What it means that Dumbledore is Gay, A Christian’s Response, and Objective Reality
|October 22, 2007||Posted by Anthony under Blog, General|
I have a lot to cram in here, so I don’t know that it is even worth trying.Â It may help if you go back to my first post on this subject.Â This makes my third post on the subject.
Something interesting I found today was this article here by a certain, aptly named, Michael Dorf. Â I thought it interesting because he makes the point that just because Rowling declares Dumbledore to be gay, it does not make it so. Â It cannot be supported by the text, which stands alone.Â I agree with this in a sense.Â One of my big problems with this is that it seems so capricious.Â I can’t see how this revelation informs the text.Â Perhaps worse, since no one else can see how it informs the text either, we are left to look at it all and wonder and make silly inferences like the ones I saw recently (and posted in my second article) that list the ‘top ten signs that dumbledore’ was gay.
But I think Mr. Dorf doesn’t quite get it.Â He seems to want to go out of the way to argue against an ‘original intent’ perspective on the US Constitution, saying that what Madison or whomever thought about the text, it didn’t ultimately matter.Â This is an entirely different situation.Â In this situation, there simply isn’t anything in the Harry Potter books that would seem to make Dumbledore’s sexual preferences relevant to interpreting the text (or so we thought!).Â But what Madison and Jefferson meant by ‘militia’ is certainly applicable, since in order to interpret the text itself we need to know what the words mean.Â Dorf would have us believe (this is my example, btw) that our modern connotations of a ‘militia’ being a fanatic group out in Montana should be applied backwards to the text.Â If our judges are free to import any meaning they like on the text that is the same as saying that the text doesn’t matter at all.
There are many things I disagreed with in his article, but those get us away from Dumbledore, so let me move on.
I mentioned that one of the problems is that since the texts contain no hint of the relevance of Rowling’s ‘revelation’ rather than promote ‘tolerance’ as she seems possibly to have in mind, it will do exactly the opposite.Â Check out this blog, for example.Â Just a brief quote will do:Â “The revelation had fans looking for new meaning in some of the passages.”
Is that really what Rowling wanted?Â What about these top ten lists which I think gays will think fuel conceptions about homosexuals that they would much rather not be spread around.Â I have already seen numerous innuendos suggesting that Dumbledore had a Catholic Priest-Like affection for Harry Potter.Â Surely gays (and certainly the Roman Catholics) don’t want it believed that a gay man in an educational setting is there only for the pretext of being exposed to young boys.Â Sure, I am against homosexuality, but that doesn’t mean I want to unduly smear gays.
But that is the sort of conjecture and joking that has been opened up by Rowlings.Â And completely unnecessarily, as far as I can tell.Â Which leads to my last thought.Â Just because Rowling declares it, does it make it so?Â It is an interesting question and one which I, as an author, have thought about in other terms long before this event.Â I think the critical difference is exposed in my reactions to Dorf’s comments above.
If the author’s revelation actually speaks to how a particular part of the text should be understood, then I think that the author can remain authoritative. Â For example, perhaps the author did not originally write with enough clarity.Â Tolkien had a number of revisions of his Lord of the Rings book(s).Â If it does not speak to the text in anyway, not even as helpful background, I wonder if it can just be dismissed as… well… untrue.
Such ‘revelations’ could occur all the time.Â Next we might learn that Harry was sexually abused by the Dursleys.Â Â This isn’t hinted at in the series, either, but given the abuse Harry received at their hands one could almost see it.Â But couldn’t such ‘revelations’ multiply forever?Â I am still waiting for Rowlings to clarify.Â I hope she doesn’t wait as long as her promised anthology/encyclopedia to show why she thought we needed to know this about Dumbledore.