Thursday, October 25, 2007

BOOKS and MOVIES/VIDEOS: Put Dumbledore Back in the Closet

An interesting piece I found on netvibes.com. This is from Time magazine - and it pretty much echoes my view on the news of Dumbledore's sexuality.

No offence, but when I made up a fantasy yarn for my daughter, I had a homosexual warrior couple who were married and very much openly in love. But then again, I wasn't trying to sell the story to anyone except my daughter. - OlderMusicGeek

Put Dumbledore Back in the Closet
Monday, Oct. 22, 2007 By JOHN CLOUD

When J.K. Rowling announced at Carnegie Hall that Albus Dumbdledore—her Aslan, her Gandalf, her Yoda—was gay, the crowd apparently sat in silence for a few seconds and then burst into wild applause. I'm still sitting in silence. Dumbledore himself never saw fit to come out of the closet before dying in book six. And I feel a bit like I did when we learned too much about Mark Foley and Larry Craig: You are not quite the role model I'd hoped for as a gay man.

So along comes Rowling with Dumbledore—a human being, a wizard even, an indisputable hero and one of the most beloved figures in children's literature. Shouldn't I be happy to learn he's gay?

Yes, except: Why couldn't he tell us himself? The Potter books add up to more than 800,000 words before Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and yet Rowling couldn't spare two of those words—"I'm gay"—to help define a central character's emotional identity? We can only conclude that Dumbledore saw his homosexuality as shameful and inappropriate to mention among his colleagues and students. His silence suggests a lack of personal integrity that is completely out of character.

I had always given the Potter books a pass on the lack of gay characters because, especially at first, they were intended for little kids. But particularly with the appearance of the long, violent later books, Rowling allowed her witches and wizards to grow up, to get zits and begin romances, to kill and die. It seemed odd that not even a minor student character at Hogwarts was gay, especially since Rowling was so p.c. about making her magical creatures of different races and species, incomes, national origins, and developmental abilities. In a typical passage, the briefly mentioned Blaise Zabini is described as "a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes." Would it have been so difficult to write in a line in which Zabini takes the exquisitely named Justin Finch-Fletchley to the Yule Ball?

But here is a gay man as de-sexed as any priest—and, to uncomfortably extend the analogy, whose greatest emotional bond is with an adolescent boy: scarred, orphaned, needy Harry. Rowling said at Carnegie Hall that in her conception of his character, Dumbledore had fallen in love long ago with Gellert Grindelwald when the two were just teenagers. But Grindelwald turned out to be evil, which apparently broke Dumbledore's heart. (Quite evil: Grindelwald is Rowling's Hitler figure, opening a camp called "Nurmengard" for political enemies in the 1940s. Dumbledore/Churchill eventually defeats Grindelwald/Hitler in a 1945 duel.)

But as far as we know, Dumbledore had not a single fully realized romance in 115 years of life. That's pathetic, and a little creepy. It's also a throwback to an era of pop culture when the only gay characters were those who committed suicide or were murdered. As Vito Russo's The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies (1981) points out, in film after film of the mid-century—Rebel Without a Cause; Rebecca; Suddenly, Last Summer—the gay characters must pay for their existence with death. Like a lisping weakling, Dumbledore is a painfully selfless, celibate, dead gay man, so forgive me if I don't see Rowling's revelation as great progress.

Am I making too much of this? Undoubtedly. But it would have been better if she had just left the old girl to rest in peace.

A link to the complete article

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This is a fairly good sampling of some of the music I listen to. It's missing a few genres I like - such as cajun. I'll work on that later. But it does contain most of my favorite artists. I tried to steer away from the better known songs to give you a better idea of what kind of music the artists play, but I was limited by the songs the website - Project Playlist - had available. But if you want to get an idea of what I listen to, just hit the play or arrow button. - OlderMusicGeek

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