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Sunday 30 September 2012

Rowling Bashing Spreads

The howlings of those in the Fourth Estate not granted an interview by Jo Rowling prior to the release of her novel The Casual Vacancy have continued in the pages and website of the Mail, while spreading to the Maily Telegraph, where the insufferable Charles Moore – despised even by his own editor – has decided to launch his own sniffy hatchet job on the book.

No publicity is bad publicity for sales figures

Moore’s criticism, of course, is of a truly superior kind, and don’t his readers know it: he has, after all, read and inwardly digested the output of Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. He attended Eton and then went up to Trinity College, Cambridge. So he knows all about ordinary people, having devoted so much of his life to the art of talking down to them.

He asserts that Ms Rowling “made a fortune from the provincial life that she now so clearly despises”. Now, going once again into Jon Stewart mode, two things here. Describing a small town in a warts-and-all manner does not indicate that the author despises small towns: nor, as Moore later suggests, are small towns like the one described a “southern” phenomenon.

Towns that give off the air of entrenched middle class affluence, while also hosting significant areas of social housing, can be found all around the country. Perhaps Charles Moore never walked all the way round the city walls of York, and so missed its rather less upmarket eastern suburbs. Or when he visited Knutsford, he saw the boutique shops but managed not to see the Longridge estate.

And the second point about Moore’s sniffy rant is that Ms Rowling made a fortune not out of “the provincial life”, but characters that she dreamed up on a delayed train journey somewhere between Euston and Manchester. And her new novel does not, as far as can be told, show any dislike for rail travel. Moore is just trying to keep up with the Mail, and there the Rowling bashing is continuing apace.

Having one Glenda put the boot in was clearly not sufficient for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, and so he has ordered another of them over the top: Amanda Platell has asserted that “Rowling’s so wrong to sneer at her readers”. Yes Mandy, far better to leave sneering to the likes of you. Platell sells the pass by taking Jan Moir’s catty rant as data. But the knocking copy keeps on coming.

And the latest comes from Viv Groskop, who is unhappy about the swearing. Er, excuse me, someone from the Mail doesn’t like swearing? Two more points here: one, swearing is de rigueur at any meeting featuring Paul Dacre, and two, frequent swearing, whether the Mail approves or not, is part of everyday life – across the whole of the class spectrum.

It’s feeble stuff. And it still won’t get them an interview with Ms Rowling.

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