Hey, Mom! FM's Bugging Me!
Chances are that you, a Harvard student, have had the "oldest child" conversation in some dining hall at least once.
What you learned during that meal was very interesting, but not surprising: everyone at the table was the oldest kid, the achiever. You also learned that everyone's younger sibling is having much more fun. The younger siblings are happier, freer, cooler, more frequently drunk, than we ever were in high school.
If The Harvard Crimson has a sibling, chances are it's the magazine, Fifteen Minutes. FM is younger, much younger, than the well-established, 120-something, very gray Crime. Although the name "Fifteen Minutes" has only been around for a couple of years, the magazine itself is twentysomething. Or maybe it's just twelve. I really don't know.
There. I could've looked up its age. But as co-editor of the younger-sibling mag, I am lazier and more irresponsible than a news reporter. Someone writing for The Crimson would look up the magazine's age and get its class year and middle initial. I let stuff like that slide in the pages of the mag because I know the Crimson proofer will pick up after me.
It's not easy being the younger one. At the magazine we get a little jealous of the newspaper. Crimson always gets the attention of administrators, Crimson gets the bigger offices, Crimson has a later curfew. (Wait--not always. Sometimes FM closes out hours and hours after The Crimson. Know why? Because Crimson gets to use the Imagesetter first, that's why!)
And Crimson gets a bigger allowance, too. Way bigger. their room cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our budget for the year is 40 bucks. Thanks, dad.
So FM acts up every now and then. So far, no one's had to take FM and Crimson aside and say, "Now look. Do we have to separate you two?" It's not as if we borrow Crimson's clothes or anything. But someone has to be the pest, so we use their writers, their photographers, their cartoonists. We tug on beat reporters' sleeves and ask them to write Scrutinies. We hog the design computer's scanner. We'd tattle on The Crimson, if it was ever naughty. We even tag along when Crimson goes out with its friends, and spy on Crimson when it brings dates home. (Just kidding. Crimson never has dates.)
Generally, FM looks up to The Crimson. A few years ago, when the mag was called The What is to be Done, we actually imitated the newspaper; it was the sincerest form of flattery to be as newsy as Crimson's page one, as gray as page one, as humorless as page one. Now that we are slightly older--now that we're Fifteen Minutes--we choose to do our own thing.
Think of your own little brothers and sisters. Do they walk around wearing funkier clothes than you did, hang out with more dangerous people than you did, have a badder attitude than you did? The same phenomenon applies to the mag. We have flashier design than the Crimson--we have color on our cover, for crying out loud.
Our features regularly contain swear words, we used to have a bottle of vodka in our office, and FM writer Seth Mnookin got a tattoo--or tried to--for a Scrutiny. The Crimson lives less dangerously and certainly has no tattoos. Crimson is the good child.
But that's okay. The Crimson is the smart one, the goal-oriented one, the one that's going places. Crimson picks up its mess, eventually. The mag is the fun-loving troublemaker whose grades aren't as good. The mag office never gets picked up. FM is the one mom and dad look at and shake their heads. It's a good thing they have the Crimson to do them proud.
On the other hand, it's nice that the folks have little FM, the baby of the family, the cute one. After all, magazines just say the darnedest things.
The newspaper thinks so, too. Crimson gives us piggy back rides all the time, calls us "sport," and when people ask hey, isn't the mag kind of a pain? Crimson winks and says, "the mag ain't heavy, it's my brother."