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

ABC Introduces Groundbreaking Polygamist Season of The Bachelor

4F388950-CE55-4ABD-B12B-293A76F957CE

20 February 2020
Los Angeles, California 

In wake of the Utah senate’s recent move to decriminalize polygamy, production staff for ABC’s hit reality dating show, The Bachelor, are struggling to keep up with Utah’s surprisingly-woke agenda. Reality show blogger, entertainment correspondent, and part-time stalker, Kale McBirkenstock, has confirmed that fans can expect big changes for the show’s upcoming season.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s going to be one heck of a season,” reported Ms. McBirkenstock. “Imagine all of the drama of The Bachelor, but—like—multiplied by a gluten-free baker’s dozen. There will be more roses and more girls than ever; just peering through the window of the mansion during filming made my allergies flare up and my estrogen levels reach a dangerous high.”

It’s certainly an exciting prospect. ABC’s The Bachelor and its companion shows, The Bachelor-But-Like-a-Girl-This-Time and Drunk-Decision Island, are considered by many cultural critics to be the great unifier of the American people.

“Well you know,” said long-time viewer Fanny Applauson, “Monday nights are very special, especially here in Utah.”

Indeed, every Monday, American viewers of all walks of life set aside their differences and gather their friends and loved ones to tune into approximately two hours of what has never once been hailed as “high-stakes competition” and “profound dialogue.”

What else can we expect from this new reality TV experiment? Our readers will surely want to know. When asked, McBirkenstock hastened to assure us that this season will not disappoint: “It’s sure to be yet another ‘most dramatic season in Bachelor history.'”

“Of course, there will be some differences,” McBirkenstock continued to explain. “The wardrobe, for instance, will be as colorful as ever, but with a significant increase in cap-sleeves and cardigans.”

When can we expect to see the premiere of this show? Rumor has it that the first episode of the polygamist Bachelor—officially titled Sister Brides—will air sometime in September, taking the place of Dancing with the Stars because, honestly, who still watches that?

“It’s really an experimental move for ABC,” explained McBirkenstock. “A polygamist dating show is risky since the alpha male could immediately propose to every contestant on the first night and end the season after only one episode. So make sure you’re watching, #BachelorNation!”

 

 

Progressive Peasant Comes out as “Royal We”

 

fullsizeoutput_687

Norwich, England
Bleak Midwinter, 1275

Breaking news as progressive peasant, Eustace of Norwich, has bravely come out as the “Royal We.” Eustace is long since deceased, but crews from the BBC just arrived on the scene because they got caught up trying to say “progressive peasant” five times fast. Fortunately, they were able to secure an interview with one of Eustace’s living descendants.

When asked to explain her ancestor’s choice to identify by the pluralis maiestatis rather than traditional commoner pronouns such as “him” or “her,” Tynnifer of Norwich explained, “We did not wish to reduce Ourselves to one gender or one singular person. We felt that ‘We’ better-communicated Our nobility. ”

When informed that her ancestor was a single male peasant, Tynnifer rolled her eyes and replied, “No, We were not. We were royals.”

Historians from the BBC were able to unearth genealogies proving Eustace of Norwich’s short life as one of drudgery and homespun wool (the typical life of a peasant) but Tynnifer of Norwich shook her head in disappointment and remarked, “How very old-fashioned. No, that’s not true at all. We were born a peasant, but We were brave enough to identify as Royal in the face of repression.”

“We always felt that We were more,” she added.

Or rather, We added? They added? Her Majesty added? The reporter, trying very hard to recall the proper grammar, began to quake nervously and asked Tynnifer if she was talking about her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent Eustace or herself or whether, perhaps, there might be anyone else with her.

“We are not amused,” said Tynnifer seriously. “We are talking about Us. We are alone. We do not see how that is confusing at all. We think that you need to be more open-minded.”

To avoid accusations of discrimination, the BBC reporter hastily thanked Tynnifer for the interview and hurried home to breathe into a paper bag and recite the rules of grammar over a nonjudgemental cup of tea.

Taylor Swift Fan, 23, Continues to Identify as 22

14 November 2019
Los Angeles, California

A local young woman’s birthday party took a shocking turn as she announced, in reply to well-wishers’ shouts of “Surprise!” that she was not turning 23 at all, but would rather continue to live her best life as a 22-year-old.

“I just couldn’t see myself as a 23-year-old,” said local artist and birthday-revolutionary Kale McBirkenstock. “You see, I just don’t think I accomplished everything I was meant to do this past year and think maybe continuing on as a 22-year-old is best.”

When asked what exactly she meant to accomplish, Kale replied, “Well, I obviously did a lot of the things on my list… I dressed up like a hipster almost every day and made fun of my ex once or twice, but never once did I have breakfast at midnight or fall in love with a stranger! I mean, what was I doing with all my time?”

Kale later admitted that she’d spent a good deal of summer 2019 binging “Stranger Things” on Netflix and that art school has been taking up most of her time this semester. Still, she was apparently shocked that she had not made the time to also “ditch the whole scene” and “end up dreaming instead of sleeping.”

“It’s just so sad,” said Kale’s best friend, Tynnifer. “She’s such a determined person and still didn’t manage to achieve all her goals…but I think it’ll be alright if she keeps on dancing like she’s 22.”

Another party attendee was not nearly so affirming, stating somberly, “It looks like bad news…” The attendee refused further comment.

When asked whether she was maybe taking her Taylor Swift obsession too far in trying to actually live the lyrics to hit song, “22,” Kale replied seriously, “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway?” and returned to her party of cool kids.

 

Breaking: Choir Director’s Eyebrows Ascend into Heaven as Choir Goes out of Tune

images

13 October 2019

Los Angeles, California- A local church choir has been thrust into the spotlight as reports are circulating that the choir director’s eyebrows have been, prematurely, raptured.

“It was truly a miracle,” said long-time congregation member and greeter Jim Dennison. “I was sitting in the pews listening to the choir and suddenly I saw what I thought was a dove descending over the conductor—”

“—but it wasn’t,” added his wife, Donna Dennison, “It was the poor dear’s eyebrows. They lifted right off her face and up to heaven.”

Reporters followed the rumors from the local Claim Jumper (where many congregation members lunch on Sunday afternoons) to First Episcopal Church, where they were permitted an interview with Mrs. Laura Bell, music director and eyebrow escape victim. However, while the ascension of her eyebrows took her by surprise, Mrs. Bell explained that she supposed she had had it coming for years.

“You see,” said Mrs. Bell, “When the choir begins to go flat, I always raise my eyebrows to remind them to keep their pitch up.”

When asked what went wrong this time, she sighed and confessed that the choir simply had not been watching. Instead, their pitch just continued to sink and her eyebrows continued to rise. She lifted them so high, it seems, that the Lord decided to put them out of their misery and simply call them home before their time.

“It was remarkable,” said First Episcopal’s Rev. Seymore Orwell. “Truly a sign from above. It reminds me of Psalm 121, which I believe is, all things considered, perhaps more rightfully translated, ‘I will lift up mine eyebrows.'”

When asked what she plans to do next, Mrs. Bell shrugged. “It’s alright,” she said. “The choir had a grand time and, besides, I’ve always wanted to try bangs.”

 

Nation’s Organists Rally to Fight Stereotypes as Halloween Draws Near

9 October 2019 Los Angeles, California

Nearing the middle of October, spooky season is in full swing and Halloween celebrants across the nation are gathering their pumpkins, brooms, and ominous soundtracks in preparation for their night of revelry. Halloween has long been a time of community, of neighbors sharing chili on the front porch, children meeting for trick-or-treating, schools pausing their lessons for costume parades and apple bobbing. In fact, it seems that perhaps even more than Thanksgiving, Halloween has become a means of bringing people together despite their prejudices.

One demographic, however, continues to feel misunderstood and intends to use this Halloween season to make new strides toward social awareness: organists. As Halloween hosts cue up their perfect party playlist, organ music annually finds renewed appreciation. Toccata and Fugue in D minor, “The Phantom of the Opera,” and the Haunted Mansion theme are among the most popular organ pieces sure to make comebacks this Halloween. While some organists are amused by the use of their music for creepy ambiance, others are speaking out against the stereotypes that it represents.

“Organists across the nation have suffered in silence long enough,” says Frank Steinbeck, chapter president of the National Association of Organists. Steinbeck has long been a contender for organist appreciation and intends to utilize the pipe organ’s Halloween spotlight as a platform to speak out.

“Organ stereotypes have hurt too many,” he said in an interview with The Daily Weak, “Just last week, my buddy Paul Stopford was turned down on a date because he was an organist.”

“It’s true,” added Stopford in a follow-up interview. “She said she couldn’t date me because I play the organ— said I was too creepy for her taste.”

When asked if his rejection might have also had to anything to do with the mask and cloak he was wearing (completely veiling his face and person in foreboding mystery) he declined to comment and instead vanished into thin air.

“Too many have suffered,” claims Steinbeck. “And this ends now.” At this, the opening lines of Bach’s Toccata played apparently from nowhere, though Steinbeck did not seem to notice.

Along with his local chapter, Steinbeck is calling organists to speak out against stereotypes and has even gone so far as to organize an awareness march outside of a local costume shop. Footage from the march shows a small mass of organists holding signs bearing slogans such as “Organists are not only swell, they’re great!”

While the march was, unfortunately, shut down by the police due to rowdiness, it did — accidentally — succeed in increasing the number of registered organ donors in the town.  Not discouraged, the participants expressed a desire for the press and public to know that they represent a diverse range of backgrounds and are united by their desire to eradicate prejudice against organists.

“Just because lightning flashes with every chord I play doesn’t mean I’m evil,” said long-time church organist and amateur murder mystery writer Rodger Turnpage. “It’s probably just an electrical issue.”

Other organists have added to the conversation, claiming October as “Organist Awareness Month” and sharing their stereotype stories online and on church bulletin boards via the hashtag #organfailure. Tweets such as “We are more than Toccata and Fugue in D minor” are circulating the Twitter world or, at least, they would be if any organists knew about Twitter.

“We just hope that as people listen to our music shuffled in with ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ they will realize that we organists are not monsters; we just want our music to be heard,” concluded Steinbeck.

And with that final, powerful plea, Frank Steinbeck, chapter president and social justice warrior, limped off among the tombstones and into the foggy night, never to be seen again.

*Watch this promotional video by an anonymous local organist and share to help end organist stereotyping! #organfailurenolonger

 

Poll: Best Part of Movies are Concessions

 

PHOENIX, ARIZONA- Polling of consumers leaving a current blockbuster film reveal that the best part of the movies are, indeed, the concessions.

“But we don’t just mean popcorn and jumbo sodas!” said customer relations director Jack Hughs. “It turns out that the concessions made by viewers are what allow them to enjoy almost any movie that the market produces.”

When asked what kinds of concessions, Mr. Hughs replied, “Oh, there are a wide variety, much like our candy selection.”

These include:

  • ignoring obvious plot holes
  • Junior Mints
  • allowing for archetypal characters with little to no development
  • excusing poor pacing
  • never expecting singers to actually sing
  • Mike and Ikes
  • being dazzled by painful CGI animation
  • extra-butter popcorn
  • excusing the cliche and predictable as “heartwarming”
  • extra medium diet fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan soda water
  • ignoring lazy filming mistakes
  • enjoying soundtracks that sound roughly like pop radio
  • nachos
  • excusing cultural or historical inaccuracy for the sake of a good story

“We are thinking of expanding our menu to incorporate all of these,” said Mr. Hughs.

95% of those polled, including Local Millennial Kale McBirkenstock, are in favor of this.

“People come to the movies to be entertained, plain and simple,” Miss McBirkenstock said when interviewed. “I mean, I just want to watch something that makes me- like- not even.”

Her boyfriend, Lux Filterton, added, “Yeah, after all, the point of art is to just give you all the feels. Oh, and the more gratuitous violence, sex, and language, the (expletive) better…those are powerful literary techniques, right?”

This poll reveals potentially good news for the film industry, though; the less thought consumers want to put into their viewing experience, the less thought producers need to put into their cinema. As a result, nearly 200 new movies are expected to premiere between January and February alone and, while critics are lamenting the decline of well-crafted storytelling, crowds are applauding what has been described as “spectacle…without all that nasty substance.”

 

____________ Publishers Release New “Mad Lib” Editions Just in time for Holidays

IMG_6097
An excerpt from Gone with the ________, one of the classics scheduled for rerelease in Mad Lib Edition by _________ Publishers.

NEW YORK, NY- Prominent journal and book publishing company formerly known as Weakly Publishers has changed its title to “________ Publishers” in light of their new initiative, the ‘Mad Lib Editions.’

Books and journals formerly published by this company will be reprinted in new, special edition ‘Mad Lib’ format during this holiday season. Or, should we say, this __________ season.

“‘Mad Lib’ format is a new style we are very excited about,” said chief editor Richard Washy. “Basically, the reader is able to make the book or article into whatever they want!”

Mr. Washy went on to explain that this new format is simple in design but sure to thrill readers of all tastes because it has the capability of appealing to all by saying absolutely nothing definite. Any adjective, pronoun, or even name that is potentially off-putting to readers is replaced with a ___________ in which the reader may insert whatever word they would  prefer. This allows for a comfortable reading experience, which is perfectly in line with _________ Publisher’s mission statement of “Making the World a __________ Place, One _________ at a Time,” as well as their belief that reading is intended to be, as intern Kale McBirkenstock describes it, “a sort of silent Netflix, but with less thinking.”

Marketing specialists at ____________ Publishers predict that bestsellers of these new releases will include titles such as:

  •  Make America _______ Again
  • To ________ a Mockingbird
  • The Origin of ________
  • Moby _______
  • and, of course, the highly anticipated second edition of __________

The publishing agency declined to release more titles, but promises that upwards of 50 books will be reprinted as official ‘Mad Lib Titles.’

“I’m really excited about this initiative,” commented a popular paranormal romance author who preferred to remain anonymous. “It could really help the sales of my books to cut some of the actual writing.”

Focus group results are positive as well, with feedback such as:

“Wow! I never knew reading could be so much fun!”

“Wait, it says to insert a noun. What’s a noun?”

“I had no idea that all of the hobbits in the Fellowship of the Ring were female socialists! Wonderful plot twist!”

And, to the delight of Mr. Washy and the board of executives, “I’ve never before felt so comforted by a novel! Who knew that Where the ____ Fern Grows had such an uplifting ending!”

“It is wonderful to hear that already ‘Mad Lib’ books are making reading a pleasant, affirming experience for people of all preferences,” stated Mr. Washy at the close of his interview.

In the spirit of Mad Lib books, it does indeed seem that there is a bright, if indefinite, future for the _____________ of literature at _____________ Publishing.

Knox Knock: Protestant Parents Reform Halloween Door-to-Door Tradition

OCTOBER, 2017: SCOTTSDALE, AZ- As families of children and teens work together to plan their annual Halloween festivities, one family is changing up their traditions, or, rather, continuing those began 500 years ago.

“We don’t celebrate Halloween,” said Mrs. Geneva Knox, mother of four, as she welcomed reporters, sharing both her insights and her gluten-sugar-dairy-and-taste-free porridge snacks.

“No,” added her husband, Mr. William Knox, as he coughed his way through the snacks. “That’s just a terrible day… all about devils and sugar…not healthy spiritually or physically!”

Mrs. Knox nodded in agreement and explained that instead of succumbing to the lure of free candy and unholy costumes, she and Mr. Knox would be starting a new door-to-door tradition with their children. Rather than miss out on the fun of trick-or-treating, the Knox family is reforming this annual romp according to their faith.

“It’s really perfect,” said Mr. Knox. “Everyone is so excited for Halloween, but what they should be excited for is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation! I mean, why knock on doors asking for candy when you could instead follow the spirit of Martin Luther and nail Theses to doors?”

Instead of dressing in this years’ popular Wonder Woman and Stranger Things costumes, the four Knox children will be donning authentic Benedictine monk habits which they learned to sew themselves during their homeschool history lessons. Properly attired, they will then to go door-to-door to pass out copies of Luther’s 95 Theses, which they translated and hand-wrote during their homeschool penmanship lessons. Should homeowners not answer the door to their knocking, Mr. and Mrs. Knox are planning to supply their children with a sufficient number of thumb tacks and toy hammers so that they may continue to live in the spirit of Luther and attached their Theses to the doors regardless.

“We would not want to leave any houses out just because they don’t answer!” explained Mrs. Knox.

However, those who do answer are in for a special surprise; not only will they receive their own copy of Luther’s 95 Theses, they will also be treated to a rousing a cappella rendition of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” sung by the four children.

“I’m excited to sing,” said Grace-Alone, the youngest Knox daughter, “but I must confess I miss getting candy…”

Grace was quickly nudged into silence by her twin sister Faith and handed a consolatory cheese curd by her brother Zwingli.

“Yes, I know it is hard for the children to pass up on candy when everyone else is eating it,” acknowledged Mr. Knox, “but we, like Luther, do not believe in indulgences.”

When asked whether they were excited to go door-to-door on Reformation Day, the Knox children had mixed responses. Grace still mourned her forgone candy, but brothers Zwingli, age 12, and Calvin, age 15, were enthusiastic about their endeavor.

“I’m willing to give it a try,” said Zwingli. “It could be fun!”

“Yeah,” agreed Calvin, “With our costumes and handwritten copies, we will be irresistible!”

The Knox family is hoping to promote their idea as a safe and spiritual alternative for Protestant fun this Halloween. Perhaps they will start a trend amongst likeminded families, themselves serving to reform traditions and continue those began 500 years ago.

“Whether it works is not the focus,” concluded Mr. Knox, “as we feel we are fully justified in this endeavor.”

Students Starve as College Cuts Pizza from Menu

Tens of students at a local college are suffering from varying degrees of starvation as the school dining service recently decided to cut pizza from its daily meal offerings. 

“I just don’t know what else to do,” sobbed one student, his stomach growling in agreement. “I mean, what am I supposed to do? I’ve been living off of French fries and this weird greenish stuff for the past week!”

Upon further investigation, it was found that the “weird greenish stuff” was kale from the cafeteria’s salad bar. 

“We are just trying to promote healthy eating,” explained the head chef. “We felt that contantly offering pizza was not encouraging a good -” 

At this point, the chef was abruptly cut off as a mob of hangry (a term meaning both hungry and angry) students tackled him, chanting “Pizza! Piece of pizza! Peace for pizza!”

Tackling the chef was not exactly “peace for pizza” but it was one example of the intense activism that is cropping up throughout the student body in light of what is being called “The Great Pizza Famine of 2017.”

“I don’t know, man,” said one student. “2016 was bad enough, so we had high hopes for this year…but this…this is too awful.”

Tweets by upset students such as “Make our cafeteria great again! Bring pizza back! 😖 #ThanksTrump” and “Give us this day our daily pizza!” are becoming a norm. 

Time will tell if the school dining coordinators will cave to the demands of their students. In the meantime, the number of students who have succumbed to starvation in the absence of their daily pizza is steadily rising. 

In the meantime, YOU can help! One concerned and wealthy community member has started a charity to ease the pain of the crisis! Simply text 555-555-PIZZA to donate 4.5 slices of pepperoni to hungry college students.