Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Children Are Our Future, If We Let Them Be

And if so, there's hope yet:
TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - The Muggle, or non-wizard, world is agog at author J.K. Rowling's bombshell announcement that one of the main characters in the Harry Potter books was gay.

By Monday afternoon, after a weekend of gossip about Rowling's "outing" of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, there were almost 6,000 comments on the issue on two popular Harry Potter Web sites, www.leakynews.com and www.mugglenet.com.

"Mostly people are happy that she has done this," said Melissa Anelli, webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron site, admitting that the site has seen a small subset of vocal readers unhappy at the revelation.

"I think it's great, I think the way she handled it was that this was just another fact about him, the same way that he's a teacher, he likes bowling, chamber music. And if more people were like that, we'd have less of a problem today."
Take heart, progressives!

I make this admission: I've not read a Harry Potter book. I started to, but thought Rowling's writings to be too cute by half to focus on the story (I mean, come on..."Diagon Alley"????) and so got quickly bored with wordplay that I've seen done better in Mad Magazine.

I have, however, seen the movies. I suspect this is how most adults were exposed to HP.

Albus Dumbeldore always struck me as a kindly old schoolmaster, involved in the schooling of the children and their protection, but not uncomfortably engaged in their lives...like some Republicans we might mention (koffkoffMARKFOLEYkoffkoffTEDHAGGARD
. His sexuality was never in question in my mind: he simply had none because it wasn't relevant to the story.

Apparently, this after-the-fact revelation of inconsequential relevance has already raised the hackles of the predictable:
Why would people applaud? Why would it be necessary to have this as a back story? Maybe the final paragraph in the AP story explains it: “Not everyone likes her work, Rowling said, likely referring to Christian groups that have alleged the books promote witchcraft. Her news about Dumbledore, she said, will give them one more reason.”

Yes, knock the Christians. That will sell books.
One presumes Surber is near-hysterical because he was going to wear a Dumbeldore costume for Halloween, but now has to go for a more overtly butch character...say, Myra Breckenridge.

One wonders why Surber feels the need to spin the facts. After all, Christian groups all across this country have railed long and hard against Harry Potter novels for introducing a sympathetic witchcraft into polite society (like "Bell Book and Candle" didn't???). She spoke a fact, Donbo, yet you bridle at this?

Or are you saying that Christians are more tolerant of gays than they are of fantasy withcraft? I'm sure Matthew Shepard would disagree with you, respectfully of course (and probably in more tasteful clothing), if he could.

It's safe to say that Christian wingnuts have made more hay off Harry Potter than Harry Potter has made by pissing Christians off.

One can only imagine the furor in certain pulpits this weekend over this. In fact, I'm surprised to see that Focus On Family is still silent on this, but maybe they're trying to find a way to spin facts as well.

Unsurprisingly, Focus On family remained stone cold silent when the Roman Catholic Church was under assault for harboring pedophiles. One would think that an organization that has toiled long and hard to equate homosexuality with pedophilia would have said something about celibate authority figures molesting children.

In fairness, FOF did have something to say about Ted Haggard. Curiously, it was supportive...in its own weird hatemongering way.

Speaking of "authority figures", a more astounding admission from Rowling was less noticed:
The books, she said, were "a plea for an end to hatred, to bigotry" as well as a lesson for kids "to question authority.... You should not assume the establishment tells you the truth."
Keith Olbermann admitted on his show last night that, in a private conversation with Rowling prior to this signal event, she revealed that in fact, she intended a metaphor to the Bush and Blair administrations and how the United States and Britain were hoodwinked into war and sheepdogged into place by their authoritarian proxies.

UPDATE: Needless to say, The Borowitz Report has the perfect antidote to all this "outting"...