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Hello, fellow podcast lovers!

If you only have time to read one essay today, I'm going to ask that you read Chiquita Paschal's essay about their time at Gimlet, Hidden in Plain Sight. Fundamentally, this is an essay about how anti-Blackness in the audio development workplace has a profound mental, emotional, and physical effect on Black employees.

Please note: this is not about all employees. You cannot read this essay and try to summarize it without talking about anti-Blackness.

Thank you.
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In 2018, I wrote a general essay about magical realism as a genre, with the intent of clarifying why it is deeply bothersome, and even problematic, for white folks and colonizers to claim the label for their own fiction. I grew up with magical realism in my home, even growing up with atheist skeptics, and in my communities in Puerto Rico. It was an integral part of my education and the development of my way of thinking and believing.

In 2019, I read several threads (now deleted) by Silvia Moreno-García about magical realism, the general thrust of which was that magical realism is a dead, historical genre. It’s the result of a time and place that can’t be repeated. This notion has warred inside me with my deep-rooted love of the genre, and with the very fact that magical realism is just the way certain things are understood in the communities I grew up in. How can it be dead?

Magical realism has been rife with categorization problems from the start, ever since Cuban author Alejo Carpentier published his conception of lo real maravilloso (the marvelous real) and bifurcated the genre in ways that were, and still are, elided over, ignored, or simply impenetrable. Do “realismo mágico” and “lo real maravilloso” refer to the same concept, or not? Whether they do or not, it’s this historical, ongoing confusion that underscores how much we have moved on from a classic understanding of and conversation about magical realism. Hurtado Heras (1997) even offers as one reason for the confusion that magical realism was (emphasis his) “a type of literature that characterized Latin American aspirations post-World War II, in a continual search for identity.

The distinctions between lo real maravilloso and magical realism have flattened into a purely historical discussion, as instead Latin American authors must argue for their speculative fiction to receive labels other than “magical realism”. To an English-speaking, English-publishing audience, this second label of marvelous real has never even existed; the tension and criticism that went on for decades post-WWII in Latin American critical circles, particularly during the Boom of the 60s, has never been present in this modern public market. Instead, publishers lean on the little thrill that everyone gets when reading the words “magical realism”: maybe, perhaps, you can find the magic in your regular, mundane, everyday life too.

To some extent, I agree with Moreno-García: Latin American magical realism, as we understand it, is a historical literary genre and way of thinking that cannot be replicated in Latin America anymore because of the sociopolitical and technological changes that have come to pass. Urbanization and Westernization have affected concepts of time and realities of nature, both of which are gateways to the magical*. Nothing written in the current day can be purely magical realism anymore.

But I don’t know that I would describe magical realism as dead. That feels improbable, knowing how much it still influences writers from colonized countries around the world today. Even just knowing how much it still thrives in my own household.

In 2018, I attended the Association of Writers & Writers' Programs Conference in Portland on a whim, buying tickets literally the night before. At that conference, I attended a panel called "The Cultural Responsibility of Magical Realism." It was a moving, clear-sighted panel that came back to me when I initially began grappling with the idea of death of a genre.

"It's not a genre," Ana Dávila Cardinal, young adult fiction author from Puerto Rico, said, "it's a movement...and it's not just Latinx. It belongs to many post-colonial authors."

Perhaps what seems like death is just movement. Magical realism has moved: flown to the pastures it is needed now, a platform for people oppressed by colonizers, whose ancient traditions and stories need to take form and fight in their languages and their histories. And I know, myself, that realismo mágico can easily wend a tendril or two into our fantasies, a gentle thread keeping us tethered to the past -- so that we don't forget. So that we can tell our children. And so that we can fight another day.

Hurtado Heras, Saúl. "El Realismo Mágico: génesis, evolución, confusión." (1997) Convergencia: Revista de Ciencias Sociales, 14, pp. 261-277.


I can help you figure out a lot of things: scripting, press outreach, social media. But I need help too, especially when it comes to advertising technology.

Sounds Profitable is my go-to newsletter for learning all about adtech: What’s a lift report? Is post-roll any good to sell? How do dynamic ads work? Bryan Barletta produces this weekly newsletter every Monday, and doesn’t let you wallow in jargon and buzzwords. It’s the life raft you’ve been looking for. 
If you want to see more reviews, interviews, and other articles from me, you can support me at my Patreon, or at my ko-fi account for a one-time donation! You can also sign-up to talk about advertising in the newsletter.
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Tal Minear's essay on How to Audio Drama 201 expertly covers the basics, and some of the nuances, for writing trans characters.

Cassie Josephs wrote about the phenomenon of forcing queer folks to out themselves in order to produce "authentic art". Short answer: don't do that.

Stitch's Polygon article on stan Twitter is a must-read, especially so we can identify these things playing out in the fiction space.

Some Twitter thoughts on representation in TV, and its association with moral good.

Highly recommend everyone check out the game When Rivers Were Trails, the Indigenous perspective and histories of the Oregon Trail, to learn about oral storytelling traditions, the white-washing of history, and real family stories from Indigenous folks.

Here's the Bello Collective article that helped kick off the discussion about whether Pro-Tools proficiency is keeping audio from diversifying.

I think several organizations would benefit from this Speaker Rider from Open News to create meaningfully inclusive events.

On the Seen and Not Heard podcast feed, you can hear Caroline Minck's talk about Representing d/Deafness in an Audio Medium. is providing podcast transcriptions now that can be accessed right in the show notes. I'm looking forward to testing it out on Podcast Addict.
  • Indrisano Audio, LLC: Get help launching or improving your podcast with our consulting, composition, and editing services! You bring the Drama - we've got the Audio. Learn more at our websit

  • Podcasts in Color Directory: Discover and engage with podcasts produced and created by people of color at the largest currently running directory dedicated to elevating their voices.
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May your podcasts bring you joy,
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