So You Wanna Be an MTV VeeJay Too

"Fifteen Minutes" is a relic of the early `90s. The magazine title--chosen because it was "pop culturey"--was meant to say

"Fifteen Minutes" is a relic of the early `90s. The magazine title--chosen because it was "pop culturey"--was meant to say goodbye to The Crimson`s old magazine, "What Is To Be Done" and hello to something different, something new, something Andy Warhol might approve of.

Referencing Warhol, I think, was intended to be cool and cultured, like FM. Back then, the magazine housed the "op-Arts" section of theatre, music, film and book reviews; this material took up half of the magazine. Given the content, a nod to Warhol, the artist, made sense.

But multisyllabic "Fif-teen Min-utes" didn't stick with Harvard students and soon, most everyone called the magazine by its initials, F.M. This started to confuse the matter. "FM" smacked of radio journalism, not print. And pronounced quickly, these initials sound like shorthand for Afro-American Studies (Af-Am), "effeminate"(effeme) or "fuck them" (f-'em!).

Identity crisis only worsened two years ago when the op-Arts were removed from FM to form the separate "Arts" section. "What now?" thought the magazine editors. And thus Fifteen Minutes, sans arts section, tumbled into confusion. Who are we, where are we going? Various theories surfaced. Some editors thought that "Fifteen Minutes" should be about popular culture with kitschy visuals and copy. Others took the Warhol reference more literally and sprinkled the magazine with Campbell's soup cans. Recent magazine executives interpreted the title at face value--a quarter hour--and brought a chronological theme to the magazine's sections--For the Moment, The Minutes, In the Meantime, As it Were. Over the past seven years, the magazine simply hasn't grown into its new name.

Maybe it's time for a new magazine title, I thought to myself recently. I imagined sticking with an abbreviation but this time something less radio, more sophistication. Something intelligent. And witty! The letters, "J.P." flashed to mind. But then I reconsidered. Maybe Andy's famous words--and the very magazine title--held the secret.

"Fifteen Minutes" isn't about soup cans or time puns, pop art or `80s movies. Fifteen Minutes, in Andy's estimation, is how long each one of us will get in the spotlight. And that's all we get.

This week, FM wonders what's in a name--"Rising Star: A Brand Name History," and the Endpaper by Vasugi V. Ganeshananthan. We resolve to find fame, be it brief, be it phony--Adam Taub becomes a precocious pre-frosh and Noah Oppenheim leads a troupe to New York City to hit the big time--all for the sake of Fifteen Minutes.