Journalism Found Dead Under Mysterious Circumstances

By Rachel Heston Davis with contributions by Michael Shane West

Journalism (16th century-2009) was found dead today on the Internet, sparking a wave of controversy over possible causes.

Its lifeless body was discovered in a pool of its own wildly speculative articles, most of them from the Internet, and rushed to the presses where it was unable to be revived.

Concerns about Journalism’s failing health began several weeks ago, following an avalanche of online articles about celebrity deaths, births, and divorces. The articles’ focus on speculation, their opinions paraded as factual indicators, their tendency to repeat points disguised as new information, led many to the conclusion that Journalism was in serious trouble.

Autopsy reports are expected as early as next week, but investigators already hinted at the Internet as a prime suspect.

“It might be the result of the over-exposure stories receive on the Internet,” the chief detective said, “though it could just as easily be something else. Nothing will be certain before the autopsy results.”

Another factor came to light early Friday morning: the 24/7 Factor. According to this theory, our country’s short attention span and demand for instant gratification forces reporters to put out new stories almost constantly. This leads them to invent new angles that may be little more than exaggerations of remote possibilities.

A source with knowledge of the situation said, “Journalism talked about the 24/7 Factor a lot in recent months. I can’t help but see that as more than coincidence.”

Police insisted nothing can be certain until the autopsy results come in, but noted that the 24/7 Factor was not yet ruled out.

Some believe that Journalism’s death may have been caused by an accidental overdose of these two factors which, when combined, produce deadly side effects.

Whatever the cause, Journalism’s demise comes as little surprise to its staunchest critics. It came under fire decades ago during the rise of sensationalist tabloids, a time in Journalism’s life which its closest friends still deem as “a dark and difficult point for Journalism.” This only compounded the scandals involving propaganda over the years, which Journalism always failed to comment on. The worst blow to Journalism’s reputation came when it was loosely associated with the death of Princess Diana in 1998.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Journalism may, in fact, have taken its own life, but friends and family members say this is not the case. Journalism was reported in fine spirits the night of June 25, preparing for a round of commentaries the next day on Michael Jackson’s death.

Epic Fantasy Outdated?

I recently stumbled across a web site which dismissed the epic fantasy genre as outdated in the young adult literary world. My first instinct? Roll my eyes and dismiss the site without a second thought—this being a common reaction among epic fantasy lovers when someone scorns our beloved genre.

But then I realized all this eye-rolling, dismissing, and grouchy withdrawal only adds to the problem. Instead of complaining about offensive comments, fans of epic fantasy should meet these challenges head-on (that’s what our favorite literary protagonists do, right?) If we don’t champion this genre as an important literary tradition, how will the wider world understand its importance?

In light of that, here are my top five reasons why epic fantasy is relevant and important to YA literature.

  1. Timeless conflict. The themes of a mighty struggle and good vs. evil can apply to anyone’s life. All teens have problems which feel world-shattering, and the hero quest often speaks to that in a way realistic stories can’t. I do respect and support novels which deal with today’s big issues—drugs, bullying, abuse, sexual harassment, pregnancy—but a literary world devoted exclusively to issue-specific problems would be a narrow world indeed.
  2. Unfamiliar territory. Epic fantasy focuses on worlds foreign to the reader. The settings are strange, the rules unpredictable, the people bizarre. And this is exactly how teens feel about the transition to adulthood. They can relate! Consider how many epic fantasy protagonists begin the story in the real world, familiar to the reader, before making that bewildering jump into a new place and time.
  3. Wide Readership. Epic fantasy readers tend to stay lifelong fans. Adults who loved it as teens continue to pick up teen books in that genre. Teens who develop a taste for it devour any volume within their reach. Epic fantasy isn’t the newest trend, but it has a large audience.
  4. Saving the world. The young adult years bring insecurity and low self-esteem, but readers of YA fantasy journey along with brave heroes who determine the fate of the entire world. It connects readers to the place within themselves which needs to feel important and capable.
  5. Childlike imagination. It’s never good to completely lose your inner child. Epic fantasy draws us back to those most basic childhood daydreams—the prince/princess riding a horse, going on a great journey and bringing home treasure. In a world saturated with hectic schedules and big life decisions, everyone needs a break to return to those simple dreams. Quite frankly, it keeps us sane.

I welcome other voices to this discussion. Any important points I have missed on this list?

RHDavis

Greetings

Welcome to the Rachel Heston Davis blog, home of all my musings on writing and life (life being the experiences of a 25-year-old woman still finding her way in the world). Allow me a quick introduction.

I reside in southern Illinois, which is, for my money, the best place on earth to live (but I’m a little biased–I grew up here). I have one awesome husband, two loving families, many friends, one consuming passion for writing, one house, two cars, a few hobbies, and two pet rats. Yes, I said rats.

My passion is writing. I have a novel-in-progress, a YA epic fantasy with the working title Flynn. Young orphan Flynn is asked to take her parents’ place as military leader against a terrible enemy, but doubts her own abilities and fears that the prince of her kingdom may just be using her to save his own skin.

My graphic series, tentatively titled On Campus, is about neurotic small-town girl Lex Kendal, who enters college against her will and must face life changes and her own obsessive nature with the help of an unlikely band of friends including an angsty tomboy, a womanizing matchmaker who won’t date, a man obsessed with cereal, and a self-proclaimed ex-Fed turned college student.

Other, shorter works include my novella Grace, about a pair of sisters who realize that their family’s quirks are not as harmless as they seem; 24 Rolls of Charmin which details the chilling terror of being discovered TPing in Midwest suburbia; and a short devotional in progress about the nature of community in the Christian life.

My faith in Christ is the biggest factor in my life, and though this worldview influences everything I write (as is the case with all authors, no matter their worldview), most of my work is not overtly Christian.

I am interested in books, movies, plays, novellas, graphic novels and anything else as long as it has a good story behind it. I’m particularly attracted to YA literature.

Besides my faith, my loved ones, and my work, my other all-consuming occupation is trying to figure out who I am. I don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold of white middle-class Bible belt church-raised 25-year-old female, so I devote a lot of time to just being Rachel instead.

I’m glad to have you at my blog and hope you’ll visit again to listen to me rant and muse about things.

RHDavis