My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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support for Jo Rowling, Don’t Look Up, Joan Didion

It’s movie week. Outside, snow; I guess it’s winter here, after all. Netflix and the fireplace are my companions.

Annie, Ruth, and I had a fabulous New Year’s Eve. They are two of the most interesting people on earth, with ideas, insight, travels, fascinating friends. The talk was gripping. Can’t wait to do it again. 

We watched Don’t Look Up. I enjoyed it a lot and don’t understand why it has generated such negativity. Yes, it’s broad and even silly sometimes and takes on obvious targets. But the topics are huge: politicians only interested in profit and polls are throwing citizens under the bus, the American media is appallingly shallow, and the world is heading into disaster by ignoring scientists. Adam McKay, director of another satirical film I loved, The Big Short, presents this dire scenario clearly and yet makes us laugh with a parade of great actors, particularly my favourite Mark Rylance as a sociopathic billionaire and an unrecognizable Cate Blanchett as a venal TV anchor. The film haunts me. Terrific.

Last night, I watched The Center Will Not Hold, a doc about Joan Didion. Fascinating. She’s terrifyingly thin throughout but particularly skeletal at the end; David Hare who worked on her play speaks about how he wanted most of all to fatten her up. She’s almost disturbingly detached about her life. A reporter always, groundbreaking, skilled, courageous.

And then the Hogwarts reunion, a twenty-year anniversary gathering of those involved with the Harry Potter films, came on. I intended to watch just a bit but ended up staying to the end – moving interviews with the young stars, who spent ten years of their young lives making the films, with the directors, with great British actors like Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, the hilarious Helena Bonham Carter. Finding out the actors who played the diabolical Malfoys are nice people, that Hermione in actuality had a huge crush on Draco … who knew?  

The doc could hardly have given shorter shrift to the magnificent, now controversial creator of all this magic: writer J. K. Rowling, who appears in a few brief clips. The Star recently printed a half page opinion article by a Torontonian telling us how very much all the books meant to her, but how now she despises the “cruel” “transphobic” JK. If she watches the reunion, she writes in the sweetest bit of virtue signalling, she’ll mitigate the “damage” she has done by making a donation to a pro-trans organization. The headline affirmed: “transphobic” Rowling. It’s simply accepted as fact.

As if a philanthropic writer who has donated huge amounts to charities particularly for women and children, who’s known as extremely open-minded and generous with her time and money, who created a series about the struggles and eventual triumph of a group of outsiders that has meant the world to countless young people – and older people too – is full of vicious hateful blind prejudice. That cast members of the film have parroted this rhetoric must be especially devastating for her, not to mention her near exclusion from a celebration of her extraordinary achievement. 

Has the Twitter mob bothered to read what she actually said? Her thoughtful essay is below. It matters. 

The issue of gender and sexual orientation is incredibly complex; we’re still learning and figuring out how to deal with different orientations and biologies. Rather than leaping to condemn, at least a writer who obviously – obviously! – is not a despicable bigot, we on both sides of this and any other issue need to be able to talk to each other without hatred, recrimination, and blame.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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