Although we can???t always shake the nasty habit of writing in the royal we, occasionally one of our editors decides to shake off the cloak of anonymity to write a
short, pithy statement long, rambling diatribe about a topic of their choice. Today, Debbie Newman is that editor.
Days after outing Dumbledore as a same-sex oriented magician, author J.K. Rowling is already soaking up criticism from all ends of the crazyperson spectrum.
Naturally, we have the religious zealots, who don’t want their precious tots reading about same-sex anything (or, for that matter, sex itself) because it’s “dirty.” Then, of course, we have the self-appointed literary ombudsmen, who’ve questioned her motives and wondered whether England’s Richest Person By Far has overstepped her bounds.
Take, for instance, Salon’s Rebecca Traister, who writes:
While it’s all well and good to see kids giddy at the news of Dumbledore’s homosexuality, Rowling’s interest in making things perfectly clear, not only about Dumbledore but also about the future and livelihood of all of her characters, provokes thorny questions about the role and responsibilities of an author once she has concluded her text.
So, in other words, Rowling would have been totally fine to “out”
Dumbledore the fictional character of her own creation during the course of writing the novel but, seeing as that chapter’s “closed,” she should probably never, ever talk about the books at all, lest she inadvertently clarify her own intentions?
Because nothing says traumatic like finding out that everything in Harry Potterland is exactly as everyone thought it was except for the fact that Dumbledore (an elderly character whose romantic relationships were never remotey delved into) is apparently more multifaceted than previously envisioned.
The only other full-scale betrayal that even comes close was the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s stunning revelation that the purple Teletubby was a friend of Dorothy’s because he was purple, and carried a purse.*
Either that or that other children’s classic that was irreparably tarnished after the author’s personal viewpoints were disclosed, namely: C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The subsequent revelation that Lewis was a religious crazy and the whole entire series was some sort of deranged parable about the story of creation? Totally altered my perception and corrupted my youthful sensibilities.
And, truth be told, those Christian reactionaries do raise a good point. After all, it’s been over ten years and I still haven’t fully recovered from the realization that Aslan (C.S. Lewis’ gentle “Lion” character) was actually a thinly veiled stand-in for Jesus Christ.
[Image via BWE]
*And sadly, that honorable truthseeker died before he even had a chance to prove it.
You and your long, rambling diatribe are amazing.
Posted: Oct 23, 2007 at 11:46 am
I know precisely whereof you speak. When my children were young, I read them the complete “Chronicles of Narnia” stories over G-d-knows-how-many-before-school-breakfasts, and none of us had a clue that Aslan was a “thinly veiled stand-in for Jesus Christ”. Without a scintilla of disrespect for my Christian friends, I can only hope, and I believe, that neither of them bears any scars from the experience.
Posted: Oct 23, 2007 at 12:10 pm
Doesn’t the Christian right already hate Harry Potter for the wizardry and general ungodliness?
Posted: Oct 23, 2007 at 2:20 pm
God! The Last Battle was the biggest headfuck ever. Damned Christians killing lions. Or something.
Posted: Oct 24, 2007 at 6:55 am
Joe Kort says:
I think it is awesome that a children’s book show how being gay is about an identity and not about sex. This will help a whole new generation see homosexuality for what it is–the same as heterosexuality only for the same gender.
It will also help gay and lesbian children feel okay about who they are instead of suffering from the neglect of invisibility!
Love, Joe Kort
Posted: Oct 24, 2007 at 9:06 am
its a fictional charactor people.. this is not a real person.
Posted: Oct 24, 2007 at 11:04 am
CS Lewis made no secret of what viewpoint he was coming from in his writings, so anyone surprised about the allegorical nature of the Chronicles was paying as little attention as some readers of Harry Potter, apparently.
However, Lewis himself did not call the Chronicles allegory in the traditional sense. Rather, he set out to create a world and then determine how God would reveal himself in that world.
If that pursuit offends some, I’d say they’re being as prissy as the Harry Potter detractors, left and right. Heaven forbid that we should encounter thinking that is not like our own!
Posted: Oct 24, 2007 at 1:19 pm
Easy chaps! If we were to shelve (or worse, burn) all literature that presents an opinion different from our own we would have to put ourselves in the same category as Nazi Germany, which targeted books from such authors as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Hellen Keller, Alfred Kerr, Jack London, Karl Marx, Marcel Proust, Upton Sinclair and H. G. Wells. Furthermore if we were to rid the world of writings from all the ???religious crazies??? we would have to turn our back on a good portion of what we now call classic literature from the last 1000 years. It is dangerous to assume that a point of view is wrong just because it is not consistent with what you believe to be relevant for the tiny epoch of history that you accommodate.
Posted: Oct 24, 2007 at 9:27 pm