Scrutiny


Volume XXXI, Issue XX

Dear reader, At the end of each year, FM typically publishes a feature called “15 Most Interesting Seniors.” It’s always felt silly for the editors of a magazine to be the judges of who is “most interesting,” but it felt especially silly to do this in 2020, when a pandemic has spread us all across the world, far away from our campus and its definition of “interesting.” So this year, we decided to switch things up. We generated 15 seniors at random and profiled them — learning about their circumstances and exploring how the pandemic has impacted their lives. In the process, we wrote about seniors who are enrolled in classes and taking time off, who spent the semester on campus and abroad, who are interning and caring for their families. We hope that we’ve painted a portrait of the Class of 2021 as it is — scattered, tired, overwhelmed, and a little hopeful, too. We didn’t intend or expect that this feature would feel celebratory, as has often been the case in the past. In a year so defined by distance, disease, and death, that tone felt, well, at least little inappropriate. But even amid accounts of loss and hardship, our writers found so many things to celebrate — a pitcher on the varsity baseball team getting to play catch each afternoon with his dad, a pair of high school sweethearts taking their cat for walks, an aspiring surgeon caring for nearly 100 small fish. We hope you’ll take some time to get to know the seniors who took some time to let us into their worlds. This issue also inaugurates FM’s first “Illustrated Magazine.” It’s a tradition we hope continues, because wow are our illustrators talented. Marvel at their work as you read beautiful reflections on gaps and how we fill them from JZL, MVE, RLL, JEG, FYH, and SPM. And of course you won’t want to miss goodbye endpapers from the talented AAC and SSAY. What a year it’s been. When we took over as editors of this magazine, we imagined our biggest problems would be exhausted Wednesday mornings in John Boonstra’s HL90 or frustrated Thursday evenings when C’est Bon ran out of non-variety pack Angry Orchard Rosé. Needless to say, things went differently than expected. But seeing our editors and writers come together week after week to keep our magazine chugging along — that’s been a greater joy than we could have ever imagined, too. We can’t wait to see where FM goes under the leadership OGO and MNW. Thanks for faithfully reading — we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our increasingly unhinged closeout notes as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them. Yours, AWDA & NHP


Beyond the Classroom, Lurking Fears and Conflicting Truths

Reopening Cambridge’s schools has surfaced tensions old and new — between public and private schools, between teachers and administrators, between vulnerable families and the representatives tasked with speaking on their behalf — challenging the district’s stated commitment to “equity and access.” And as plans continue to shift, some parents worry that those at greatest risk may ultimately have the least say in the process.


Free Fall

Harvard spent months planning a fall semester in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the spring, when workers were exposed to the full force of the pandemic — including at least one who contracted COVID-19 after cleaning President Lawrence Bacow’s residence on March 19. Yet this fall, workers continue to face new iterations of the same anxieties over workplace safety and economic security.


Breaking the Harvard Bubble

The “Harvard bubble” is a phenomenon that shields students from the responsibilities of adult life, yet also blocks them from engaging with the communities that surround the University. But after Harvard’s campus became off-limits to many, some students find themselves settling outside the bubble’s walls, placing them next to a local housing crisis that the bubble can no longer hide.


A Value Proposition

Harvard makes its students an implicit promise: that it can give them both a liberal arts education and a high-paying job following graduation. But this promise has never been equally accessible to everyone — and the pandemic has exacerbated this inequity.


Volume XXXI, Issue XVI

Dearest reader, Producing this issue has fostered some long-due personal growth: We defined the contours of the “millennial aesthetic color pallet,” sampled takeout from “Thai Hut Restaurant,” and finally learned how to spell “a cappella.” The virtual college experience continues to be transformative, I guess. Of course, we also published some stellar content. MVE and AJT profile the UnLonely Project. GRO takes FM’s annual trip to Salem. MMFW and SF meet the creatrixes behind the anticapitalist, employee-owned pottery shop on Mass. Ave. GJP discusses Chicago Youth Poet Laureate Penelope Alegria’s new chapbook. KKC reflects on why Harvard students grow up so fast. AMC explores the allure of productivity YouTube videos. JL and JCA investigate the fraught dynamics behind the Harvard Republican Club’s decision to endorse Trump. And in this week’s endpaper, EKJ tells the story of her choice to stand up for her mother. KL and OGO anchor this week’s issue with their scrutiny on Harvard’s curious post-graduate employment landscape. Harvard, they write, makes its students an implicit promise: The University can give them both a liberal arts education and a high-paying job when they graduate. But that promise has never been equally accessible to everyone — and the pandemic has only served to exacerbate its inequalities. The year is rapidly coming to a close — but FM still has plenty of surprises in store. Yours, AWDA + NHP


"Are We In The Minority?"

When a group of Black Harvard students founded the Generational African American Students Association, they created a new label for an old identity. But the act of naming has raised a host of difficult questions about representation within elite spaces, access to the resources they provide, and the efficacy of promoting marginalized groups within them. And advocating for Generational African American Students carries a fraught undercurrent — a tension between specificity and solidarity, a risk of pitting one marginalized group against another.


Volume XXXI, Issue XV

Dear reader, It’s a rainy afternoon, and inside the Somerville Bureau of The Harvard Crimson, we’re all on our laptops staring longingly at photos of Crema Cafe. Perfect weather, if you ask us, to switch tabs and instead peruse your Favorite Magazine. In this week’s cover story, JFA writes of the newly-founded Generational African American Students Association, a first-of-its-kind affinity group within the Black community at Harvard and around the country for folks who trace their lineage to American slavery. Though GAASA has provided its members with an answer to the vexing question “where are you really from?” it nonetheless comes with a host of fraught questions — about representation within elite spaces, access to the resources they provide, and the efficacy of promoting marginalized groups within them. With care and thoughtfulness, JFA questions the supposed threat “specificity” poses to “solidarity.” But of course that’s not all: DCB and MX profile the music venue lobbying against Somerville’s ban on outdoor live music. AVM speaks with the restaurants prepping for a long winter. ANW explores why the Graduate School of Education pushed its Ph.D. admissions to the next cycle. TCK prepares for a virtual Harvard Model Congress tournament. TMB and SNT talk to the experts about Massachusetts’s drought. SWT traces the roots of the “radical biweekly” Old Mole magazine. And in the first installment of their column on sex and work, EDP and JFA profile the feminist audio pornography company Quinn. LRW closes the issue with a vivid account of a chicken slaughtering and a poignant reflection on the ways we justify our decisions. Still quarantining, we assume? Perfect — crack open our magazine and take your mind off the bad stuff. Yours, AWDA + NHP


The Fringes of the Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine

In March, a small group of scientists affiliated with Harvard Medical School began self-administering an unapproved SARS-CoV-2 vaccine they had designed alone in a private laboratory. Then, they decided to post their procedure on the internet, claiming it was only ethical that they share their knowledge. The actions of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative challenge traditional understandings of the scientific process — and it’s unclear whether its “necessary act of compassion” is safe or legal.


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