The Story Bazaar was never intended to be a news and current affairs site, there are already enough of those, but a site about books and writing, along with the other creative arts and some ‘foreign life and travel’ writing. The events of 2016, however, prompted blog pieces, specifically the ‘Democracy’ series, on politics and modern life. When compiling the Compendium for 2016 ( and yes, it is coming, I promise ) I was surprised to see the number of articles which showed a certain amount of prescience. So, in good old-fashioned journalistic tradition, I’m saying, ‘You read it here first’.
The Price of Veg
Splashed all over the news last week – see Daily Telegraph and The Independent and The Sun ( please, I draw the line at The Sun ) was the rising cost of fresh vegetables, especially ‘salad’ type vegetables, spun according to political preference. Is it all evil Europe’s fault (The Sun) or Brexit or blizzards? We at The Story Bazaar reported on this in Mountain Winter on 25th January 2017, before any of the others.
The Guardian reported on London pollution and a double-page feature in The Observer last Sunday focussed on London Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s, intervention about air quality and pollution in London. This was the subject of an article for The Story Bazaar ‘Not Quite a Green London for 2025‘ by barbarapi on 28th October 2016.
It’s become received wisdom now and everyone talks about the ‘left behind’, the ‘nothing to lose’ attitude of pro-Brexit voters and ‘post-truth’, but this wasn’t the case back at the end of June, two days, in fact, after the UK voted to leave the EU. ‘The Weekend After‘ did just that.
And Parliamentary scrutiny, well The Story Bazaar was talking about that way back in June 2016, before the Referendum result, see Democracy.
Not a difficult one to predict this – Donald Trump was surprisingly consistent in his views on this subject during his campaign. What is equally surprising is the number of commentators and journalists who didn’t listen, or who listened and disregarded this as campaign jingoism, not something which would come to pass. The Story Bazaar wasn’t one of them and we wrote about it and the damage it could do to the whole world in ‘Trade’ almost immediately after Trump won the election. And Mr Trump’s inaugural address – ‘America First! America First!’
In ‘Alt-life‘ ( 28th November 2016 ) The Story Bazaar speculated on living in an alternative universe, avoiding dirty reality. Now President Trump says he believes in ‘alternative facts’ and KellyAnne Conway, his advisor, demonstrates the Alt-Universe with her reference to the ‘Bowling Green massacre’ which never actually happened. These days you don’t need to be a fiction writer to create alternative worlds ( maybe the Society of Authors should try to recruit her ).
Authors are certainly fighting back. Demarkation! The creation of alternative worlds is our bailiwick! Much respected, prize-winning science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin reacted with clarity and precision to the claim that ‘alternative fact’ might be related to science fiction. JK.Rowling, meanwhile, has been taking on the trolls on Twitter (old news for any one who tweets regularly).
Going forward, The Story Bazaar will continue to sense the zeitgeist before the crowd does and, looking backward, the Compendium 2016 bringing together all last year’s articles will be ready soon.