Bard Questions: Is Wizard Rock Homophobic?

[This was to be the first in a series of articles asking tough questions about our community. These were written or conceived back when there was still some pretense of their being, you know, an actual community, and not me, Russ, and a handful of people on tumblr. I will still finish and publish these articles, but less because I feel these are IMPORTANT QUESTIONS to figure out FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COMMUNITY, and more for purposes of discussion of an historical look at a community that no longer exists in the state that it once did. Also, I wrote this draft-like-thing at like three in the morning, hence the draftiness of it. I still feel that, despite some structure problems, there are some interesting points made.]

Of course not, right? We have the HPA, we have a fair number of gay and bi men and women in our ranks, we are all in all a very inclusive, welcoming, open and friendly community.

BUT our music does not always reflect that. There are some choice gay anthems, like JFF’s “Dumbledore Is Gay And That’s Okay”, Split Seven Way’s “Slip Away”, and the unmatchable HMS Wolfstar.

Then there’s the most famous gay wrock song, Whompy’s “Draco and Harry”, which while very much a pro-gay song, IS a humour song, but does seem on first glance to draw humour from “omg boys making out”, but upon closer inspection, the humour is about DRACO and HARRY making out.

But still, here’s a troubling question: Would the song be as popular, and as funny (or perceived to be as funny) if it was “Draco and Hermy”? Draco and Hermione hate each other just as much as Draco and Harry, so it really should be no difference, right? Yet I can’t help but shake the feeling that despite the humorous bridge with McGonagall brought up as a possible romantic partner, and the twist of the old “sitting in a tree” nursery rhyme, some of the perceived humour value would be lost by making it a “straight” song. And then if that’s the case, that leaves the troubling implication that gayness is funny – it’s a source of humour, more so than a simple life choice.

However, that’s not the song I’m really here to talk about – it’s THIS SONG: “Brotherly Love”, one of the most lauded and celebrated Gred and Forge songs, and also one of the most popular humour songs in all of wrock.

But here’s the thing – is it really that funny? Now, almost every song on the AMAZING Siriusly Smiling is pretty much excellent, so it’s in good company at the least. And there are definitely some clever rhymes and humorous lines – riding something but it wasn’t his broom (the natural redhead line has always struck me as initially funny, but then upon further reflection makes no damn sense in regards to the canon, but whatever I get it it’s supposed to be a humorous song I’ll roll with it), the ghoul bit, etc. And musically, it’s a well made, catchy song. But the immense love for it, and adolation of it’s humour value, has long troubled me.

It’s not just wizard rock’s perpetual immaturity (not that I’m really one to judge), and immediate reaction to ever bringing up the topic of sex is LOLOLOLOL because that’s how the immature deal with sex – they find it funny (possibly bring up merch girls are easy?). And it’s not even the sinking suspicion that when all those people say “LOL this song is SO WRONG but SO FUNNY TOO!” when they are referring to the “wrongness”, it’s not simply about the sex and the incest. No, this goes back to the humour.

Because here’s MY question – what if the song was, instead of being about all the male kids of the weasley family (and the ghoul) having sex, what if it was about ALL the kids of the weasley family having sex, or heck ,let’s make this as explicit as possible – what if it was about all the males of the Weasley family (Arthur excluded, hopefully), taking turns having sex with Ginny?

If any of you just mentally shuddered a bit at that thought, but don’t when you think about “Brotherly Love”, that illustrates a definite problem. Would anyone find the above situation funny? Yes, obviously, you’d have to change the title, maybe to “Family Matters” or something like that, I dunno, but then again, it could just be about Ginny wanting some Brotherly Love, so even the title could stay the same! And lyrics could easily be fit in to keep the same jokes about riding brooms, natural redheads, and ghouls. So, why do I feel that this song would not be nearly as popular? Why some, even many would view it not as funny, but as downright uncomfortable/weird?

If such a case is true – if a straight version of this song would be met with an almost opposite reaction to the current gay version of the song, then it leads us to the troubling conclusion that a major factor (or even the fact that its a factor at all, no matter how major or minor) of Brothely Love’s humour value is because it is gay. If a straight version of the song would be perceived as not-as-funny, if funny at all, and a gay version is perceived as “LOLOLOLOL”, then what does that lead us to conclude. That, unintentionally though I’m sure it is, “Brotherly Love” is seen as a humorous song, because it’s about gay people having sex, and the fact that it’s gay people having sex, it changes the “uncomfortable” issue of sex (incestual sex at that!) into a humorous one. It leads us to conclude that homosexuality is, even in wizard rock, still viewed to some extent as something humorous, and thus, weird. And that’s really kind of scary as fuck. It’s kind of the equivalent of James Franco wearing drag at the Academy Awards with almost no context and only so people will go “MAN IN DRESS? PREPOSTEROUS! LOLOLOLOLOL!!!1!”

Last song to mention, and then I’ll wrap this puppy up.
TALK ABOUT DIDN’T COME TO PARTY HOT TRANNY MESS talk about nerdcore and how using fag is so you can fully parody and mimic mainstream rap and how especially kabuto has put in this little narrative arc subtly in his music, and at the end of his career, lines like hot lesbian action and getting tired of calling people a fag

FINAL THOUGHTS: talk about how this is all a very subconcious thing, and i am 100% certain that no negative thoughts went through the minds of the people making this music or was intended or anything, and i want to make it abslutely clear i am not blaming or casting aspersions on the musicians, nor am i doing so upon the community. This is a problem much, MUCH larger than our small social sphere, on that affects society as whole, and one that everyone, even a community like ours, should be more vigilant towards. Again, I am bringing this up, not to rail against anyone, but to do what I always wanted to do with this site and this persona, the reason why I started all this in the first place – to start a discussion. To get us to critically analyze the music we all love so much. To give it the respect it deserves by truly pulling it apart an examining each piece and figuring out what makes wizard rock what it is. I would absolutely LOVE to hear your comments and rebuttals below, especially from those who are themselves LGBTQIA (which, now that we finally got some damn vowels in there, is an acronym that should really be re-ordered to make something pronounceable [post your suggestions below! Win a prize of absolute nothing!], like BLAGTIQ or BIGQLAT) and have no problems with the above songs. [PUT THE VERY END OF SPIEL HERE THANKS FOR READING ETC]

[Okay, I’m back! It gets kind of rushed at the end, unfortunately. As for the “HOT TRANNY MESS”, this was just talking about the problematic line in the otherwise brilliant Swish and Flick song “If You Didn’t Come To Party”. Not only is the word “tranny” (as in transexual) pretty obviously a slur, but calling someone a transexual as an insult is… problematic to say the least. It just kind of surprises me, since I know the Swish and Flick family is all about equality and stuff, and while there is some argument to be said about it being part of a character, the “character” of Swish isn’t really ever shown to use actual slurs (there’s even that interlude in the same song about not calling people whores), and there’s a whole song about her character getting with Luna, so… As long as I’m on the subject of trans*, I should also mention that I guess you could find some offense at the otherwise excellent Neville’s Diary song “Pansy Looks Like A Dude” from the even more excellent Siriusly Smiling charity comp, because there is a whole can of worms opened when you start insulting people by saying they look like they should belong to the opposite sex, but I honestly feel that’s more SJW than is warranted here.

Anyways, I feel I raised some interesting points here and I’d really like to get a discussion started, especially from people who themselves are LGB… you know what fuck it, I’m just gonna use “queer” – it’s a hell of a lot easier of a term. Anyways, I’d love to hear what queer folks feel about this, and especially anyone whose music I mentioned in this article. Again let me restate that I 100 percent do not think anyone in wizard rock would at all purposefully make a song that is in any way discriminatory or derogatory, and pretty much any blame to be placed can be largely shifted onto society as a whole, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a discussion worth having, and I would love to have it. Wrock Snob out.]

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sam Harris
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 07:52:34

    Okay, I have a lot of thoughts on this article.
    So my first thought is that ‘tranny’ is not usually a pejorative word for transexual (though it can be), but rather for transvestite, and using tranny this way is not a slur, but more the embraced practice.

    The other thing I will say (though I do have more thoughts on this idea, is that there are no LGBTQ couples in cannon (other than Dumbledore and Grindewald…and that’s barely cannon as is). Because of that, songs that reference non-cannon LGBTQ pairings tend to be taken in a lighter tone, since most shipping (though granted not all in any sense) is taken with a more humorous tone. I would agree that there are few songs that are LGBTQ in nature that aren’t paired with that tone, but I don’t think that’s the case for every song.

    And your point about Brotherly Love turned into Family Matters is more than just an issue about LGBTQ, I think it’s really about taboo and about our view of women as more subservient and the need our male dominated society has on protecting women. There’s is also the issue about age: Ginny being the youngest in the family. If Ginny were the oldest, then the power dynamics of a relationship between Ginny and her brothers would be different. I’m not saying that there is nothing in this situation that has to do with LGBTQ, but it’s a much larger issue.

    Okay….I guess that is all for now….

    Reply

  2. russ
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 17:19:02

    I think it’s important to remember that “Draco and Harry” wasn’t written so much about the characters, as it was an inside joke about how well HatP and DatM got along together. In that frame of reference, it comes off much differently (save, of course, for the references to how awesome my home state of Massachusetts is).

    “Brotherly Love” I always saw as more along the lines of pushing the boundaries of taste in how blatant the song was about incest. It incited more of an uncomfortable laughter, like when you really don’t know how to react, than anything else with me. It’s also one of the very few wrock songs I absolutely refuse to let my kids listen to.

    For the most part, I think the fragmented article has some merit, but doesn’t build a strong case for the reasons mentioned in it – the wrock scene has been very inclusive and welcoming of anyone and everyone, and a few songs that were more about personal jokes or pushing the boundaries of taste certainly don’t point to a hidden agenda from anyone’s viewpoint.

    Reply

  3. voldemargo
    Aug 14, 2013 @ 18:09:34

    Hmm well I always got the impression in songs like Brotherly Love and Draco and Harry that the punchline was not the gayness or the incest, but the shipping culture behind the popularization of those pairings. I’m not sure if they were intended that way, but those songs seem like a response to pre-existing trends for Drarry and twincest (another interesting and controversial topic blah queer fetishisation blah why do some fic-writers find twincest so appealing) as opposed to something straightforwardly mocking the subject matter. See also the twins in Ouran High School Host Club who play on the twincest trope for the benefit of their fangirls.

    Reply

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