And now, for something a little lighter.

In my life, I have been an Episcopalian and an evangelical–and I even took a shot at being a Buddhist in between. Now I am none of the above.  I did eventually circle back to Christianity, but that is another story for another time.

The interest in Buddhism was in part because it was exotic and had cool chants, but was primarily the result of being a fan of Joseph Campbell of “The Power of Myth” fame. Campbell was born and raised a Roman Catholic and drifted toward Buddhism toward the end of his life. Despite his increasing antipathy toward Christianity, Campbell actually did some great work in the field of mythology and ritual. He was practically required reading for libs back in the ’90s under the mantra of “Follow your bliss!”

But throughout my spiritual journey, I have always been a big fantasy fan and often journeyed with Sam and Frodo to Mordor during particularly lonely stretches of my youth. I still make a point of reading The Lord of the Rings every autumn. So it was hardly a surprise when “back in the day” my mother mailed me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Of course, I read it and was hooked, along with millions of other people around the world. Not to the point that I tried to figure out what house I was in, went to the theme park, or bought any merch.  I just enjoyed a good read.* The stories offered the classic archetypes of good versus evil, friendship, and sacrifice. And hell, they were just fun.

This brings me to my latest example of how humanity is destined to become an unidentifiable substance in a forgotten Tupperware container at the back of God’s refrigerator.

If you have read the books, seen the movies, or have not been living in a swamp for the last two decades, you know that quidditch is a sport played by wizards and witches in the series’ universe. It became popular with real-life leagues sprouting up all over the world. Fox News reports that the International Quidditch Association and US Quidditch, also known as Major League Quidditch (I’ll pause while you alternately gag and laugh), have dropped the word “quidditch” and that the sport is now known as quadball.

Quadball. Even the name sounds pathetic. For the love of all creatures great and small, is there anything that the woke generation can touch that won’t go up in ashes or immediately turn a depressing shade of grey? Who in the hell wants to play quadball? It sounds like one of those games elementary school gym teachers make up to keep the little monsters busy so they can sneak out for a smoke. Hey, kids! Who’s up for quadball? Anyone? Anyone? Okay, talk amongst yourselves.

One reason for the switch is that the leagues want to be free of the copyright encumbrances from Warner Brothers. Fair enough. I suppose all of the terms used in the game are not copyrighted, right? Yeah, I’ll wait right here while you go check.

Related: Harry Potter and the Transphobic Author 

Of course, we all know the real impetus of the rebranding. Author J.K. Rowling committed the ultimate sin by not being woke enough and speaking up on behalf of biological women. Never mind that Rowling has explicitly stated that she believes people can call themselves whatever they want and that consenting adults are free to do what they wish. That, of course, was not good enough. It never is. And never mind that these people may identify as a woman one day, a man the next, and a Unitarian porcupine the day after that. They didn’t get what they wanted, as they wanted it and when they wanted it. And dammit, somebody has to pay, even if it is the creator of quidditch herself. If you need a chuckle, follow the link to the story on Fox News and you will see photos of alleged adults who seem to be simultaneously suffering from arrested maturation and broomstick envy.

Can you imagine how bland, how boring, and how depressing the series would be if Rowling were to try to write the books today? Witches and wizards would be “persons of magic.” Every character would need the full set of xi, xim, xer, or whatever, depending on how they identified that day. Professor Lupin would have had to change his pronouns to wolfself or wolfx every full moon. Hagrid would have to be “furry.” The sorting hat would become the sorting beanie. And realistically, Voldemort would have killed them all in the middle of a struggle session in the Great Hall. Now perhaps everyone may have been those things, but had the novels been written today, they would have had to have been those things. The quidditch secessionists and the rest of the mob would have settled for nothing else.

I have it on good authority from healthcare professionals that when calculating things such as cardiac risk, biological sex is an extremely important factor. That is biology. That is reality. You can cut, copy, and paste whatever parts you like. You can paint your hair green, wear a dress, take hormones, and march until your shins give out. At the most basic level of existence, you are as you were when you came out of the womb, and nothing is going to change you into a man, woman, Gila monster, or even a troll or house elf. All the X’s in the world will not change what you are. One is free to call oneself a man, woman, or a banana. One can even plant one’s feet in a bucket of dirt, declare oneself to be a geranium, and wait to be watered every day. And if that is you, by all means, bloom where you are planted. Serious people have real things to worry about right now. But that does not change what one is, which it could be argued may have been Rowling’s point all along. And it has nothing to do with Harry Potter.

Rowling certainly does not need me to come to her defense; she has enough money to pretty much do as she wishes. And that’s great, but what is worth noting is that these people have decided that Rowling’s opinion was odious enough that they decided to change an important element of the story to suit their needs. In doing so these narcissists abandon one of the most important themes of the series: selfless sacrifice. Nothing matters but their egos. The only sacrifice that is important to these people is whatever someone else will give up for them. Let Harry, Hermione, and Ron be who they are. Let quidditch be quidditch. One of the reasons people read fiction is to forget about what a litterbox the world is becoming. There is no need to drag the litter in with you.

*May I also point out that I figured out that Harry was the last Horcrux months before the final book came out? No, as a matter of fact, I can’t prove it. Oh well, never mind, then.

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