Lessons from Harry Potter
Once again I find myself in the inescapable throes of procrastination. I have two articles due and yet, I have Zendaya’s Disney movie, Zapped, ready for the watching and I’ve have spent the better part of the afternoon reading bountiful articles about how to make egg soufflé. It’s safe to say that tomorrow morning I intend to be cooking with Chef Curry. After the excitement of last week’s visit to the Harry Potter exhibition in Paris, I found myself contemplating the morals learnt from the story of the boy wizard (almost bought a shirt from the gift store with the word ‘wizard’ emblazoned in glittery gold but opted for the cliché ink and quill).
Aside from the very obvious altruistic nature of the lightning bolt scarred boy and his posse, whom the story is focused on, we learn a lot about the shortcomings of people and the systems we built to stratify our world. Much like the wizarding world, the real world is riddled with social pathologies that we as individuals try desperately to navigate around. One of my favourite finds recently is the documentary series by an independent young British director called Cecile Emeke. Emeke’s 'Strolling' series gets its power from the fact that the individuals who are strolling take us along for a day in their lives and have candid and unguided conversations about the faults with the society they live in. It really resonates with me because it just reaffirms my belief that we are all connected. So much of what many of the strollers say, I can relate to without necessarily sharing a similar background with them. The fact that a large number of us can relate to experiencing the same social struggles in what is meant to be the best possible socio-political environment speaks volumes.
I often joke with one of my good friends that I half expect Ashton Kutcher to jump up from under my table and tell me to look into a Punk’d camera. For all the tertiary education and work experience I was lead to believe would open up the world to me, it’s more true to say that my parents wallets and my husband have done more door opening than anything else. With no useful solutions to the education-unemployment cycle in the foreseeable future, so many of us millennials are in a kind of limbo about our careers and identities i.e. what it means to grow up. In the past adulthood was defined as being able to pass through education systems and then find gainful employment and be financially independent and responsible. With the lingering effects of the economic crisis, thank you U.S. housing market bubble, that definition of adulthood has gone out the window. Most people my age tell me they don’t feel like adults; as if adulthood has a feeling. I guess that feeling was security and in this unsure environment Voldemort is a placeholder for unemployment, debt and being unable to move out of your parent’s home.
If I think too deeply about the implications of that truth, I run the risk of falling into a depression induced comma. So I dream of a better world with better people and work towards being a better person. I am a big believer in other people’s dreams too, symptomatic of being a dreamer I guess, as opposed to taking the red pill and hiding beneath the blanket of celebrity ‘news’. In episode 13 of 'Strolling' the young man says “Once you become aware of the problematics of race and gender, you see everything through that lens” and echoes my sentiments about everyday life as a soon to be 30 triply African female, awareness has made it hard to enjoy a plethora of media and aspects of everyday life. Awareness forces you into a conflict with world systems and with yourself that, if I’m being honest, I sometimes wish I wasn’t engaged in.
I'm taking a queue from Harry Potter and talking about it because even without naming the problems, sooner or later they find us and affect us all.