Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Professor Dumbledore, Will You Please Come Out of the Closet

On behalf of Harry Potter, an orphan who has no parents to speak in his defence, I would like to report his beloved mentor, Professor Albus Dumbledore, for molestation. That's right, now that the esteemed teacher and fighter of evil has been outed, one cannot help but wonder what Harry Potter and he were really doing in all those late night study sessions. For that matter, didn't Professor Snape also spend a lot of one-on-one time with Harry in detention?

Of course, Professor Dumbledore is deceased, and lives only in the portraits on the wall, but dammit, if the various magical persons in all the paintings at Hogworts can interact in real time with students and each other, they can be jailed post mortem.

Why is it that magic must be associated with deviance of a sort? What did JK Rowling gain by declaring that Dumbledore prefers the Wizard over the Witch?

Much like the hullabaloo over the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, literature makes statements and passes along morality on multiple levels. As a Jewish girl reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the Christian references flew way over my head, and I simply enjoyed the series as a tale about adventurous children in a parallel universe who receive the protection of a kindly magical lion. Aslan doesn't even sound like Jesus...

The television show Sesame Street began when I was one year old, and Big Bird's friend Mr. Snuffleuppagus was conceived initially as a real friend of Big Bird's, who just happened to disappear when any human adult showed up on the scene. (Much like Clark Kent and Superman, they are never around at the same time, hmmm...) In time, the show revealed the melancholy Woolly Mammoth to the remaining residents of Sesame Street; they feared that a child who had been abused or bullied would not approach adults for help, because he/she believed that adults are either stupid, or would not believe their story.

This of course did not go far enough for the liberal "gay" 90's, when speculation ran rampant regarding Bert and Ernie's sexual orientation. I would like to point out that they were roommates, sharing a one-bedroom flat in a very expensive New York real estate market, and that they slept in separate beds. Not once in my growing up and watching the show did I consider another more insidious insinuation.

In Israel, they forgo any subtlety, and the two Ernie and Bert-like puppets who appear in the ads for the Electric Company are known to be gay; one is the "female" and the other is the "male." The verbal pun on an electrical socket works better in Hebrew, but you get the idea.

Perhaps, Rowling created a gay character in the importance of Dumbledore to give courage to children reading her books, children who may have questions about their sexuality but may be afraid to announce it or discuss it with adults. In that case, make Neville gay, he emerged heroic at the end of book seven and in fact in the future, teaches at Hogwarts. Hooray for macho gay Neville and kudos to his Alma mater for have a non-discriminatory hiring policy.

This Dumbledore incident raises the same concerns for me as the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. Call me a prude, but I believe that every person is entitled to his and her privacy as regards choices of intimacy. I don't need to see a heterosexual couple having sex in their car or snogging at a street corner, and the same applies for me with homosexuals, bisexuals and the magical folk. (Being politically correct, I must immediately apologize to any other active sexual group for not mentioning you, I actually don't want to watch you in the bedroom either.)

What happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom, across the board.

When the gay and lesbian community feels the need to have a parade in Jerusalem, specifically after they have marched in several other cities in Israel, it tells me that they themselves are not comfortable enough in their own skin and their own status. They must be "in the face" of the rest of the presumed intolerant population, in a city that is holy to all religions. Because if there is a parade that divides the city, and starts civil and religious war, people will have to notice them.

As a Jewish woman, I also don't have a great need to attend a synagogue that is egalitarian, simply because it gives women a larger role in the Orthodox ritual. I am content with my personal relationship with G-d, and I don't need the boys' club to let me in to feel better about myself spiritually, or to prove something.

We are all so busy trying to be "tolerant" and "inclusive", that we lose our internal truths. Instead of pulling over a suspicious 25 year old Muslim male in the airport, the 86 year old woman bringing donuts to her grandchildren is stripped-searched, because the cream inside the pastry might be an explosive. International travel may not be any safer, but at lease we did not offend the Arab terrorist.

1 comment:

Asher said...

I don't understand why J. K. Rowling needed to reveal this information about Dumbledore at this stage. If it somehow came out (pun intended) in the story then I could see the connection.

(Personally, I would have gone with another red-haired, lesbian witch.)