Al Jazeera Panel
Was live, and now it’s here. Good times, good panel, good hosting; we could have gone a couple hours I figure. And, we were all talking before things cued up, and I don’t think any of us are trying to pull JK Rowling down. I mean, all writers owe her for creating a whole generation of readers, yes? I know I was always there at midnight, waiting for the next Harry Potter, and I’ve kind of ceremoniously handed her books on to my kids. At the same time, though, in her “History of Magic in North America,” we/Natives may come off a bit like a fantasy creature. For some cultures, maybe this is cool, I don’t know. Problem for us, it’s that it’s been going on for a while now, and’s just one more way to invisible us, to lock us in the past, all that. Anyway, rather than policing every representation, maybe we should just see misrepresentation as an opportunity to educate, yeah? And, as for why Rowling’s catching all this grief from all over for this, for what’s really just a few paragraphs in four pages, it’s probably because her fiction goes so wide that people feel it’s not something they can shrug off, as it/she kind of informs reality.
Anyway, me? When I first read it, I was kind of bummed, yeah, but, I mean, when there’s Redskins flags everywhere, when every third school has us as a mascot (I’ve taught at two of them, PhD’d at another), there’s levels of being bummed, too. So I was willing to give her a pass. She’s all the way over the water, right? Might be hard to even see us clearly from that far off. But then I got to that “1920s Wizarding America” part, where the The Great Sasquatch Rebellion of 1892 is also referred to as Big Foot’s Last Stand. Maybe this is a Custer-joke, and I should be grinning behind my hand? Maybe I would be, except this rebellion synchs up scarily close with the Ghost Dance happening right around the same time, which leads up to the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890, in which Chief Big Foot died. For real, I mean. Lot of dead Indians in the snow. Not sasquatches (in which I very much believe). So: coincidence? Or, is this supposed to be playing on America’s buried half-memory of yeah, something was going on around 1890, I remember that from eighth-grade history class, and there was a “Big Foot” involved. It’s fun to crust fiction around a speck of truth. Just, sometimes it happies up dead Indians in the snow.
Anyway, I only logged on here to post this video, didn’t mean to get all talky. Here goes: