Thursday, January 19, 2017

Retroactively Gay: Empty Bagpersons

The eerie similarity between politics and Potter continues afresh with Obama's tentatively postponed pardon of Manning. Like Rowling's decision to retroactively engayize Dumbledore after all the books had been published and the first billion made, Obama's choice of Manning as the one whistleblower to sorta eventually future maybe set free--not ironically, the one who released the least-unknown, least-strategic information of all of them (I know you don't know the others' names off the tops of your heads, but you're on the internet, aren't you?)--was strategic cowardice and cowardly strategy. Rowling picked "gay" by the end of her books, because it was growing increasingly popular, because she'd run the entire gamut without acknowledging the existence of a non-hetero character, and because her formally-acknowledged fanbase was now as old as [age initially targeted] + [time between first and last publication], therefore she could be the opposite of brave and retroactively out Dumbledore. What cowardice, indeed; not only did Rowling and Obama wait until the end, but even at the end, they chose only the currently popular trend to highlight as their contribution to the progressive legacy. Right or wrong, Obama didn't have the character to free Manning before, but wanted to buy a historical legacy by appearing in later textbooks as the person who pardoned Manning; similarly, Rowling didn't have the character to write Dumbledore as gay, even in the very last books, but had to wait until, so to speak, mere days before the Twilight inauguration.

No particular surprises there, except that Manning's weirdo sex change may have actually saved the soldier from 35 years in prison. The news media covered the Manning case extensively, from the worthless non-revelations revealed by the "leaks," to Obama's inability to act human (either angry or forgiving or rational) during the trial or sentencing, to his pardon in the waning hours. Did Bradley really want a sex change, or is s/he smarter than we ever assumed, and knew that the only way to get a pardon, and not spend the entire rest of her/his life in military prison, was to manifest some media-friendly condition that would get airtime and justify the trinketizing of his/her situation as "worthy of presidential attention"? Other men and women who revealed actually-somewhat-unknown things about Obama's terror network are still in prison, since they never claimed a sexual reason for their behaviors. Manning could be an incredibly brilliant political forecaster who saved his life by becoming a transwoman. It's easy to say you wouldn't make that bargain no matter what, but if the options were 35 years to life in the brig, or going on a lot of talk shows and publishing a successful memoir, then fading into the background and having a free and financially independent life for two and a half decades thereafter, is jacking off occasionally in the MP-monitored shower, never knowing human contact again, still worth a tenuous claim to manhood? Many an accused has faced the indignity of the "insanity plea," but that's old hat, and Obama has proven that he has mercy only on things he finds salacious and salaciously sellable. All the better for Manning if she actually wanted to be a she anyway, but the sudden hunger-strike for SRS after joining the Marines and going into combat would've been an aptly timed political move.

During Obama's term, and in the vicinity of Manning's confinement, we certainly saw the celebrity use of sexuality and sex-change as a tool for receiving presidential approval, e.g., Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner's 15 absurd minutes. If you do anything wrong during the next year or two, ask for a bench trial and, instead of pretending to be an abused child hearing voices, pretend to be a lifelong member of the other gender (diction for the rhyme scheme only). How long until they get to furries? No, seriously. There's gotta be a lab somewhere in Thailand offering plug-tails on a permanent basis, by now. Shouldn't be more than another decade or two before Hopkins finds someone to pioneer it in a serious, non-perverse (sic), identity-based way.

Returning to Obama and Rowling, their use of Manning/Dumbledore is, of course, both comical and tragic. The either cognitively mundane or spiritually broken persona one would have to possess in order to come to believe oneself, or to so cheaply trade in identities, respectively, about such issues as they did, is of cosmic significance albeit microscopic in detail by autopsy. Cowardice abounds in both situations: Obama hideously ignored, then hideously liberated, Manning for political purposes, and Manning's binary-yet-alternative sexual identity (e.g., s/he subscribed to one of the two biological sexes), is just progressive enough to not raise too many eyebrows among the people he wants writing his history books. He wouldn't have pardoned a furry, a slash bara, or a self-identified spirit wolf, but only the tamest sort of trans and/or homo-sexual, in accordance with current normatives. He wasn't brave enough to do it at the beginning of his career, anymore than Clinton, but by 2017, he's able to hop on the transbandwagon. Rowling, by retcontinuitally outing a straight old dead man, harvested Dumbledore for her own legacy in the same way. Once others had forged the path, she followed it to mass acclaim. Our history will show her as a trendsetter, much like Obama.

This one referenced George Lucas in 2011, in particular the way his perspectives on acceptable fighter pilots changed between episodes:
George Lucas would do a slightly nicer permutation of this same theme a decade later. He proved his forward-thinkingness socially illusory, capable only of matching the standard liberal mores of his time, in his casting of the fighter pilots in Episode IV and Episode I: in Episode IV, A New Hope, better known as the first Star Wars, Lucas cast the Rebellion's fighter pilots almost exclusively as mid-40s/50s men who badly voice- and seat-acted their attack on the Death Star ("Stay on target...stay on target...") While neither progressive nor likely (pilots in control of dynamic, aggressive fighter craft tend to be a bit younger, rather than the older "respectable U.S. military officer" type that Lucas cast), this dynamic reflected the popular view of the core of a worthwhile rebellion in 1977: older white male authority figures, much like the traditional doctor or lawyer.

More telling, for Lucas' perspective, is that 20 year old men who fought Nazi Germany in planes and on battlefields in the 1940s would, around the time Star Wars was being prepared, be 50 year old men who gave the uninspired George Lucas an image of what his plucky hero pilots should be. Luke won the day with the help of a wise old man of British descent, who taught him how to master Oriental mysticism, but the core of the fighter corps was Lucas' image of WW2 veterans. A galaxy far, far away indeed.
Lucas' work there was not at all heinous in the matter of Rowling/Obama, and Lucas probably had an "honest conversion" between the 1970s and the 2000s, causing him to realize he "should" insert a smattering of black and/or female pilots to be diverse. Like Mace Windu's forced lines and unnecessary scenes, they were purposeful racial tokens, albeit more numerous, honest ones; Lucas' primary characters retained their original Anglo/Jewish character, demonstrating how superficial was his decades-long racial awakening.

In contrast to Lucas, Rowling and Obama were less cultural subjects, and more cultural operators. Not only was neither of them brave, knowledgeable, decent, or honest enough to defend homosexuality or transsexuality early on--for example, Obama being forthcoming about his Chicago lifestyle and still winning the presidency, or Rowling working Dumbledore's male life partner into book 4 and demanding her fans accept it--but they were not even of sufficient caliber to, after having supposedly realized they'd made a mistake in the past, show that they'd learned from that mistake by addressing their own current prejudices, rather than merely past ones that are now cool to address. Rowling chose "a single homosexual character out of a cast of hundreds, and who is dead therefore can't ever place demands on me to have him do anything which might indicate he actually was or is homosexual," and Obama chose "a single transsexual character out of a cast of millions, and who has been drugged and literally (not the figurative way people like saying on the internet so much these days) militarily gaslighted for years before being released," like the latest lone white shooter getting bombarded with drugs, lights, music, and extended periods of sleeplessness before being pushed dazedly through his show-trial. The heroes they're pretending to be would've been in the vanguard. Obama might have, for example, not freed a single transsexual, but also freed people who'd been interred for mere bestiality or bigamy, and Rowling might have written a new series about Sexual Reassignment Spells for children, rather than declaring one deceased male character homosexual and waiting for several years more before being willing to consider an interracial relationship by blessing someone else's sequels.

This seemingly random behavior in puppet celebrities, like that of medieval kings, indicates not only their inherent cowardice, which is a given, but their genuine uncertainty about what actually is right or wrong, and what will or won't be popular. Not only do they have no principles, they also don't understand what people will find to be good principles next season. Rowling's willingness to be superficially brave about homosexuality and black Hermione (let us recall that the original Harry Potter failed due to a prominent African character) is matched by the earlier void of her soul, when what was "right" was what was culturally appropriate at the time. Obama's willingness to take a stand on gay marriage, and to pardon a transwoman, is equally empty compared to his earlier willingness to take only the opposite stands. Teleport these people to a different time and place, and they would, in exchange for some degree of fame and fortune, adopt or discard any given viewpoint where popular or convenient.

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