Monday, October 22, 2007

Why weren't there rainbow scarves?

So we went away for the weekend, enjoyed some time doing what we do when we're outside the long arm of the Internet, and we come back to a shocking revelation. An announcement so profound, it's guaranteed to shock much of the world to the core. At least, we can only assume that this particular "outing" will have that effect, the way the media's covering it. After all, when someone as well-known and loved has their sexuality brought out into the open, it's bound to cause tremors.

Of course, people have speculated for years if this individual was gay or not. And yet, the shrouds of secrecy have kept their true selves hidden until finally, on this very special day, we all learned the truth.

Albus Dumbledore was in love with men.

Wait. Wait just a minute. We could kind of understand people clamoring over the books themselves, and the media coverage that came with anything that could bridge generations and encourage literacy at the same time. But to learn that a fictional character (sorry to break it to some of you Potter-fiends out there, but none of them are actually real) was gay, and, especially, to learn it from the author after she's left that particular world behind her? That's what passes as news? It's probably a good thing that the wildfires in California didn't happen Saturday, or they'd already be relegated to an inside page, possibly next to an ad about Serta mattresses.

Sure, we can respect Rowling's decisions to do what she will with the characters that she created. But this particular moment seems like a shameless attention grab more than anything else. And, well, it's not like Rowling or her books really need help getting attention. Think of it this way. Would any of you care to find out that Sam Malone from Cheers was actually a homosexual? No. And why is that?

That's right. Because the story of Cheers is over. And so is the story of Harry Potter (well, except for the movies, but you can bet that you won't see Dumbledore presented any differently in the upcoming films). Calling this character gay could have actually been a good thing for helping people gain more tolerance, but there are better ways to handle it. After all, as others have already pointed out, if Rowling felt this strongly about her character's sexuality, why wasn't it made clear within the books themselves?

Of course, it could all be far worse. He could have been from Philadelphia.

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