When wizard becomes fairy

Adam Griffiths

The first thing I reach for in the morning is my laptop. It’s routine. I log onto Gmail, Facebook and CNN, in that order, and go about my daily routine of catching up from where I left the world merely a few hours before.

I don’t like waking up to new news though. I somehow felt inadequate when I wasn’t alerted right away that Anna Nicole-Smith had been found dead. I like news as breaking as it can be, fresh off the reporter’s pad and onto my computer screen.

But sometimes news comes up, especially on Web sites such as CNN or Fox News, that make we wonder what the definition of news value is to the editors on the other end.

My latest dumbfounded glare and head tilt came Saturday morning when one of the latest headlines on CNN.com was J.K. Rowling’s admission of Dumbledore’s homosexuality.

“If I had known this would have made you this happy, I would have announced it years ago,” she told the roaring audience at Carnegie Hall Friday after the announcement.

I understand this revelation probably hit some unsuspecting Bible-belt parents hard. It’s probably the equivalent to their son or daughter’s high school principal waving a magic wand and coming out. They’ve entrusted their children’s eager, developing minds to the care of this kind old man who mentored Harry Potter through the trial and tribulations of seven books of distress, and it ends up ol’ Dumbledore’s nothing but a genuine gay.

Now, of course, since this might be the biggest outing of the decade, I’ve been keeping tabs on the media fallout. The Los Angeles Times called Andrew Slack, head of the Harry Potter Alliance, a group that brings fans together to support social issues present in the series, to ask the question on everyone’s mind: “How could we have known?”

Slack drew comparisons between the headmaster and Leonardo DaVinci, claimed Fawkes, the multi-colored phoenix, was “flaming” and that with his purple cloaks, velvet suits and high-heeled boots, “Dumbledore defies the fashion standards of normative masculinity and, of course, this gives him a flair like no other.”

I just wonder how Scholastic feels about all this. Here you have one of the most successful children’s series of all time, one of the most marketed, licensed and purely milked-for-all-its-worth stories ever, and the author has to go and say something to jeopardize cash flow.

Shame on you, Jo. How dare you progress the minds of all those kids out there who fell in love with the wise old wizard who helped young Harry defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? How dare you push the limits on what a book can mean to a child these days any further and then reveal that one of the main characters is a flamer?

But props to you on your continual audacity to challenge the precedent in literature today. Dumbledore may be a wizard turned fairy, but the ideals and values he upholds and promotes throughout his time in the series are sincere and teach children lessons that will pervade the ignorance so rampant in the world today.

I doubt Dumbledore’s outing will inspire any other celebrity outings for me to read about in the upcoming months, but when you look past the frenzy and see the uproarious support Rowling has received from Potter fans, it might just be a sign that times really are changing, and there’s a story I’ll read any day.

Adam Griffiths is a sophomore information design major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].