Something that annoys me a bit about how people look at the mauraders especially in connection to Snape, is the classist element in it. Now, JKR comes from a society where classism is still very ingratiated in the social tissue.

Snape obviously comes from a working class background which is proven by the place he grew up in. James and Sirius – although Sirius rebelled against his family and left – were essentially very privileged and rich boys. James left a huge inheritance to Harry. So, the question of privilege is very important here and it’s not discussed often enough. James was all-around since birth a much more privileged person than Snape. So his bullying should also be placed in that context. I think this actually gives a new dimension to it as it cannot just be reduced to a question of antipathy. Snape and James weren’t equal in any way not just personality-wise but in a very deep social way – especially if we consider that we’re talking about 60-70s Britain. And of course, they would both be very aware of this as Malfoy was aware that Ron was poor because of the clothes he wore.

Quite honestly, very very very few current internet commentators seem to really grasp what JKR was pointing at with Snape and his background, and I think it’s partly because it’s so incredibly British in its depiction.  Class exists in other cultures, but it really permeates British society in a manner that’s difficult to really explain to anyone outside of the UK.

Snape’s poverty is also of its era; the deprivation alluded to is difficult for anyone who grew up in the last 15 or so years to completely appreciate.  That’s not to say that people can’t read up about it, but it’s not quite the same as having that first hand experience.  There’s a specificity about it which means that if your experiences are of the Blair era onwards, and/or you grew up in a different social class, you possibly won’t quite grasp it – not least because, thankfully, society has improved a lot in many areas.  

So much of what JK writes about Snape’s background relies on shared culture, as opposed to being categorically spelled out within the text.  Harry’s neglect and abuse is explicitly written; Snape’s is alluded to – and the disparity in how she depicts the two means that many miss what’s really being suggested when it comes to Snape.

Personally, I find her handling of Snape’s background incredibly deft.  That shared culture means that many people read the passage where Tobias is shouting at Eileen, and those people nod their heads and say, “I know exactly what went on in that house.”

Snape’s background is a depiction of endemic unending poverty, domestic unrest (and implied violence), and abject neglect.  It’s also why so many readers leap to the conclusion that Tobias is violent towards Eileen and towards Severus.  That presumption seems to leave so many on the internet baffled at such certainty when it’s not actually written in black and white – but what they’re missing is that JK has used a social shorthand that everyone ‘in’ on the meaning understands.

Furthermore, it’s rarely discussed, but there’s a very good reason why Lily responds to Snape’s Mudblood insult by highlighting his poverty and neglect.  Snape’s ‘greying’ pants aren’t about him being unclean – white clothes ‘grey’ when they’re old, and that’s what Lily’s remarking upon.  (After all, it seems unlikely that the kids are responsible for their own washing – you would’ve thought Harry would’ve whined about washing his socks and pants, as opposed to his magical homework. Do we really think Snape wasn’t washing his clothes, or rather that his clothing was substandard to begin with?) 

Notably, Snape highlighted her otherness in the magical world, and she threw his otherness in society right back at him.

And that’s just looking at his comparison with Lily – she was loved by her parents, and grew up in a middle class home.  The only thing Snape has is his knowledge of magic…and that’s the one aspect he can bring to their friendship which impresses Lily.

James, on the other hand, has the full house – he grew up in a wealthy home, with parents who adored him, in a magical society.  The situation between James and Severus could not be more unequal – and it’s got nothing to do with dark magic.

It’s also an analogy for the grammar school system – which again, is lost on a lot of people, because it’s very of its time.  Snape is the kid who comes from the sink estate who passed the exams against all odds – and when he gets to the school, where he’s earned his place, he sticks out like a sore thumb.  He has the talent to be at Hogwarts, but not the social background.

On the flipside, James is the depiction of a kid who was always going to get to grammar school, who belongs at the grammar school…he also has the talent, but he has everything else as well – and he can’t fathom why someone from Snape’s background is sitting next to him.

That’s not a criticism of James – it’s an understanding of where his character comes from, and why he reacts so violently towards Snape, but he doesn’t react in a similar way to Sirius.  This doesn’t excuse his dislike, but it goes some way to explain it.  It shows why other characters like him so much – he’s fun, and clever, and nicely dressed, and confident, and sporty, and talented…but he can’t get past his outright dislike of Snape, which grows over the years and encompasses other issues (such as being jealous of his friendship with Lily).

There is a very important parallel that James and Sirius don’t accept Severus because Severus’ background makes him other – just as the Death Eaters and their ilk don’t accept Lily because Lily’s bloodline makes her other.

I agree with all of this 100%. JK Rowling put so much of the British class system into this, and for those who don’t know/understand it a lot of it went right over their head. 

I’d also like to confirm and emphasize this point by opening up a little about my own life/family. My mother was born and raised in a place (if not THE place) in England that Cokesworth was supposed to represent. She was born in 1965, and into an, uh, lets say not so well off family. 

The stories I hear of her childhood that showcase the British class system (which are basically all of them) are… unimaginable at times for me. I will say, unlike Severus she had a very close and loving family (albeit strict as hell), but she also wasn’t one of the smart kids (where he was). The bullying she received, and the general treatment she got for her class was horrendous. And keep in mind this treatment started from birth. I can confirm, for anyone who thought this might just be speculation

due to the historical context being applied to Severus’s childhood, that this would have been absolutely true. The British class system was (and arguably still is) brutal

I can also confirm this from the opposite side, what James and Sirius would have experienced. My mother did, what one might refer to as, ‘marrying up’ or ‘marrying above her class.’ I, as a result, was brought up in an extremely wealthy area of England and went to the best school, had one of the best social statuses, and had access to upper class luxuries and privileges. I experienced what James and Sirius would have done (well at least until I moved to the states). And I can tell you everything said in the above posts is accurate. 

Furthermore, the change in class that my mother experienced going from what Severus would have had to what James did (although she was an adult and parent when she experienced James ‘lifestyle’ [if that’s the right word]), was very apparent. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when I was a child, and it took until I grew up to understand why my mother held certain things at such a high value and had certain beliefs and reactions to things. When I first noticed these things, I couldn’t understand it, and more importantly, I didn’t think there was anything to understand. My mother was just like that. I admit, I thought she was weird in some ways because of this. You know who else wouldn’t have understood or even thought there was anything to understand? James Potter and Sirius Black (the former more so than the latter, I believe).  Like me, they’d have seen things from their privileged point, and not gotten what Severus was dealing with. They wouldn’t have even considered there was anything there, even. Fortunately for me, my mother made sure I never acted like they did to someone like Severus. Because even if I didn’t completely understand all the reasoning, and at such a young age, probably couldn’t have understood it fully even if it were to have been explained (and who explains the intricate and deeply ingrained into society British class system to a 6 year old?), she knew and understood what life was like for someone lower in class, and made sure I understood it enough at that age (what a 6 year old could grasp, she explained). It is not that James and Sirius were inherently bad people because they had this privilege of being from the upper class, it was because coming from that class, they saw things differently. It’s wrong to act that way. Obviously. But it is not their fault that they acted based on their class. I think that is another point JK Rowling was trying to make about the British class system. These boys were (and I am loathe to use the word, but I can’t think of a better one to use instead, so forgive me) victims of their class. Severus was as well (in a drastically different and much harsher way). I’m not saying any of this to excuse their actions, but to explain it. 

Additionally, as it has been pointed out, you can see the class system still apparent in Draco’s (and others) behavior. You see it the adults as well (Severus included). I’d like to emphasize this point because I think it is important to understand that class was still a huge thing even as an adult. In fact, I’d say you’re arguably more aware of it than ever because you understand it when you’re older that much better. Take for example, my mother again. To this day, she is quick to point out where in England we lived (as in where I grew up; the upper class part). She wasn’t quick to mention where she was from (unless it was to people outside the UK or who she knew would have little to no knowledge of the reputations of areas in England) until rather recently as the reputation has changed over the years. Even then, she always makes sure to add in where we lived (the upper class place). If after over 50 years, my mother is still impacted by the treatment during her childhood due to her class (the same class Severus was in), you can bet your ass that so was he and the others. 

I also can say, as someone who lived in the states, that you really can’t find anything quite like the British class system. It’s incredibly hard to describe to people, and you can only honestly grasp it totally by experiencing it. 


Class was absolutely a larger factor than most people think.

The one tree in Francie’s yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which grew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked like a lot of opened green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenements districts.

You took a walk on a Sunday afternoon and came to a nice neighborhood, very refined. You saw a small one of these trees through the iron gate leading to someone’s yard and you knew that soon that section of Brooklyn would get to be a tenement district. The tree knew. It came there first. Afterwards, poor foreigners seeped in and the quiet old brownstone houses were hacked up into flats, feather beds were pushed out on the window sills to air and the Tree of Heaven flourished. That was the kind of tree it was. It liked poor people.

Betty White, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

It’s this tree:


The Ailanthus.


Remember that cities are not as set apart from nature as some people would have you believe.  There are wild animals, wild plants.  It may be unrecognizable compared to what it looked like before it became a city.  You still may long to get out “into nature” – into a place without sidewalks, pavement, concrete, roads, etc.  And that’s a totally valid longing.

But don’t forget that nature is stubborn.  Plants and animals and fungi and everything else continue to share cities with humans.  Even the most urban area has all these things.  It’s easy to forget in a lot of cities.  Less because of the nature of cities and more because of something I can’t pin down in words yet.

But while the effect of big cities on what used to be underneath them shouldn’t be underestimated… it shouldn’t be overestimated either.  There’s still dirt under there.  Things still grow in it.  Everything that can survive, will try to survive.

And there’s something alienating and limiting about assuming that unless you’re surrounded by trees on all sides then you can’t connect with the place or with ‘nature’.  But for a lot of us the assumption is so automatic we don’t recognize we’re making assumptions.  And assumptions about a place can rapidly translate into assumptions about the people who live there.  Even if you live there yourself.

The quote is meant to compare the resilience and survival of city kids from poor neighborhoods to the resilience and survival of the Ailanthus tree.  But the resilience and survival of the tree itself point to a more general resilience and survival of life.  Life that won’t just be paved into submission.  Something, as well as someone, will always do their best to grow up and be exactly what they’re meant to be even in seemingly harsh and unforgiving environments.  Life is always trying to find a way through the cracks of our attempts to control it. 

(via withasmoothroundstone)

What do you do if you suddenly get a swarm of rightist anons in your asks?





It may only seem like one person, but they send a lot of messages and overwhelm you with clearly wrong but seemingly well supported info.

The trick they’re trying to pull has two steps:

1. Overwhelm

2. Colonize

Overwhelm: By sending you lots of messages all at once they intend to trigger anxiety and cause you to give less than waterproof answers. From here they can deconstruct your answers with a combination of technicalities and fallacies.

Colonize: By making you answer publicly they spread their ideas through your blog. Further by making you look bad they make an example of you and by ganging up through your asks they isolate you from support.

The response?

Block them all.

And after that optionally you can publicly debunk their argument without their input.

People who use these dogpiling methods don’t deserve your blog as a platform.


They want your time and energy and attention. Delete their asks immediately and block. 

Block early, block often. Trust that they will be return to pee in your inbox again, and pull out the flamethrowers. 

Also. Turn off anon. I’m sorry to my shy followers but man my tumblr life has been so peaceful since I turned off my submissions and anons

I stopped regularly receiving anti-Semitic vitriol and Holocaust gore the minute I turned off anon/submissions.

New Zealand festival removes ‘Israel’ from Joseph musical





Have you ever hated Jews so much you altered a play based on Torah stories

It’s awkward to talk about cultural appropriation when it comes to the Bible, but I’m not sure what else to call a production of a play about our ancestral origin story that excises our name.

If you think the mention of Israel is that inappropriate, maybe don’t do a play about the Children of Israel.

Israel doesn’t always mean the modern state of Israel. For example, a play written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice based on a story from scripture written THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO. We’re Israelites/the children of Israel because we’re (yes, gerim too) descended from Jacob/Yaakov (who was renamed Israel when he wrestled with G-D…which, coincidentally, is what Israel means: wrestling with G-D).

Good lord. (P.S. Sir Tim Rice responded saying in part “Either don’t do show or do all of it as written.“)

When the line says “Reuben was the eldest of the children of Israel” n the songs ‘Jacob and Sons’ it was literal. FFS, this is ridiculous 😦 If you don’t know your bible well enough to know what Israel was one of Jacob;s names, then gtfo and don’t touch the show.

New Zealand festival removes ‘Israel’ from Joseph musical


I don’t know how to explain to goyim that calling out anti-Semitism is not about hurt feelings or crocodile tears and everything to do with the fear of history repeating itself in the form of angry mobs hellbent on attacking Jewish people.

I don’t know how to explain that I am not calling Jay-Z out because I want to silence Black artists; I’m calling him out because I’m genuinely afraid that his false accusation about Jews owning all the property in America will result in people across the nation blaming Jews for the evils of the world and then inciting pogroms (violent mob attacks) against Jewish people.

I don’t know how to explain that I’m not calling out CDM because I don’t care about the liberation of Palestinians; I’m calling them out because I’m worried that if we allow non-Jews to police our beliefs and define for us what our ancient symbols mean, that it could ultimately lead to any displays of public Jewishness being deemed questionable or offensive, which could eventually end in violence against any Jews who are openly Jewish at public events.

I don’t know how to explain to goyim that nearly every Jewish person in the world either grew up with a relative who had to flee their home in the middle of the night because of this type of violence, or they actually experienced this trauma themselves. I don’t know how to tell them that this is an ingrained trauma in almost every existing Jewish family, and that it has been repeated every few generations across the globe since we entered the Diaspora nearly 2,000 years ago.

I don’t know how to explain that when people say almost the exact types of things that were shouted at my relatives by white Russian nationalists as they burned their villages to the ground that it doesn’t matter if you say you’re a progressive or an anti-racist, or you’re also marginalized in some way, because all I hear are the same words people have said to Jews for centuries before physically assaulting them, and I’m worried you’re going to eventually going to assault me, too.

I don’t know how to explain that if goyim read our history they might understand that we Jews have been used as scapegoats for the world’s evils everywhere on the planet from Lithuania to Ethiopia, and that regardless of our standing in society or our level of assimilation, that it’s always ended with our expulsion or murder or both.

I don’t know how to explain that I’m not trying to be petty or “take up space in the movement,” or draw attention away from other causes, but that I’m only asking for you to examine your words and actions now, while I still hope there’s time to pull out the seeds of anti-Semitism that have been planted, because I am literally afraid that if I don’t, you or somebody like you will ultimately be at my doorstep shouting “It’s their fault! Get them! Kill the Jews!”

I don’t know how to explain that I’m afraid you might believe the vitriol behind your words one day enough to kill me.

Terrible combination of factors there, AFAICT:

Why Acid Attacks Have Doubled in the UK (Mostly London, and I had no idea that was even a thing before the recent attention.)

Anti-Muslim hate crimes increase fivefold since London Bridge attacks

So, we’ve apparently got a bunch of lovely young men who are increasingly attacking each other with a variety of corrosive household chemicals instead of knives now, largely clustered in East London. (We live in the #4 borough for number of attacks.) How amazing that the same people might also turn that onto other tempting targets! 😐

There was a similar case not that far from us late last year, which I didn’t see anything about until it came up in that first link. Where a gang of 14 shitty racist kids decided to attack some man who was just delivering pizza.

Not that surprising that these Islamophobic attacks would pick up along with all the rest recently, but the whole situation is very disturbing.

(Also, with the dispensing method of choice apparently being squirty sports type bottles, presumably for more coverage with the amount of liquid? I’m feeling almost lucky that one asshole only squirted water on me out of a car, I guess it was last summer. Just glad at the time that it was water and not, say, urine :/ I’m not Muslim, but I do attract shit like that here. And it seems much more common than even 5 years ago. Again, that’s not even as a member of any groups targeted nearly as heavily, and I can only imagine what that might be like.)

Also another case where I wish I thought the proposals to control legal sales of drain cleaner, etc. would actually do any practical good. When we’re dealing with the types of people who are totally willing to squirt somebody’s face full of drain cleaner, there are some way bigger problems there than the tool of choice. Horrifying as that particular tool may be. It’s a mess.




Guys the situation is slowly getting worse for Asians and Muslims in the East london area. There are more and more acid attacks happening. God forbid it ever happens to any of you, or that you have to witness it. But if you do make sure to remove clothing and jewellery that made contact with acid and make sure to flush the skin out with water. Keep pouring water as the pain can last up to thirty to forty minutes.
Keep windows closed when driving, boys are driving up in mopeds and throwing acid into cars. Be wary of “delivery men” as people have donned these looks to throw acid on people and then runaway. Do not open your doors to any random strangers, its not safe.

I thought we just got over all this madness with people mowing down Muslims coming out of mosques, but now all of this starts. Not to mention the rise in random attacks. A lady was beat up in the local park by a drunk white man. A young girl had raw bacon stuffed in her face because she, to him was “muslim scum.” My cousin got beaten up on his doorstep by three boys. Honestly, I’m not one to cower in fear, its not me. But these recent attacks have really shook me. Dont argue with people when driving, don’t be provoked by random people shouting slurs. I feel like all I am saying these days to everyone is to be safe, but its real, its on our doorstep. Take all the precautions you can, dont walk alone at night. Keep water in your car at all times for emergencies. Keep your windows up. Do not open the door for just anyone. Please be safe yall, and make dua for those who were victims in such attacks…

May Allaah protect you all.