The world at large has always been a tumultuous place, particularly with the advent of new online media entities, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle of network news making us more aware than at any other time in history of the shit going down across the globe.
Lately, however, it seems it’s not just greater access to the news that’s making the world seem so untenable, but rather the quality of the news as well.
Like many people all over both North America and the world, I followed the live results of the US election on November 8.
Because I don’t own a TV, I attempted to stream the coverage on my laptop. Yet, because so many North Americans and people from around the world were also watching, the stream timed out every minute or so, in need of constant refreshing.
It was in this way, along with commentary from a battery-operated radio and the #ElectionNight hashtag on Twitter, that the end result eventually – astoundingly, at least to me – became clear.
It’s hardly worth referencing a specific incident to support this statement. Just turn on your TV. Turn on the radio. Log on to any social media platform. Open your front door. You could spit and it would land on something awful taking place. The reasons why are too numerous to count.
Image of a Native American man from J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America.
How do I know if I’m appropriating the traditions of another culture in my writing versus creating a respectful adaptation?
Admittedly, this isn’t an issue I’ve devoted much thought to in the past. Of late, however, following the J.K. Rowling #MagicInNorthAmerica controversy, it’s been on my mind a fair bit.
For those not familiar, #MagicInNorthAmerica has to do with a series of fictional monographs discussing the history of magic in the Harry Potter universe. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling recently released these on her Pottermore website to promote the release of the upcoming movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Aside from the obvious – heat, crawfish, lots of people who kinda look like me – I didn’t really know what to expect when I decided to join in on the trip mother was making to New Orleans.
Part of this was through my own negligence: as per usual, I can be quite gung-ho about actually purchasing plane tickets to given destinations, obsessively checking travel sites, scrutinizing fares, and generally wheeling and dealing my way into a good enough rate.
However, once my credit card has been billed and the all-important travel points accumulated, my preparation and enthusiasm dies off significantly until such time as I actually set foot on the ground. To wit, I signed out three different New Orleans travel guides from the library and had to renew all three no less than five times (each renewal comprising a period of three weeks).