Jewish Wizards & Inclusiveness in Jo Rowling & Tim Burton’s worlds

The new Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, has a character named Porpentina Goldstein with brown eyes, thick brows, and curly hair hair.

We never see Goldstein go to synagogue, or eat challah, or drop Yiddish. But we have a pretty good idea of what demographic this girl probably represents.

And you know what it felt like to see her on screen? For lack of a better word: magical. She has my hair and my eyebrows. She acts like me. For once, I get to be part of the wizarding world.

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This, I hope/imagine, is what it felt like to people of color when they cast a black woman as Hermione in The Cursed Child. A feeling of finally getting to join the wizards.

Of course, anyone can identify with anyone on screen. I identify with male characters, people of color, cartoons, etc, on-screen all the time.

But it’s not the same as seeing someone who looks like you. Especially if you never see people who look like you up there. It can be lonely.

The recent casting choices are a huge leap forward.

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I just wish Rowling didn’t try to take credit for them as something she’d meant all along. “Well, I never said she was white,” is a bit silly, seeing as she had a huge hand in the creation & casting of the movies.

If she wanted a black Hermione from the beginning, she should have led her illustrator and casting director in that direction back in 2000 when they were making the first movie (released in 2001). The movies are, at this point, just as much “canon” as the books.

Which is why I’m a little miffed about the “Dumbledore is gay!” revelation. He’s not gay in the books or the movies. If she meant for him to be gay, maybe it should have been in the work itself.

She has an opportunity, in the prequels, to actually depict him as a well-rounded gay man, and I hope she does so. Because then it’s canon, and not just empty words about gayness.

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Tim Burton, in contrast to Jo Rowling’s half-hearted ret-con, doesn’t even try at inclusivity in the slightest. His most recent film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, has one black character — who’s the villain.

Burton could have said something like “well, I prefer to cast Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter exclusively in literally everything, and they happen to be white,” and left it.

It could have even maybe been his excuse for casting Johnny Depp as a Native American character. (Ugh.)

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Nope. Burton didn’t take that approach. He said he prefers not to get “all politically correct“:

“I remember back when I was a child watching ‘The Brady Bunch’ and they started to get all politically correct,” he said. “Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just… I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.”

He doesn’t seem to see the difference between a family looking alike and an orphanage of people from various backgrounds looking alike.

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That magic of seeing someone on-screen who looks like you will never happen in a Tim Burton movie. Unless you’re white. Very, very white. And Johnny Depp and/or Helena Bonham Carter.

I’m casting my lot with the wizards. At least they’re trying.

Are you just going to leave your Hillary sign up… forever?

Does it make me a bad liberal to wonder when the yard signs should come down?

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I’ve spent a lot of time this week considering political dissent. It’s important to stand firm against injustice. But what’s an effective method?

Leaving up your Hillary yard/window sign is the easiest method, if you can bear to look at it. It’s actually more work to remove the sign than to leave it. The question is: does it really do anything, other than remind your neighbors of your point of view every time they drive past your home?

In case you were wondering, I took down my yard sign. It made me sad every time I looked at it. I threw away my Hillary pin, too. I can’t, however, get rid of my Nasty Woman shirt. I intend to wear that until it disintegrates.

Wearing a safety pin is an easy way to use a ten-cent piece of metal to express that you consider yourself one of the good guys. It’s arguably a little too easy, a form of “slacktivism” that, like the Livestrong bracelet trend, is all look and no work. I’ve spoken to several people the safety pins meant to comfort (LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants) and many have found it comforting.

But this isn’t exactly an effective way to enact change. Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr said “let’s all put on safety pins and continue as usual!”

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A month’s worth of illustrations, plus bipartisan suggestions for the next 4 years.

While thinking (fretting) (panicking) about what the next four years will be like, I wondered, is there literally anything Donald Trump could do as president to to make me like him?

In between these illustrations, I have a few non-partisan suggestions that everyone in America can get behind.

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Make the Barenstain Bears the Barenstein Bears again. I think everyone would feel better if this creepy alternate-universe conspiracy were set to rights. Just make them officially the Barenstein Bears and we’ll all feel better.

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Cleaner gas station bathrooms. Sit to poo without fear, America.

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Bigger fireworks. Bigger! Sparklier! Make ’em ‘uuuuuuuuuge!

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Taco trucks on every corner. The Donald needs to reconsider disparaging this notion. It’d really perk everyone up.

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Banning the Chicken Dance from Large Gatherings. I wrote a letter to my wedding DJ about how he must not play this song on my Special Day under any circumstances. I’m not above writing a letter to President Trump to the same effect.

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Puppies. His family should adopt a shelter animal. A really cute one. Preferably a dog, not a cat, because everyone likes a dog. Cats are the snooty pets of liberal, elite ivy-tower types.

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Ticks. They’re the grossest, most terrifying threat to our nation. I just scratched my bosom and found one. I’ve never been bitten by an undocumented immigrant.

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And, most importantly,

Let us see inside Area 51. Please, Donny. We’re all dying to know.

Final request: as I lay dying, feed me salt water, then slow-roast me & put me in a walnut shell coffin.

Final request: as I lay dying, feed me salt water, then slow-roast me & put me in a walnut shell coffin.

“What a strange thing to say,” the Internet whispers.

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But I just described precisely what some people in the Kabayan Phillipines were doing to their dead until around 1500.

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(The lady on the left is alive, probably.)

What makes the Fire Mummies particularly cool is the fact that the process began before the person died. People who were on their way out would drink very salty fluids before they bounced. Then they’d cook them in the fetal position, with herbs, no less.

“Grandma’s gonna kick it,” the townsfolk said. “Someone get Guy Fieri.”

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(“Fieri is my name, and fire is, coincidentally, my game.”)

The Kabayan Mummy Caves were rediscovered in the 1900s, and since then, there’s been a problem of mummy theft.

My Internet travels haven’t revealed whether this is Cultural Theft For Museums or General Pickpocket Behavior.

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(“What a conversation piece for my living room!”)

So now it’s on a watch list. Because we, as humans, cannot have cool things.

Nearby, however, is the visit-able Opdas Mass Burial Cave, which does welcome tourists.

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(Spooky and fun! This girl knows how to party!)

Onto the Bucket List the Philippines goes! I need to see these things in person!

Thanks, Internet, for all the gruesome and lovely things you have to offer.

It’s Wacky Wednesday Waffle Day! Links to distract & amaze you.

These past few days have taken a toll on us all. We deserve to treat ourselves to a few fun links. Stop strolling through your racist aunt’s Facebook rants and start checking these out instead.

If you think dancing, neon-colored spiders sounds kind of cute, you’re right!

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^ A photographer started recreating the iconic Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark illustrations with beautiful photo collages.

The only thing on my holiday this year is getting an AI-enhanced talking Billy Bass fish like this.

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^ Every designer will nod knowingly at this delightful page of Famous Artworks Ruined By Clients Who Think They Know Better.

I’m very happy to have found Mari Andrew’s Instagram account. The artist turns the little painful moments of her life into the cutest comics/doodles.

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^ Wanna learn about architecture and make fun of hideous McMansions at the same time? McMansion Hell is for you!

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^ You know you want one of these onesies. This photo is the beginning and end of my modeling career. It was good while it lasted. Warm. Soft. I didn’t have to lose a pound.

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^ When not modeling, I throw fancy tea parties. If you want to throw one of your own, here are a few tips!

I hope this helps with your day, everyone. Stay strong!

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