Quicker on the Draw
Dare you to start a magazine these days--and get out your first issue before the Lampoon prints it for you.
Inside Edge, the latest demonchild of Harvard's magazine-making monster, missed by about a day. 'Poonsters littered the campus last night with their own edition.
This all should sound familiar. The Jerk, a would-be humor magazine, was preempted by a Lampoon parody last year--and the real thing never materialized. Bona fide Jerk editors had claimed their magazine would have been serious humor. But how do you make fun of something that's already self-parody?
To be fair, I haven't seen Inside Edge yet. But I've seen its long, glossy press packet. And well, this magazine is no There and Back.
No, Inside Edge seems more like an adolescent male Sassy, published by Harvard's adolescent-males-in-residence. Its regular features include "Ask Mike," "hip advice from a guy who's been around." Then there's "Ask Monique," "what to know from a babe who's been around." I hope Inside Edge has more staying power than The Jerk. It's probably just as absurd as the parody that came before it.
Besides, if we're going to spawn more and more magazines, this is the way to go. Inside Edge probably won't be seeking an Undergraduate Council grant. A subsidiary of Time Warner is handling distribution. (I wonder if they'll door-drop.)
At least we know the magazine is in experienced hands. The press release on Inside Edge Editor-in-Chief Jonathan K. Hsu '94 reads, "Being an editor-in-chief is not new to Mr. Hsu, who had already served in that capacity for 'Undergraduate Connection,' the official publication of Harvard's student government."
I passed through the Yard one day during my first year here, and saw two women--clearly tourists--intently examining a kiosk plastered with ads for IOP panels and Veritones auditions. "Here," one said to her companion. "Take a picture of me by all of these rally posters."
If only life here were that interesting. In general, posters are all too bland and predictable: the sexual innuendo for the Shakespeare play, the neurotic question for Room 13, the "Free Beer" eye-catcher for the fledgling organization.
But a few groups have been somewhat more noteworthy recently...
Anti-Anti-Powell, by AALARM:
Robert K. Wasinger '94, a member of AALARM's Presidential Council, says his organization "fully welcomes homosexuals to join," even though the group holds the official position that it is a crime to be gay. But if you join up, don't expect your fellow members to stay silent. "We try to bring everybody to our point of view through persuasion," Wasinger says.
AALARM posted a recent sign that lists a number of states in which homosexuality is illegal. That's true to form. But the group's latest offering seems uncharacteristically pro something: General Colin Powell. In fact, the posters rail against Powell critics for "foisting their misconceptions upon our so-called diverse campus." Hmmm.
The Callbacks' Last Jam:
Performance posters here tend to be selfserving. A corner of a kiosk is the closest thing Harvard has to a theater marquee. You can get your name on a poster. Maybe even your picture. Presto--you're famous!
The Callbacks took the ego-massage a step further with the teasers for their latest concert. The posters urged students to spend a weekend evening with [insert Callback member's name.] Of course, the name was in big print.
Trouble is, most of us probably had no idea who any of these people were. Stay tuned for Crimson comp posters urging students to spend a weekend night with [insert editor's name in big print.]
SafetyWalk is a great service, an important service. I've used it. I recommend it.
But I also recommend that the organization recruit a poster editor. The latest SafetyWalk teaser is a bit ambiguous. "Look Both Ways. Use a Condom. Call SafetyWalk," it reads. Taken one way, it's a list of fundamental precautions. In the wrong hands, though, it becomes a frightening prescription for behavior--something, perhaps, that might be detailed in an Inside Edge how-to feature.
Yes, Safety Walk's poster may well describe a typical Friday night for the guy who gets around. "Look Both Ways." Get to the bar safely, or you won't have any fun. "Use a Condom." Nuff said. "Call SafetyWalk." You wouldn't want a mugger to spoil a perfectly good evening, would you?
What would AALARM say? Maybe we'll find out in the next poster.
Crimson Editorial Chair Joanna M. Weiss '94 offers homage to Grunblings.