape, Lucius, etc. -- are condemned in the text itself. Hagrid and Arthur are propped up by the text. Hermione mentions that Hagrid wasn't a good teacher and is glared to silence. Molly gripes about Arthur, but it's in a "hah-hah naggy wife" comedy way. The people who pursue the "Hagrid is not a good teacher" and "Arthur is doing the very thing he's supposed to be fighting" lines are bad guys, using those facts as excuses to persecute the good guys. No one within the text who points these things out is legitimized.
Snape being a bully and Crouch being a horrible father and etc. -- well, there's not actually a lot to talk about there (among people with basic reading comprehension). It's like pointing out that Harry won mostly through luck and friendship. They are surface facts that the text itself makes quite clear. It would be like dwelling on the fact that Iago was a bad guy. Not very interesting, and deserving a response of "yes and also the earth revolves around the sun."
But why do Hagrid and Arthur get away with what they do? Why did Othello think he had the right to murder Desdemona? These are flaws within the good guys, and those things are interesting. I think the text does condemn Othello for wanting to murder Desdemona -- in Shakespeare's writings, jealous men are never justified. But I think JKR's text condemns the people who point out Hagrid and Arthur's faults and doesn't really condemn those faults. And that does bug me.
I keep seeing this sort of thing around, and I heartily disagree with it. Intent makes a difference that's why we have both first degree and second degree murder, manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Also, if I'm gingerly scooting down the aisle, trying to get to my seat in a theater and accidentally step on your foot you're not going to be mad (I hope) but if I deliberately and knowingly step on your foot you will be. You have a sore foot in both cases, but the intention made a difference in how you reacted emotionally.
But intent does change things. If I look you in the eye and deliberately stomp on your foot, that's malicious. If I'm creeping down the row, gingerly trying to find my seat and accidentally step on your foot, that's innocent. Either way you still have a sore foot, but my intentions change your reaction. In the first scenario, I'm intending to hurt you, in the second I'm just intending to get by in a dark, narrow theater row.
You're using an example that the "intent is not magic" phrase does not really mean to address.
It does mean to address things like Hagrid being a terrible teacher. But he cares, so he should be able to keep being a teacher? And Arthur really ~loving~ Muggles. But he's breaking the law that he's supposed to enforce. I presume he thinks the law is not a bad one. Also, his "love" for Muggles is incredibly condescending. Well, that's okay because he's a good guy? No, really, it's not.
People use intent to excuse themselves and smash other people down all the time. To jump up and down on your foot saying "but look at all these good things I do, I'm a nice guy, I mean to be helping you" *stomp stomp stomp* "tell me why you're being so mean to me" *stomp stomp stomp* "here is why you are wrong about my hurting you" *stomp stomp stomp*. Then you tell someone else that "nice guy" broke your foot and they say "oh no, he's a nice guy, he didn't mean do it and even if he did do it, it was your fault and he didn't mean to do it anyway and you're just being mean."
People also use it to excuse themselves for just plain messing up in situations where the messing up could have been avoided and was indeed entirely their faui-lt. If someone barges through a dark theatre not intending to step on people's feet, but not trying to avoid stepping on them either, that person is an asshole. Drunk drivers don't ~intend~ to kill people, but we punish them more harshly than people who weren't driving drunk for very good reasons.
But he's breaking the law that he's supposed to enforce.
Which he does get in trouble for. And others break the laws as well - the Ministry of Magic has enchanted cars that we see in book 3. Arthur's flawed like every other character in the series.
It does mean to address things like Hagrid being a terrible teacher. But he cares, so he should be able to keep being a teacher?
I always thought that if someone was sufficently honest with him (or if he had observed some more well-taught lessons like Grubbly-Plank's) Hagrid could have been a good teacher. He seems a lot more fixable than a lot of the other bad teachers we see. Also, the Trio all agree Hagrid is not a good teacher specifically in the text - it's pointed out that they stuck with the classes because they like him.
I think Arthur's behavior is meant for comedic effect. That said, IRL such behavior is reminiscent of the more "progressive" elements in the West who didn't actively hate or dislike non-Western peoples, but still had an attitude of "Oh, how ~charming~!" when discussing them.
Also, the point is mostly that whether you meant to or not, you still hurt someone, and that person's hurt still matters more than whether or not you meant to do it. If you stomped on someone and didn't meant to, the decent thing to do is to apologise once you realise that you did it. People who like to use intent to get themselves out of admitting that they, in fact, did stomp on someone and hurt them and do need to apologise are the ones that the phrase is addressing.
I would assume that, in your example, if you accidentally stepped on someone on your way past, you would whisper an apology before you continued on your way, or at least if that person spoke up and protested. You wouldn't normally stand there and try to argue with them that because you didn't mean to step on them, it shouldn't actually hurt and you shouldn't have to apologise. The fact that you didn't mean to does not change the fact that you did actually do it.
I wish it were used that way, but unfortunately I usually see it used as a bludgeon on people of good will, people who DO issue an apology. It's really sad to see it used that way: "It doesn't matter if you apologized INTENT ISN'T MAGICAL!!!!ELEVEN11!"
But intentions matter a great deal in real life, and I hope people will stop with the non magical bludgeon and learn to accept a sincere* apology. And I do see this a LOT, and it's frankly pretty repulsive and why I say that I disagree with the statement. And I still do because, sadly, I never see what you are describing.
*i.e. not "I'm sorry if you're offended" but more like "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it that way. Please accept my apology" or something along those lines.
I'm sure it does get misused, but that doesn't mean it should never be used at all. Partly the issue is that the only reason intent gets brought up in the first place is because the person being called out is feeling defensive - and I understand that some people have gone overboard with calling people out for anything and everything even when they weren't the person who was hurt or offended in the first place. But intent is one of those things that is used as a derailing tactic - something that people bring up, whether consciously or unconsciously, to shift the focus away from the person who was hurt and onto themselves and how they are now hurt by being called out.
For the most part, or perhaps ideally - I haven't personally seen much of the kind of thing you are talking about, but I'm willing to grant you it may happen a great deal elsewhere - but speaking at least for myself, I wouldn't call out someone who offended me unless I already thought they hadn't intended to be hurtful or offensive.
If someone did have malicious intentions, then my saying that they hurt me isn't going to change their minds about what they said or what they think of me and people like me, and I don't normally have the energy to expend on confronting people who actually have ill intentions. So me speaking up at all means I have already given you the benefit of the doubt as to your intent, and all I want is for you to realise that you hurt me and hopefully don't do it again.
I also, personally, care less about you apologising (although I do appreciate it and it will make me think better of you) than about you understanding that you were offensive and preventing the next person you might come across from being hurt the same way that I was. Feeling defensive is a natural reaction, but making a point out of your intent only serves to make the discussion about you instead of the person who was hurt. For myself, it wouldn't bother me if you did point it out in process of apologising, so long as you weren't trying to use it as a dismissal, but I can't speak for everyone.
Your example apology above would be better to add that you'll try not to do it in the future, because otherwise both your intent and your apology are fairly meaningless. If someone does continue to, as you say, beat you over the head after a true apology, or simply refuses to accept it, then further discussion isn't likely to be productive for anyone involved, and you'd be better off to simply leave the conversation and stop responding. They're not obligated to accept your apology, but if they don't, your intention is still irrelevant. Apologising sincerely and making a note to not make the same mistake in the future is all you can do.
That non-canon shipping one does remind me that I think I see common ground in a kind of H/Hr shipper. They overidentify with Hermione and figure they'd never personally fancy Ron, so obviously they know more about what Hermione wants than her own author. It's easy to identify with Hermione--she's the main female character and loves to read books, a female reader is obviously reading the book. Then there's the entitled male H/Hr shippers who want Harry to 'get' everything as if Hermione were a prize.
I remember the Red Hen saying that she'd had bad real life experiences with a person who reminded her of Molly Weasley, in one or two of her essays. We can't help bringing our personal experiences to the table in how we respond to characters, but in-universe some characters are going to like each other for the good qualities they have rather than expect everyone to be the same.
I was admittedly disappointed with DHII all around, especially the parts with Snape though all the movies are kind of guilty of setting him up to make him look more like a woobie love martyr, than the complex, very flawed, and human character he was in the books. I honestly can't remember, do the movies even make it clear that Snape is the one who gave the prophecy to Voldemort? The Snape/Dead Lily scene creeped me the fuck out, and I kinda think it was meant to creepy in the same vein as the part in HD where he takes the picture of the Potter family, and rips Harry and James out of it, and then after she has been dead for years steals the "love" that was meant for Sirius so he can have it to himself. The problem is once again the movies make it all too easy to ignore, or just plain miss the negative aspects of Snape's feelings for Lily. They only see poor tragic Snape. I also have to admit I still don't get how people could ever come to the conclusion that Snape was Harry's father even having seen only the movies, that really creeps me out too.
I enjoyed DHII, for the battle and for the fact that Hermione and Ron finally grew out of being Goofus and Gallant respectively, but the Snape's memory scene was the weak point. The film's narrative portrayed Snape as being VINDICATED, not REDEEMED, and these are two very different things. And no, it's never stated Snape was the one who set up the Potters to die, nor was Snape's slur to Lily included; instead it was implied that they simply grew apart naturally due to being in rival Houses.
You know, thinking about the fifth one, I'm pretty sure that I hated Ginny for a similar yet different reason - despite being a girl, I identified with Harry more than anyone else (to the point where I'm a fan of capslock!Harry because, damn it, he was acting like a real teenager!), and I don't tend to go for people like Ginny. OR Hermione, which is why I didn't really ship Harry hardcore with anyone until Luna came around.
Ahhh, that's a good point. I'm sure I've done that before, not with HP specifically but I often tend to identify with one of the male characters more than any of the female characters, and there is something a little irritating about them hooking up with someone in canon that you wouldn't personally go for. I don't really hate characters for shipping reasons, but I'm sure I've disliked or just been annoyed by some mainly because they were in that position. Completely unjustified, of course, but I can see how that would contribute, especially when combined with a total lack of self-awareness.