Monday, October 22, 2007

Star Trek and Dumbledore

Thanks to two readers who alerted me to an excellent essay and a news item.

James Pawlak of Crusader Knight sent me Raymond J. Keating's article "Faith, or Lack Thereof, in Star Trek," which appears at Most people are probably aware that Gene Roddenberry was an atheist, and it is reflected in his most famous creation, as Keating explains. However, I object to Keating's insistence that a similar rejection or ignorance of religion exists in most sf or even most TV sf. Though I don't see much television, I specifically remember a Babylon 5 episode celebrating the diversity of human religion, and it seems the remake of Battlestar Galactica, though I didn't particularly like what I saw of it, also has religion on its mind.

Several conservatives writing on NR seemed to wrestle with being fans of this rather liberal television show. It's an interesting point, including for this self-confessed conservative Trekker. Perhaps it's as straightforward as a combination of interesting characters, compelling stories that often involve some big issues to debate and discuss, cool space stuff, and general sci-fi geekiness. [more...]

Here at The Sci Fi Catholic where we don't believe everything has to match our worldview to be good fiction, we'll just say, "Stop wrestling, Ray."

Another reader has kindly presented me with a news item. As it turns out (drum-roll), Albus Dumbledore is a homosexual, as J. K. Rowling has revealed and the BBC has reported. I imagine slash writers everywhere are either thrilled or disappointed depending on how they view their *cough cough* artform. If I'm allowed a little back-patting, I'm once again relieved I never got on either the Harry-Potter-is-Satan-incarnate or the Harry-Potter-is-a-perfect-Christian-allegory bandwagons.

She made her revelation to a packed house in New York's Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her US book tour.

She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found "true love".

"Dumbledore is gay," she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago. [more..]

It is of course the business of a writer to know everything about her characters, including things that never make it into the final draft. Nonetheless, I find myself asking the question, why is Dumbledore homosexual? Such a detail is hardly necessary to explain his relationship with Grindelwald. I'm inclined, perhaps too cynically, to view this as another example of our tendecy today to sexualize everything, rendering platonic friendship nearly impossible, even in fiction. On the other hand, it may just be another bit of proof that Rowling is not exactly the master of subtlety. After all, homosexual attraction is the most obvious explanation for one man's great love for another man.
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