Sunday, October 21, 2007

Outing a Wizard

I know I'm probably going to get castrated by some Harry Potter fans for this, but I have a sincere question.

What's the big friggin' deal about J.K. Rowling telling everyone that her character, Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, is gay?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't she publish the last of the Harry Potter books a few months ago?

If Ms. Rowling truly wanted the Harry Potter books to be, as she says, a " prolonged argument for tolerance," why didn't she reveal that Dumbledore was gay IN ONE OF THE DAMN BOOKS?!?!?

And while we're at it, I don't really want to be "tolerated." I prefer to be "accepted."

I "tolerate" bad Jerry Herman music, guys on the bus who wear too much Drakkar Noir and the fact that my TiVo sometimes records the wrong friggin' channel, but I still don't "like" those things.

"Tolerance" isn't what I'm going for in terms of my own personal "gay agenda."

The way I see it, Rowling outing Dumbledore after all the books have been written is useless and sort of like George Michael getting caught having sex in a men's room after his career was in serious decline.

Wouldn't it have been powerful for George Michael to have come out as an openly gay man in the 80's when he was at the top of the pop charts? He would have been a gay role model to me when the closest thing I had to a gay role model at that time in my life was Jim J. Bullock on TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT - - and neither he, nor his character on that show, were officially gay!!!

But no, George Michael didn't admit that he was/is a homosexual until AFTER he was caught with his pants down - - literally. And what did we in the gay community do when he came out because of that scandal? We treated him like a friggin' hero, when the truth is, he never did anything for us except deny that he was one of us.

And while Dumbledore wasn't caught with Larry Craig in the Hogwart's bathroom or anything - - although I can't wait for the slash fiction on this one - - what good is Ms. Rowling's announcement?

According to the CNN report, Rowling...

"...explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. 'Falling in love can blind us to an extent,' Rowling said of Dumbledore's feelings, adding that Dumbledore was 'horribly, terribly let down.'"

"Horribly, terribly let down." Yeah, J.K., I know how he feels.

If this was your intention with the character, you could have included this in the Harry Potter stories and made a tremendous impact on the lives of gay and lesbian youth. You truly could have saved lives!!! But you didn't. And it's a let down.

I'm just getting tired of "too little, too late" when it comes to gay celebrities - - and I guess now I can include "gay fictional characters" - - being a vibrant and honest part of our community.

It's 2007, folks. Do you need Glinda the Good Witch to visit you in her bubble and say it?

"Come out, come out, where ever you are."

24 comments:

Tina said...

Yeah, it's a day late and buck short. Screams of 'attention whoring' to me. The books been out and no one is paying her any mind these days, are they?

BTW, I just want the world to know that, the Priest in my latest graphic novel, the one that has sex with the Hitler Jugen...is 100 Proof G-A-Y. In case anyone was wondering.

*rolls eyes*

Stephen Rader said...

Tina - "A day late and a buck short" is exactly what it feels like. You're so right.

I can't WAIT to read this graphic novel of your's!!! Sounds uber-hot!!

Hope all is well with you!!!

Tina said...

Slowly getting better. I can't sit in a swivel chair for extended periods of time--which is going to kill my career, or make it. :/ I can send you a copy if you want to read it--it's just porn really. ^_-

Email me.

Palm Springs Savant said...

on the other hand (says the strange voice from beyond) what's the harm that she has done by making this comment? In some ways, people who are die hard HP fans will just have to deal with it, they already decided they like the story and the characters. Its kind of like finding out your best friend of 20 years is gay-someone you always liked and trusted but they held that one secret back. Then you find out. Does that change how you feel about the person? What JK Rowling may have done, in fact is shove this down the throat of mainstream society as a sort of "this happens in many families, everyday, so deal with it".
just a thought...

;-)

Aaron said...

That's a GOOD thought, too...but it would have made more of an impact if she'd actually had enough guts to declare Dumbledore was gay BEFORE she'd made her pile of dough (because she wouldn't have gone broke anyway. This way, it could almost be interpreted that she kept it dark to keep the gravy train rolling...

Although I almost laugh every time I wonder what Richard Harris would have done had he been asked to play a gay wizard. Somehow, I think he would have raised holy hell (he was known for that, anyway)...

Michael J. Harrington said...

My reaction was to think boring, weak, vapid, and useless regarding the "he's gay" comments from Rowling.

Real integrity from author Rowling would have been to give her character some actual gay behavior or dialogue in her books, even push for gay inclusion in the films screen. I don't know if there is really a serious level of alarm about this by the public or by Harry Potter fans. My guess is it's just a bit of sales hype from the author, with the media (as usual) trying to whip up sensationalism to attract readership.

I also agree totally about the difference between tolerance and acceptance. Alas, we have a long way to go.

Master Aaron said...

I think it's time to make Outing Yourself (or one of your characters) available only via an application process. With appropriate fee. Monies to go to AIDS research. A committe made up of ME should review the Application for Declaration of Gayness with an eye to whether or not The Community will benefit from the inclusion of said applicant, and whether or not said applicant has made application quickly enough upon concrete knowledge of their alleged gayness. And if someone outs themselves (or one of their wizards) without a Letter of Acceptance from The Committee in charage of Declarations of Gayness, the fine would be HUGE, all monies donated to AIDS research.

But what do I know? I'm in Pigeon Forge, ya'll. If there is any gayness laying around that isn't in use, please post it to PF immediately.

dirk.mancuso said...

I don't know...I sort of thought it was like saying "here's this character you all loved and what defined him were his intelligence, his bravery, and his concern for others...not his sexuality."

But that's just me. What do I know? I thought the California Raisins were real...

Stephen Rader said...

Rick - I see your point, but it still seems like table scraps when we could have had a much fuller meal.

Aaron - I may be naive here, but I don't think she announced this to add to her profits or keep a buzz going (although, that is what it's doing). I think she just had this in her mind all along. But if it WAS in her mind all along, then when isn't it IN ONE OF THE STORIES?!?! She couldn't slip in an "I'm gay" thing somewhere in 700 plus pages?!?!

Michael J. Harringon - I agree!!! We have a long way to go. We've come far - - in some areas - - but it ain't over yet!!

Master Aaron - If you run into a Wizard in Pigeon Forge who tells you he's gay, run for the hills!! No... wait... you're already IN the hills! In that case, head for the Waffle House!!!!

Dirk - I see that. But I don't think we can look past sexuality until we're all on equal ground. I agree that it doesn't matter, but what if the young people who read these books discovered a character in the middle of the journey who was brave and intelligent and caring and was also gay - - and the gayness was not treated poorly or as anything "different." That would have sent a stronger message that, despite all our differences, we are all human.

Dana said...

In defense of JK, I don't think she said, "HEY GUYS, I'VE GOT A GAY CHARACTER." I think she was giving a talk and someone asked a question about the sexuality of her characters, and she mentioned he was gay. So, to her, it was just a matter of course the character was gay, it was never an issue, and the rest of the world exploded.

Dovajorth said...

Define "bad Jerry Herman music."

Does this mean you won't come to see my show? Or you'll come and "tolerate" it?

Just kidding, girl! (and overall, it's a great show, but some of the selections border on "bad!")

Stephen Rader said...

Dana - I can see that, but again, if she knew the character was gay, why not explore it in the books. We haven't come so far that it really doesn't matter who is gay and who isn't.

Doug - "bad Jerry Herman music" describes all the things that WON'T be in your show! You know that. :)

And besides, I hear your version of MASCARA is Di-Voon!

Dana said...

Here's my point - In the books, she didn't write about Professor McGonnagle, "She has sex with MEN!" So why did she have to with Dumbledore?

Stephen Rader said...

Dana - Because most readers assume that a character is straight unless their told otherwise.

Until just very recently, every book, tv show, magazine, billboard, play, movie, commercial, etc. only showed straight people in straight relationships. When that's all you see and nothing else, a young boy or girl who feels "different" easily can begin to equate "different" with "wrong."

I just think that until there's an equal playing field, who we sleep with does matter.

Dana said...

This is obviously an age-old debate that won't be solved on the comments of the blog. I've had this conversation with others. I guess the way I see it, nobody knows who I'm sleeping with, and nobody wants to know who I'm sleeping with. Different perspectives.

Stephen Rader said...

Dana - So true. I would like for nothing more than it never to matter who I sleep with. I just know that when I thought I would rather take razor blades to my wrists than go through one more day of high school, a few out gay role models would have made a big difference in my life.

And I LOVE that we can debate like this. Imagine if we were in the same room! The problems we'd solve and the alcohol we'd consume!! :)

Dana said...

:)

Aaron said...

It's driving ME to drink--does that count? :-)

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - It does and you're welcome! :)

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

It does seem beyond lame that she'd say this months after the last book was relaesed.

Stephen Rader said...

Whim - "beyond lame" - - THAT is why I love you.

"Beyond Lame" is also now the title of my memoirs!!! :)

just me said...

The only reason I can think of for her to come out and say he was gay now, is for everyone to go and reread and possibly purchase the whole series to find clues that they missed the first time. Of course, I'm looking at it from a publisher's point of view.

I think it would have had a much greater impact if Harry had been gay. But, I agree, it is kind of an empty statement.

Stephen Rader said...

Just Me - What an incredible statement that would have been if Harry was gay. Imagine.

Jeanne said...
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