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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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 Qualified To Dogsit?: 10 Important And Maybe Geeky Questions To Gauge Someone’s Trustworthiness

“I love LL Cool J,” I told my husband today, “and I would only trust someone with my kids or dog who felt the same way.”

“I don’t think that’s typically a question that comes up in the interview process,” my husband replied.

“It’s time to change the interview process,” I said.


Without further ado, I present:

10 Questions for Potential Dogsitters

1. This dumbass beagle is responsible enough to be let off-lead. True or false?

2. When my dog stares you down, that means he has to pee. Can you handle the pressure?

3. Who is the third member of Salt-n-Pepa?

4. If the house is on fire, I expect you to go in there and rescue him. This is not, technically, a question. Just nod to show you understand.


5. How do you feel about the Ron & Hermione pairing?

My Top 5 Awesome Imaginary Geek Conventions

This week’s Five Fandom Friday topic is “Conventions I’ve Been To Or Wish To Attend.” I’ve only been to one (Philly, this past year), and though there are specific people I’d like to see, and places I’d like to someday visit, I don’t have any cons on my To Do List.


So now I’m making another list: 5 Conventions I Wish Existed. I would go to every one of these. Every year.


1. My Little Pony: Literal Grooming Convention And This Is Also For Bronies

All I want to see in this life is Bronies and Pega-Sisters in costume riding horses that are also dolled up. I would go to this thing so hard. Even though, I guess, the real horses would smell bad.


2. The Star Wars / Star Trek Final Battle

Half of the con is dedicated to Wars; half to Trek. (For the record, I am siding with the Trekkies.) The costume contest will have two divisions: two of each type of award. JJ Abrams will be forced at gunpoint to declare a loyalty. The Final Event of the Evening will be an arm-wrestling match between the toughest-looking Star Wars person and the toughest-looking Star Trek person. The results of this match will determine the weekend’s winner. All con-goers receive a free stuffed Ewok or Tribble to take home.


3.  The Las Vegas Cosplay Mostly-Gay Marriage-A-Thon

Hosted by George Takei (Star Trek, Space Cases), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story, Heroes), and Sean Maher (Firefly). It’s a regular con — at which you can get married by George, Zachary, or Sean. All gay couples (male or female) in costume get married for free. The “reception” is a giant party for all con goers, complete with a buffet, cash bar, First Dance for everyone married that day, and the Electric Slide. To get into the reception, all con-goers must purchase a “gift,” which is a toy to be given to charity. Oh, and NPH will be there, too. He’s just going to be walking around in costume with his cute family. You can high-five him.

To prepare for this con, I will divorce my husband so I can re-marry him under these circumstances. Or maybe we’ll just renew our vows there. I hate paperwork.


4. Arkham Asylum Zombie Takeover And Obstacle Course

This con’s dual emphasis is horror and Batman. Held in an abandoned asylum, there will be the usual featuress: autographs, things to buy, forums, costume contests, etc. There will also be a giant Humans vs Zombies game taking place over the whole thing. Bathrooms, shopping areas, and large convention halls will be safe — everything else will not. If you get tagged, professional makeup artists will transform you into something awesome on top of your current costume. The final costume contest will have a category for Most Depraved Final Result. Oh, and the real Mt. Midoriyama (Ninja Warrior) will be out back, full of zombies. If you sign a serious-ass waiver, you can totally run around on it.


5. The Harry Potter Drafty Castle Experience

The Queen of England vacates her castle (or allows us to use one of her subsidiary, lesser castles). Everyone gets sorted into “houses” (wings of the castle). It’s a full-weekend slumber party. UK’s finest creatives & actors will be hosting great events like:

  • Storytime with Jo Rowling in the library
  • Neil Gaiman short story workshop
  • Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry stand-up special
  • How To Treat Your Bestie Right seminar with Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellan
  • Emma Watson explains feminism
  • Alan Rickman walks around drolly insulting everyone
  • How to write with a quill pen
  • How to read tea leaves & tarot cards
  • How to fake an English accent, for beginners
  • How to hold a snake and pretend to talk to it
  • Falconry, because it’s so English
  • Double-decker bus rides around the grounds

Oh, and the money goes to some kind of hardcore English charity that does something like teach kids about Shakespeare inside Big Ben.

There’s a little something for everyone in these five events. 

So, convention planners, the ball’s in your court. 


Pantydraco is real!

Have you ever hit “Random” on Wikipedia over and over until you found something interesting?

Because I have. And a few days ago, I found “Pantydraco.”


This is an actual species of dinosaur. And my final artistic act of 2014 has been illustrating him.

This is the last thing you get from me this year.

I thought about making a “best posts of 2014” entry, but every post I write is golden.

I considered creating a photomontage of my year, but that sounded suspiciously like work.

I contemplated listing resolutions or accomplishments, but you don’t care, and neither do I.

And let’s face it: Pantydraco rocks.