Stephen King on ‘cancel culture’: ‘You’re going to be held accountable for what you say’

Is Stephen King still cancelled or nah? I only had a vague memory of it because 2020 was so chaotic. King started 2020 by getting in trouble on Twitter when he decided to do some bad tweets about diversity in Hollywood. Months later, he was back on the internet’s good side when he tweeted that trans women are women and JK Rowling blocked him out of transphobic spite. King is currently promoting the AppleTV+ adaptation of Lisey’s Story, which he scripted himself. The series stars Julianne Moore and Clive Owen (HOT), and he chatted with the Daily Beast about cancel culture, JK Rowling and a lot more – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

How he writes & how he’s so prolific: “I work every day for about three or four hours. I will go out and walk the dog, try to clear my head and get into a good place, and then I’ll work from, say, eight o’clock till eleven-thirty, or eight o’clock till noon—it depends how it goes that day. I think that if you have a regular schedule like that, you almost fall into a trance automatically. It’s like post-hypnotic suggestion, where you’re ready to work at that time. If I have to work at other times of the day I do, but I don’t love it! So, it’s not a 40-hour week. It’s a 28-hour week, but I still feel like a working guy.

How he felt during Election Week: “It was a terrible two or three days where nobody really knew what was going to happen, and I felt that if Trump got re-elected, I would have to take the gas pipe—not literally, but it was a scary time.

On cancel culture: “Yes, well, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity and all those people rail against “cancel culture” but they won’t say anything about the Republicans canceling Liz Cheney because she insisted that Trump was lying about all these things—which of course he was. Trump can’t deal with the idea of being a loser, and he started this thing that it would be a “stolen election,” the Big Lie, beforehand to hedge his bets. If he won, all was good; if not, it was a no-lose situation because he could always say that the thing was stolen from him, and his people would believe him. Along comes Liz Cheney and says, “That’s nothing but a f–king lie. He lost the g-ddamn election and you’re just making things worse.” So, the Republican House just turned around and canceled her—but they won’t talk about that. There’s a double standard there.

Why white dudes are mad about cancel culture: “As far as “cancel culture” itself goes, all that’s happening here—and I think a lot of conservatives hate it—is that the way they’re used to doing business no longer works as well as it used to. You’re going to be held accountable for what you say and what you do. That’s the American way, OK? There’s nothing odd about that, and there’s nothing radical about that. If you do the crime, you gotta do the time.

On JK Rowling blocking him on Twitter: “Jo canceled me. She sorta blocked me and all that. Here’s the thing: She is welcome to her opinion. That’s the way that the world works. If she thinks that trans women are dangerous, or that trans women are somehow not women, or whatever problem she has with it—the idea that someone “masquerading” as a woman is going to assault a “real” woman in the toilet—if she believes all those things, she has a right to her opinion. And then someone tweeted at me, “Do you think trans women are women?” and I said, “Yes, I do.” And that’s what she got angry about—my opinion. It’s like the old saying, “I don’t agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” So, nobody has “canceled” J.K. Rowling. She’s doing fine. I just felt that her belief was, in my opinion, wrong. We have differing opinions, but that’s life.

He doesn’t get Rowling’s transphobia either: “But keep in mind too that Jo’s opinion on trans women is an outlier in her entire political spectrum. She was very much anti-Brexit and very much anti-Trump. She’s on the side of the angels in most respects, but she does have this one thing that she’s very vehement about. No doubt.

What film adaptations are better than the books? “Well, I think that Brian De Palma’s film of Carrie is better than the book. It’s a question I’d have to chew over… I guess I would have to say Godfather I and II are probably better than the books. The books are good—they’re very plainspoken books—and the films are probably more artistic. Silence of the Lambs is a great movie, but I think the book is pretty great too, so that’s probably a dead heat.

[From The Daily Beast]

Just FYI, if you get the chance to read Thomas Harris’s books, please do so – there is so much more creepy sh-t and nuance in Hannibal, Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, etc. The movies are good, some of them are even great! But the books are amazing. As for what King says about Rowling… I mean, I get it. He doesn’t want to bad-mouth a fellow author publicly, so he takes pains to describe her bizarre, obsessive transphobia as just one bad thing in an otherwise good person. But that whole passage irritated me – yes, it’s her “opinion” and she has a “right” to it. But she and her ilk have done real cultural damage to trans rights and trans visibility.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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