Monday, October 22, 2007

Life After Dumbledore: When Fictional Characters Come Out of the Closet

By: Jah Banni
(At right, Captain Planet - former lover of Albus Dumbledore)

Hogwarts Headmaster, and Harry Potter character, Albus Dumbledore has long been a secretive and captivating character in the up to the minute celebrity news world in which he lives. Very much the opposite of other Hollywood personalities such as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and, you guessed it, Frank Stallone, Dumbledore preferred to keep his private life just that. Recently, however, the old wizard shocked the world by proclaiming himself gay through a statement given by his creator, J.K. Rowling.

The Past

Some, such as Dumbledore’s former lover Captain Planet, are not surprised that this information surfaced.

“It was only a matter of time,” said Planet. “He often asked me to have the Native American on my show provide the world with ‘Heart’ so they would accept us as lovers. Fictional, yes, but lovers nonetheless.”

Planet believes it was easier for fictional characters to share a homosexual relationship in the past, but says that the progress of open relationships, despite their obvious hardships, is a necessary evil on the road to equality.

“Of course it was easier. Don’t ask don’t tell was the rule of the day,” says the toned, but petit and shockingly blue cartoon character. “But that doesn’t mean it was a good thing for our community. Many people, myself included, struggled with our true feelings versus public perception. And I know there will be bumps in the road, so to speak, but if it helps a young made up person to feel more comfortable with him or herself, then it is progress.”

Others, however, are worried that Dumbledore’s revelation will lead to a Joseph McCarthy-like fictional character homosexual witch hunt.

Robin, boy wonder and sometimes Batman side-kick, has long dodged questions of his sexuality by inquisitive press members, fans and friends alike. Knowing that fictional characters are coming out of the closet has already reignited the question that had at least seemingly died down of late for the super-hero.

“I’m used to it by now, but I’d be lying if I said it was not bothersome,” said Robin. “Why can’t a character put on a mask and tights and take in a Streisand concert without that question coming up? From now on, it will be because of Dumbledore.”

The Present

Already, many other famed characters have come under attack from the media regarding their sexual preferences. Frodo Baggins, his friend and rumored lover Sam, Pinky from Animaniacs, Pooh-Bear, Mary Poppins, Mr. Belvedere, Bambi, He-Man sidekick Man-At-Arms, Peter Pan, Snow White, and most recently Optimus Prime have all been rumored to prefer members of their own sex.

"I am not gay. I am a [freaking] robot. How would that even work?"

- Optimus Prime

Prime, for his part, is irate.

“So I tell a young man to put the All Spark in my chest,” yelled a clearly upset Prime, “ … does that really suggest my sexual preference?”

The furor created by Dumbledore’s announcement is changing the way fictional characters pick roles in movies, books, and other distributed media.

Stewie, of TV’s Family Guy, turned down two opportunities in the past two days to play the character portrayed by Nathan Lane in Broadway’s The Producers, for fear that his part in a Broadway show would lead to questions of his sexuality.

“As watchers of our show know, I enjoy singing and fine culture,” Stewie said by phone, yesterday. “But I can’t risk being type-cast in the future. I am not at all changing my likes and dislikes, but to me, facing questioning for the rest of my career is not worth it. By the way, whatcha got there? Huh? Reeeeaaallly writing an article? Gonna make a difference? Huh? Thinkin’ about Dumbledore? You do that. Write that article. You are a journalist.”

Not everybody thinks this way. During a phone call yesterday, Superman revealed that he was planning to sign on for a starring role in the sequel to Brokeback Mountain.

“Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, my creators, know me and know my values,” said the Man of Steel. “They are behind me 100%. This is a role I cannot wait to play. And I know Heath [Ledger] is looking forward to it as well.”

Optimus Prime still fumes over questions of his personal life, and vows to overcome them.

“I am not gay,” said Prime. “I am a [freaking] robot. How would that even work? I will not let this deter me in the future. I came here from a planet far away to co-exist with earth creatures. I will not be scared away by silly questions about me, a young man, and the All Spark.

The Future

Spiderman, who is quick to point to his famed kiss with Mary Jane as proof of his preference, understands Optimus Prime’s concern, and has one of his own.

“The thought that the creator of a fictional character would go on record speaking about that character’s sexual preference is mind numbing,” said Spidey. “Stan Lee, my creator and a good friend, would never do such a thing, but imagine J.R.R. Tolkien coming out and speaking openly on behalf of Samwise Gamgee … it’s scary.”

Spiderman is not alone in this worry. Captain Planet, despite his support of Dumbledore and other gay fictional characters, says his one worry is a creator who feels disrespected or betrayed.

“It is the one thing I worry about. This business is so crazy that it’s bound to happen. Some young creator gets upset that a character of his or hers is getting all the attention they should themselves garner … Let’s just say it is an easy card to play,” a concerned Planet said. “ ‘This character is gay’ is something we may hear way too much of in the future.”

Albus Dumbledore, despite being the first fictional character to come out of the closet, has remained silent since his shocking disclosure. It is unknown whether or not he is currently involved in a relationship, which fits his public persona prior to the revelation. But friend, and fellow wizard Gandalf the Grey, for one, believes Dumbledore is doing just fine.

“Albus is very much a home-body. He is also innovative, bright, and generous,” Gandalf said. “Whatever reasoning he had behind the decision [to come out], it was anything but spontaneous. He is, of course, a wise, old wizard.”

And a made-up, gay one at that.

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