Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.

InfoWars Ban: Why Hermione Granger is Smiling

SPOTLIGHT: The people who made the concerted decision this week to remove InfoWars.com content from Facebook, YouTube, and iTunes need to go back and re-read the fifth Harry Potter book.

BIG PICTURE: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix features an authoritarian headmistress named Dolores Umbridge, who accuses Harry of spreading fake news.

Obsessed with silencing him, she repeatedly and grotesquely makes him write lines with a magical quill that carves the words “I must not tell lies” into the flesh of his hand.

Umbridge is the establishment. Intent on imposing an official reality, she infantilizes the teenagers in her care, leaving them ill-prepared for their senior examinations, as well as the real world.

The mainstream newspaper, The Daily Prophet, is in cahoots with the government of the day, which prefers not to confront certain unpleasant realities. So Harry gives an interview to the alternative press.

The Quibbler is a wacky magazine that prints mostly nonsense, including outlandish conspiracy theories. But the public is hungry for more than one point-of-view, and the edition with Harry’s interview sells out quickly.

When Umbridge bans the magazine, promising to expel any student caught with a copy, Harry’s brainy friend, Hermione, is quietly triumphant:

‘What exactly are you so happy about?’ Harry asked her.

‘Oh, Harry, don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!”

TOP TAKEAWAY: Two days ago, Alex Jones, the man behind InfoWars.com, said the ban by tech giants Facebook, Google, and Apple had raised his profile to such a degree that 5.6 million additional people now subscribe to his newsletter.

LINKS:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling
  • A screenshot of Facebook’s explanation for the ban is here. I’ve added some highlighting. Who knew that Facebook thinks it’s in the business of making people ‘feel safe.’ Pablum is safe.
  • read a brief excerpt from the book here

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted on August 10, 2018 by in ethical & philosophical, free speech and tagged , , , .
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