Dear Mr. Potter: An Open Letter on Cancel Culture

Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging
Surrey

Dear Mr. Potter,

We at the Ministry of Magic are writing to inform you of a significant occurrence of which it is imperative that you be informed. To put it bluntly, you are now thrice-orphaned.

The passing of your heroic father and mother, Lily and James, is a loss we still mourn here at the Ministry; their deaths represent a sacrifice—a light which guided us through dark days and which continues to inspire us in the growing chaos of this new era.

Now, it is with great sympathy that we must inform you that not only are you parentless, but also author-less. Your single authoress, who so confidently created and raised you and, in so doing, broke ground for women, single parents, and abuse survivors, has been caught in the crossfire of a spell which we never expected to see used in our modern, educated era: the dreaded ignorare vim extermina curse.

While we are all no doubt aware of the evils of the banned avada kedavra curse—we apologise for even having penned it!—the ignorare vim extermina is even worse. While the former leads to bodily death, the latter enacts a sort of “cancellation,” in which the victim is erased from culture but not from existence. It is perhaps similar to the effect of dementors—those horrid soul-sucking beasts which are only unleashed on the worst of criminals. Worse, though, your Author is allowed to keep her soul and her body, she has been denied the exercise of her voice, mind, and pen; she has suffered the most devastating of vanishing spells.

Just think, Mr. Potter, how cruel the fate of an Author who is denied the freedom of her pen! It is worse than having your wand snapped and your tongue tied by a misused hex. You must accept our sincerest condolences.

Doubtless this is terrible news for you; we are assured, however, that although your Author is suffering the cancellation curse, you will be permitted to continue managing mischief as usual. The perpetrators of the ignorare vim extermina spell are, as of now, willing to spare you, though we advise you to exercise extreme caution. One ill-quilled Howler will no doubt send you into oblivion as well. As awful as it is to be thrice-orphaned, it would be undoubtedly worse to also be obliterated.

We want also to leave you with the final words of your dear Author, penned just before she was miraculously erased from societal recognition:

“It would be much easier to tweet the approved hashtags . . . scoop up the woke cookies and bask in a virtue-signalling afterglow. There’s joy, relief, and safety in conformity.”

Clearly, although conformity would be the easy choice, your dearly-disappeared Author is choosing to uphold the courage which she sought to imbue in her children, her characters, and her many beloved readers. Now, we at the Ministry are not entirely sure what “tweets” and “hashtags” are, but believe them to be similar to posting on the Hogwarts notice boards or sending messages via owl. Regardless, we hope that these words encourage you, restoring you to the moral of your own story: to be as courageous as a Gryffindor, as kind as a Hufflepuff, as discerning as a Ravenclaw, and as determined as a Slytherin.

We again express our deepest regrets for having to be the bearers of bad news, but we are choosing to trust that, as your dear Professor Dumbledore once said, “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if you remember to turn on the light.”

Perhaps your Author will return. Perhaps her words will prove stronger than the magic erasers of a culture of cancellation. Until then, Harry, remember to turn on the light.

Yours Regretfully and Respectfully,

Ryanne McLaren

Literary Representative
Phoenix Division, Ministry of Magic
Ravenclaw Class of 2015

6 thoughts on “Dear Mr. Potter: An Open Letter on Cancel Culture

  1. Stephen Cruver June 17, 2020 / 6:44 pm

    Thank you for writing such a brilliant response to what is happening in our world.This is the type of writing we need to expose skewed thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ryanne June 17, 2020 / 6:57 pm

      Thank you for your readership!

      Like

  2. Steven Thorn June 22, 2020 / 1:42 pm

    Cancellation is a truly frightening curse. It could happen to any of us at any time. It may yet happen to those who have canceled JKR; no one is progressive enough forever; we shall all eventually be canceled because we are all problematic to some degree and to someone.
    Heavy is the head that wears the socially progressive crown.
    It is a dogma of a different kind, with its own excommunication and unforgivable sins – but unlike some established orthodoxy, the rules are always changing.

    I am dismayed that cancelation kills dialogue. I don’t believe that JKR wishes harm to anyone, and I think some productive conversations, and disagreements, and living-with-disagreements-but-remaining-civil-and-maybe-even-friends, could take place if the conversations were allowed to take place. But they are not.

    I think Dumbledore had something to say about “waiting for the whole world to approve of you,” or think well of you, or something to that end? Lord knows I have had to learn to love those with whom I strongly disagree, especially since that particular event of Nov. 2016.

    I’m also frightened for Harry – even as I scribble musings in my Harry Potter journal in lieu of posting them on social media.

    “we apologise for even having penned it!”
    This made me chuckle.

    Let there be conversation, let there be disagreement, but let there be love, and let there be light.

    Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

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