From: Rachel Fowler
When I first read the article “Outing Dumbledore” I was happy that homosexuality is discussed in our school newspaper, a publication that reaches everyone across campus, but I felt the need to elaborate on some of the points made in the article from a different perspective. From the perspective of someone who has different views on J.K. Rowling’s reasons for “outing” Dumbledore.
First of all, J.K Rowling’s outing Dumbledore is a marketing ploy, plain and simple. She is bringing a new vision to a character to make people curious about her books so they will either want to buy the books or read them again. It also raises awareness of homosexuality and the correspondent is right, J.K. Rowling is doing so with little to no risk to herself because all the books are already out (no pun intended). That does not belittle the fact that she has brought up the subject so should we not examine the books to see if there is relevance to her vision of Dumbledore as gay?
There is subtext especially in book seven to suggest that Dumbledore, in his younger years, is gay. After reading an article in the New York Times (written in the Arts section on Oct. 29) that only confirmed my own suspicions, it is easy to examine a few instances in book seven in a new light. Think back to Dumbledore’s close friendship with Grindelwald, outwardly displayed as an academic relationship with meetings late into the night and letters being constantly exchanged. It doesn’t take a great intellectual leap to believe this could have been a more involved relationship. Later in his life, Rita Skeeter also refers to Dumbledore’s “murky past” and that he may have an “unnatural interest” in Harry Potter. This represents a vein of intolerance that flows even in the wizarding world for anything different, including homosexuality.
But putting the books aside for a moment, does it really matter if Dumbledore is gay? As the correspondent stated, “Dumbledore will remain to me simply the wise and loyal headmaster.” This is exactly J.K. Rowling’s point. Throughout science fiction literature, great wizards are not only known for their great power, but also for putting their humanity and their own needs aside for the greater good. It does matter if Dumbledore is gay, it is part of who he is, but it is only a part, a part he decided to put aside to help the wizarding and muggle world alike.
So, the subtext is clearly there in book seven and granted maybe you have to know how to look for it but J.K. Rowling is just bringing awareness to a massive audience, which I think is a wonderful use of her books influence. I think it was also very adept of her to do it after all the books were sold, there are no damages to her book sales and everyone has already read the books and knows Dumbledore as a great wizard and person, not as a gay wizard and gay person. People got to know him without bias and I think that’s why J.K. Rowling did not reveal his orientation before this point. Everyone already loves Dumbledore and will accept him for who he is, gay or otherwise. If she had made it a “spoiler,” how many people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality do you think would have read the Harry Potter series? They would have missed out on a wonderful, imaginative world. Now people are being taught tolerance and I think that’s damn clever of the author to teach that to people despite themselves. And it’s not “children” as the correspondent stated, who are being taught tolerance, my grandmother reads these books and her favorite character is Dumbledore (and I know for a fact she reads the New York Times). If she can learn a little tolerance from Dumbledore’s coming out day, anyone can.
From: Adam Hughes
While the Colgate Voice claims to promote “pragmatic progressive dialogue” within the Colgate community, juvenile rhetoric undermines these assertions, resulting in petty name-calling and needlessly polarizing punditry. In the article “Assault Weapons, Crime, and Hicks Defecating on Public Safety,” Kale Nandula writes that “any southern hick” can tell you about assault weapons, which provide the “corpulent Texan” an alternative to “the unrelenting banality of his daily southern life.” While Ms. Nandula is free to stereotype, discriminate, and generalize, a so-called “progressive” magazine seems an odd forum for her prejudice. Perhaps a more empirical analysis of the real costs imposed by assault weapons would better inform and convince the community. Vague threats and ungrounded assertions about the KKK, Aryan Nations, and other “little hate buddies” reduce the article’s argument to its essence: a hateful diatribe lacking any statistical support. If the Colgate Voice truly hopes to convert the complacent, evidence and thoughtful analysis will affect change better than empty polemic.