googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: JK Rowling & her "enchantingly nasty" Rita Skeeter: Rough times ahead for the Murdochs?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

JK Rowling & her "enchantingly nasty" Rita Skeeter: Rough times ahead for the Murdochs?

JK Rowling
Harry Potter author JK Rowling created her very own nasty journalist for the series. Rita Skeeter – who had mastered the art of Transfiguration and could turn herself into a beetle to gather information undetected for her poison letters she published in the Daily Prophet – was of questionable virtue. Dumbledore said her writings were ""enchantingly nasty."

And now her creator, JK Rowling, will be facing the nasty journalists who – she claims – hacked her phones and invaded her privacy.

The first shoe of Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into phone hacking and media ethics has dropped, and 46 people have been named as "core participants" for the first phase of the inquiry.  In October these 46 famous people will start giving evidence (the hearings will be televised) in the magnificent Royal Courts of Justice in London (designed by the frustrated architect as a cathedral).
Rita Skeeter interviews Harry Potter

This is not the first brush with press invasion that JK Rowling has had. She won a court case in 2008 when a tabloid took photographs of her young son in a push chair in Edinburgh.

As a core participant, Rowling will be represented by a barrister and can seek to cross-examine witnesses and make opening and closing statements.  Anyone wonder what the author will say in her statements? Tune in to your television sets! She will also be entitled to public funding for her legal expenses, but the billionaire author certainly does not need this (from the time the Harry Potter idea and characters burst fully-formed into her mind while on a train journey, to her wealth improving from being on welfare and writing in cafes while taking her young child for a walk, to her billion dollar wealth, took only five years).
Hugh Grant

Rowling will join the likes of Hugh Grant, another celebrity annoyed by the persistent prying into private lives of the press.

In Part 1 of his Inquiry, Levenson will examine the ethics of the press:
Lord Justice Leveson said the hearing would examine the relationship between the press and the public, the press and the police and the press and politicians... He said he would initially look into the "culture, practice and ethics" of the press before moving on to the extent of any improper conduct.
What Hugh Grant and JK Rowling say when they stand up in the venerable court to give their evidence could well influence the findings of the inquiry regarding a new set of rules governing the rights of the press and the relationship of press and politicians – the limits that "should be placed on what intrusive behaviour is justifiable in the public interest," as the Lord Justice puts it.

And not just The Core 46 may give evidence:
It is then open to anyone to submit evidence to the Inquiry, to attend the evidence sessions, and to suggest lines of questioning to counsel to the Inquiry.
It'll be interesting to see what types of questioning the public volunteers. Can we expect Facebook pages ("Facebook46" anyone?) to spring up, collecting questions to be submitted to the Inquiry? And, of course, hashtags for the gazillions of Twitter tweets that are bound to surface (#core46? #dirtypress? #hackquestions?)

JK Rowling is no stranger to Twitter, of course (she has her own tweet account - http://twitter.com/#!/jk_rowling - and has one for the new website she has set up to contain details of the Harry Potter world - http://twitter.com/#!/pottermore and the website at http://www.pottermore.com/ ).
Unity Mitford gives the Nazi salute

Rowling's twitter account has 437,000 followers right now, and a million people have been granted access to the Pottermore website so far (you have to pass a Quill Test to be allowed to access the site).

Hugh Grant claimed he had the tapes:
But then, Hugh Grant said this kind of activity wasn’t anything new, that he’d actually recorded another reporter saying that he’d done the same thing.
Lord Justice Levenson is going to make sure that the Core 46 feel at home at the Inquiry, and at ease when giving evidence:
Lord Leveson said those who felt “particularly anxious or nervous” could be introduced through their own counsel to get used to talking in court. “For some, the giving of evidence is indeed a difficult exercise and I will want to make that exercise as easy an experience as possible on the basis that this is not a trial,” he said. “I am simply looking at a series of issues to obtain a series of recommendations. I am not unmindful of the pressures of giving evidence.”
Anybody think that Rowling or Grant will need reassurance from their counsel to get used to talking court? Fat chance!
Pottermore website: a magic quill

I especially like the fact that one of the famous Mitford girls became Rowling's heroine when young:
When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said "taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind", gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford's autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling's heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.
One of my next books has a starring role for Unity Mitford, the young woman who stalked Hitler and became a close friend of the German Chancellor. When the Second World War broke out, she shot herself in the Tiergarten in Munich with a gun Hitler had given her, but survived, dying several years later.

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