GateHouse — If you found yourself suddenly and inexplicably thrown to the ground late last week, it probably happened when the Earth briefly stopped spinning, thanks to the shocking revelation that fictional wizard Albus Dumbledore was gayer than an actor on a commercial for a pickup truck. Dumbledore, the now-deceased Obi-Wan Kenobi figure in a marginally popular children’s book series of some kind, was officially outed this week by his author, J.K. Rowling, who claimed that she made the announcement mostly because she was trying to make Britney Spears feel better.
I’m kidding, of course. What I’m not kidding about is the fact that the national media covered Dumbledore’s outing with slightly less effervescence than might be the case if it was revealed that an actual wizard was gay — which, let’s be honest, would probably be the case among actual wizards, with their flowing robes and flamboyant headgear and potential for jokes involving the word “wand.” Actually, there’d probably be less excitement then, because by now actual wizards would likely be subject to all manner of questionings, registrations and subtle social exclusions, whereas fictitious wizards — which, again, is a group that contains Dumbledore — are free to roam about their castles or wizarding schools or electroclash dance clubs in peace, impervious to the unblinking eye of the people who would keep a wary yet curious eye on them in the real world, such as fans of “Sex and the City” and Larry Craig.
Dumbledore, if you for some reason don’t have a Google alert set up for this sort of thing, was outed by author Rowling in a recent appearance at Carnegie Hall, as part of a response to an audience question about whether the late wizard ever found true love, as well as any really amazing sales at Banana Republic. There’s been the usual tittering among the usual easily activated suspects, many of whom were probably just happy to have something to complain about other than the books’ promotion of witchcraft (some have questioned why Rowling waited until now to make the announcement, feeling, I’m guessing, that they’d been tricked into some kind of nutty tolerance or something). But for the most part, people seem to be — you may want to sit down for this — more or less OK with the idea of a fake 126-year-old magic man being fake-gay. Either way, the announcement probably makes Dumbledore now the most famous gay character in a semi-children’s book, more than the parents in “Heather Has Two Mommies” and, of course, Piglet.
Avid readers of this column — and hello again to my Mom, and the prince from Nairobi who keeps politely asking for my credit card number — normally, what I do here is read a couple of news stories about something, make some quote-fingers jokes about it, and head downstairs to begin consuming the bottle-and-a-half of pinot noir I need to fall asleep these days. But I’m not sure I can pull that off today, because the AP story on Dumbledore I am reading right now is IMPOSSIBLY HUGE. I don’t want to draw the obvious conclusion here, but it’s hard to imagine your local paper’s Iraq story today has anything on this behemoth.
As an avid Harry Potter reader who once used this space to warn anyone who would ruin the ending for me that thanks to Google Earth I could find them within minutes, I have to confess that I had absolutely no idea that Dumbledore was gay. In retrospect, this was a silly oversight on my part, given the amount of time Rowling had Dumbledore listening to Morrissey music and drinking wine coolers (also the man had a phoenix. A phoenix! Phoenixes have always clearly been the gayest kind of magical bird!). But I mainly didn’t think about it because – oh, jeez, I’m gonna blank on the phrase here, but it’s the one where I can’t fathom who could possibly have the time or need to worry about other people’s sex lives in the real world, let alone one in which most characters travel by fireplace.