Monday, October 22, 2007

Gotta Mention Dumbledore

Remember when Jerry Falwell said TinkyWinky was gay? Remember when Dobson and all his people said that SpongeBob SquarePants was promoting homosexuality?

It's so interesting to think about attributing sexual orientation to ... a character in a kids' show. Especially a cartoon character, that's wonderful. They know these characters don't really have any sexual feelings, don't they? How can a Teletubby be gay, or a ... what is SpongeBob SquarePants? Is he really a sponge? He's not even that, he's a drawing of a sponge. But whatever it is that the Family Blah Blah guys hate, a cartoon character is capable of possessing it -- I have said before, I don't think it's so much being gay that they resent, it's acting gay, which represents an dangerous lack of obedience to the vague but inviolable norms that make us manly men and womanly women.

I think TinkyWinky just matched the religious right's gay stereotype on too many points, and poor SpongeBob's mistake was encouraging kids to practice tolerance. In both cases, you had hallucinating bigots imagining the bizarre at just the instant their sense of irony completely abandoned them.

I know you've heard about Dumbledore. At least this one sort of makes sense...
NEW YORK (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling has outed one of the main characters of her best-selling Harry Potter series, telling fans in New York that the wizard Albus Dumbledore, head of Hogwarts school, is gay.

Speaking at Carnegie Hall on Friday night in her first U.S. tour in seven years, Rowling confirmed what some fans had always suspected -- that she "always thought Dumbledore was gay," reported entertainment Web site E! Online.

Rowling said Dumbledore fell in love with the charming wizard Gellert Grindelwald but when Grindelwald turned out to be more interested in the dark arts than good, Dumbledore was "terribly let down" and went on to destroy his rival.

That love, she said, was Dumbledore's "great tragedy."

"Falling in love can blind us to an extent," she said.

The audience reportedly fell silent after the admission -- then erupted into applause. JK Rowling says wizard Dumbledore is gay

I didn't read any of those books, I admit it. But I have heard the discussions, as people try to figure out how different details go together. And I have never heard anyone suggest that Dumbledore, or any other Harry Potter character, was gay.

J.K. Rowling seemed kind of surprised by the reaction. Which is fun, because remember Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore lives in her head. Of course she knows if he's gay or not, because she channels him. So to her this was just obvious, but it wasn't a big enough deal to bother mentioning.
Rowling, 42, said if she had known that would be the response, she would have revealed her thoughts on Dumbledore earlier.

Fans on the top Potter fan site ( were divided on the news, some uncertain Rowling wasn't going to backtrack on the announcement, others saying it was unnecessary, and some welcoming the extra information on Dumbledore.

"This is even more awesome because it adds another layer to Dumbledore's character, which is already so rich and complicated. I hope he got over Grindlevald (sic) and fell in love again," wrote Amanda.

Rowling said she had read through a script for the movie adaptation of the sixth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and corrected a passage in which Dumbledore was reminiscing about past loves by crossing it out and scrawling "Dumbledore is gay" over it.

Because to her it was obvious. I'm sure she wondered what those screenwriters were thinking.

I wonder how the CRC, the Dobsons of the world, are going to react to this latest news. This one may be a little bit of a dilemma for them, because he doesn't match any of their stereotypes. Dumbledore is no TinkyWinky, who is, after all, purple, and you know what that means. Is this the "gay lifestyle" that we hear so much about, kindly old wizards doing good magical things?

Of course the fact that comes out in all this is that sexual orientation is nothing like the porno-cornocopia that the people in the CRC would have you believe. And please allow me to give you a tip: if you try to associate Dumbledore with anal sex, it's going to backfire on you. By now every Harry Potter fan has heard the news, and they're digesting it, discussing it on playgrounds around the world. How will this new revelation shape a young person's thinking? You know it will, as the tide keeps turning.


Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Actually, Jim, if you ask the kids, 12-20 who've grown up on these books, they already knew Dumbledore was gay. When I mentioned it to my son, he said, "Oh, I knew that. He cited chapter and verse (won't the CRC love that!) and said it was obvious. And, so what?"

October 22, 2007 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-not anonI have read all of the books more than once but I never thought about Dumbledore's sexuality. I don't really care(obviously)but the far right fundies can add that to their hatred of Harry Potter-previously  because of witchcraft. Theresa's "friend"- her source for the seemingly mistranslated German book- wrote a book about it

October 22, 2007 4:34 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home