March 10, 2022

Volume XXXIII, Issue V

Editor's Note

Dear reader, Two years ago, almost to the day, Maliya and I were proofing our first-ever scrut mere hours after learning we’d be forced to pack up and leave campus. We were pretty distressed, to put it mildly. Flash forward to two nights ago, when we were … well, still proofing a scrut, and still pretty stressed out, but mostly very excited as we flipped through the lustrous pages of our first-ever glossy! Now that’s what I call character development. Of course, most of the credit goes to our writers, execs, photographers, and designers — we’re blown away by their talents on a weekly basis, and we can’t wait to celebrate together once the you-know-what situation allows. In the meantime, though, there’s plenty of FM content to keep you occupied over spring break. For our cover story, MMFW and APK pulled off the most ambitious concept I’ve seen in this magazine to date: a double reported introspection/scrutiny about religious belief, disbelief, and all that’s fuzzy and in-between. They spent weeks reflecting on their personal faiths and exploring spiritual practices on campus in order to weave two voices and two genres into a meditation on ritual, suffering, selfhood, and community. Lord knows it wasn’t easy — they dismembered drafts, desacralized Oreos, got into an Israel-Palestine debate with a rabbi at Chabad, cried just a teensy bit, and screamed so loudly that JGG raised an eyebrow from the next room over — but the result is at once timely and timeless, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Iron sharpening iron. Thanks for letting me be a part of it. The rest of our issue features a whole host of some seriously impressive figures. MJH profiled an Olympic cross-country skier who had a great time in Beijing but looks forward to returning to Harvard so he can do physics psets to “get his mind off things” — you know, nbd. KLM introduced us to a prodigious student-researcher whose grandmother’s rare brain disorder motivated him to investigate the mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease. SBF and SCS interviewed a Harvard Medical School student who founded an organization to provide speech therapy scholarships for children and dismantle the stigma associated with stuttering. KLS and EAG spoke to an HMS professor who collects cases of spontaneous healing that challenge our Western philosophy toward medicine. HTL asked a Ukranian member of the Society of Russian Bell Ringers about the organization’s mission of cultural exchange and its recent advocacy efforts. And SM caught a glimpse of Toto Wolff (6’5”), CEO of the Mercedes Formula One team, who revved up a crowd of fans (and HRTW’s heart rate) at the Business School. Our compers didn’t shy away from controversy this week. CEG chronicled the evolution of the Housing Day video tradition, including some classics that made the highlight reel and others that probably should’ve been bloopers. MN traced the history of Black nationalism at Harvard back to Martin Robison Delany, who was among the first Black admits to the University (and, not uncoincidentally, among the first to be expelled). SCS probed a different rabbi about another tough subject: the Harvard University Choir’s decision to not perform Bach’s St. John Passion this year out of concerns of fueling anti-Semitism on campus. Finally, bringing us back full circle on an unexpectedly similar spiritual note, KT stunned with an endpaper about finding solace in nature’s cycles of growth and decay, fittingly rendered in lush and rhythmic prose. The past week has been rough, and I couldn’t have done it without everyone who kept me company in the FM office at ungodly hours: MHS, whose laptop was (literally) a hefty sacrifice for our cause; SS, who skipped studying for her midterm to spearhead the yassification of FM; MH, who was ready to run to 14p with a packed suitcase to help me add an eighth of an inch to a PDF; JGG, who was abundantly generous with both his cookie cake and his time; and MVE, who caught a case of you-know-what but stayed up with me anyway over the phone, raspy-voiced and bleary-eyed, to look for typos. Thank you all. Let’s never do that again. Now go get some sleep. Enjoy this issue, and have a wonderful break. Sincerely, SSL & MVE