In desperate need of therapy.
Laur Flom spends hundreds of hours ripping off the covers of Harry Potter books, tearing out their title pages and rebuilding them with self-designed covers that don't mention who wrote them.
This is not what a grown man, or grown woman, does. This is what a jilted 13-year-old girl does after the boy she thought was her boyfriend but totally wasn't her boyfriend even though he said he was her boyfriend dumps her which makes him a TOTAL LIAR and next thing you know she's deleting photos from her phone, ripping pages out of the yearbook, and trying to pull his varsity number off the wall of the gymnasium.
The jilted 13-year-old is clearly a troubled individual and is eventually sent to get some desperately needed counseling.
The trans book artist?
She gets a sympathetic profile in The Washington Post.
Flom, who is transgender and identifies as nonbinary, is a 23-year-old bartender in Toronto but moonlights as a printmaker and "book artist."
Flom calls herself "transgender" and identifies as "nonbinary."
That brings up an obvious question:
How can you be trans and nonbinary? If you choose to cut off body parts and bathe yourself in hormones you were never designed for which Flom appears to have done in order to turn yourself into a simulacrum of a sex you are not, doesn't that suggest you're kind of binary after all? Like, really, really committed to the whole binary thing?
It strikes me as more brand extension than anything else, an attempt to capture as much LGBTQ+ social media cred as possible.
Or, she's just confused.
So, I'm going to go with she/her for now given her artwork seems to suggest she's a trans man, and I refuse to use her preferred "they/them" pronouns which you will see in quoted passages from The Post piece. I consider those to be the silliest of all the pronouns given they are grammatically incorrect, confusing, and deeply narcissistic in a royal kind of way.
A Harry Potter fan since childhood, Flom says they were hurt by J.K. Rowling's transphobic comments in recent years. So about a year ago, Flom started a project to remove all mentions of the author's name and rebind the entire series with self-designed, self-made covers and end pages.
What makes Rowling so "transphobic" that the transgender nonbinary book artist bartender wanted to reimagine the author's books as having been written by someone else?
She supported someone who was fired for daring to say something factual.
In public, no less!
The rose-colored glasses eventually came off. In 2019, many fans were shocked when Rowling backed an anti-trans researcher who'd gotten fired for tweeting that women can't "change" their biological sex.
"Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling in general — they're too big to deplatform" ...
Flom fancies herself an "artist." She's an artist who is disappointed she can't silence another artist.
…adding that a boycott "feels like I'm not affecting her at all."
That is correct. No one cares that your feelings were hurt. This is an important life lesson for anyone to learn early on and one completely lost on Flom.
Naturally, the Washington Post having long since abandoned any pretense of journalistic ethics was all-too happy to use Flom to repeat deeply dishonest things about Rowling.
And deleting Rowling's name from the books doesn't remove her from what she created, Flom said. That's impossible. Her way of thinking is ingrained in what she wrote, which Flom noted, has been criticized for being anti-Asian and fatphobic. Instead of ignoring the books, readers should analyze them critically to uncover and call out those kinds of prejudices, Flom said.
Let's take on the charge that Rowling is anti-Asian first.
After learning that Rowling considered biological sex a reality, Katie Leung, the Asian actor who played the character "Cho Chang," in the series came after Rowling in a tweet thread.
So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang? Okay, here goes...(thread)
Ooh, this was going to be good, right? She was going to lay out how very anti-Asian the name "Cho Chang" was in a furious tweet thread!
Except she didn't. Her fiery tweet thread consisted of a bunch of links supporting various transgender causes.
That, and a handful more like that. That was it. This was the link The Washington Post chose to support their anti-Asian charge.
Absent even an attempt at an argument, The Post just wants us to believe that the name Cho Chang was itself somehow anti-Asian. It must be, right? There is just one tiny little problem with that.
Cho is a Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino name. As a Japanese name it is derived from the word chou, meaning "butterfly". Chang is a common Chinese family name meaning "free" or "unhindered". In Chinese, chou chang means "melancholy". This may allude to Cho's fragile emotional state following Cedric Diggory's murder. Cho may also be an English variant of her given name chou, meaning autumn. In the Mandrain translations of Harry Potter, the name "Cho Chang" is translated into "Zhang Qiu"[张秋] (in Chinese, surnames come before the first name), with "Zhang" being a common Chinese surname and a variant of the name "Chang", and "Qiu" meaning "autumn". As the name Cho Chang is considered to be Chinese, the Mandarin translation may give a hint as to what the name may mean.
Don't you hate it when facts get in the way of your narrative?
Oh. you'll find arguments supporting the anti-Asian charge but they come off as tortured attempts to defame Rowling, to shoehorn a square argument into a round narrative.
By the way, even if "Cho Chang" was intended to be silly, so what? Silly character names are rife in Harry Potter.
- Bellatrix Lestrange.
- Luna Lovegood.
- Professor Slughorn.
Shut up and burn the book anyway!
Again, using the Post's own link, here is the argument for Rowling being fatphobic.
Rowling repeatedly puts down her fat characters.
Hagrid is a good guy in the series...
Um, he's a good guy. One of the heroes.
It doesn't get more fatphobic than that.
But wait, it's not just that.
...but he's still put down for his appearance.
And yes, Hagrid's appearance is comically outsized. There are many possible reasons for this. Perhaps he has an eating disorder. Maybe a thyroid issue.
Or, oh yeah, maybe he's a half-giant.
Hagrid... is later described as "simply too big to be allowed" because he's a half-giant, not a normal wizard.
Rowling is clearly hateful towards mythical beings who don't exist in real life.
You know, like men who can become woman on nothing but a wish.
Oh, but there is yet more evidence of Rowling's hateful hatridy-hate towards fat people!
On the very first page of the first book, Vernon is introduced as a villainous, "beefy man."
And to think, this is supposed to be a children's book.
There's more weak tea like that, but that's pretty much it. That's the evidence that Rowling is "fatphobic." Some of the larger characters, many of whom are based on beings who don't exist, are portrayed in a not-100% positive light which is now necessary lest someone find offense.
(The fact that the villains are almost uniformly svelte is mysteriously not raised.)
Incidentally, the author of that piece started off noting that,
I have a history of an eating disorder that I'm dealing with in therapy as an adult, and I want my kids to be free of diet culture.
This is not journalism. This is not even an opinion piece.
This is a group therapy session.
Which brings us back to Flom.
Flom received her current notoriety when a TikTok video she made of her work went viral, which of course it did as it offered trans activists yet another platform to go after Rowling.
But the blowback has been fierce after the viral video found its way to J.K. Rowling fans and transphobes over the past few weeks, Flom said. Thousands have flocked to Flom's TikTok to comment. Some argue that no matter what Rowling said or how problematic her views, she's still the author of Harry Potter and should be recognized as such. Others echo her transphobic opinions, arguing that "she's stating facts,"
Editors Note: She's stating facts.
But at its core, Flom's project has always been one that's more or less personal. They wanted a full set of the books on their bookshelf but didn't want Rowling's name on them. Now they have that. Since the project began, others said they wanted that, too, and Flom said they're glad to have helped.
These are the people to which The Washington Post decides to give a platform. Flom is a disposable tool useful for the moment to go after one of a handful of influential people who refuse to bow to their preposterous fantasies.
That they gin up violent radicals is perfectly okay with them. It might even be the point, the better to silence critics.
Incidentally, Flom's art is readily available. Here is an example.
Wait a second, I have an idea.