October 13, 2022

Volume XXXIII, Issue XIV

Editor's Note

Dear Reader, The year was 1992. The Cold War had just ended. Clinton defeated the incumbent Bush. And Fifteen Minutes Magazine came kicking and screaming into the world. The editors of The Crimson’s former magazine, The What, called the replacement “a fucking tragedy.” But hey, we managed to outlive them — we’re ringing in our 30th birthday this year and still going strong, 33 volumes later.* 
To commemorate the occasion, our compers gifted us with their very first stories in this issue! EJS reported on the activists calling for caste discrimination protections at Harvard. MLFS and NKB asked experts about the ethical challenges of using AI in health care. SND visited an art exhibition that promised to bring the Northern Lights to Cambridge but seemed underwhelming to some visitors (including our own MX) this weekend. AZ and NDC spoke to the citizens protecting Cambridge’s trees during a months-long drought, and MW traced the transnational history of the redwoods in Harvard Yard and the Arboretum. MMFW interviewed Adele Bacow about urban design, her book club, and that guy she’s married to. JKW explored the unique intersection of tourists, residents, and historic legacies in Salem, Massachusetts. The personal essays this week absolutely shined. URR’s love letter to sardines is so fervent that I almost want to try a can. SB reflected on seeing Harvard through the lens of “On Beauty” with all the empathy and clarity of Zadie Smith herself. And ACF wrote a stellar endpaper on the solitude, community, and joy in astronomy. Finally, a scrutiny composed of a reported introduction and six gorgeous introspections grounds our issue. MGB, MX, MMN, AZW, KSG, SS, and REJC came together from across The Crimson’s boards to rewrite the rules of the college application essay. They critique the tropes of the “resilience narrative” and heroic redemption arc, which pressure students to write as though they’ve single-handedly overcome systemic harms for the gratification of admissions officers. Then, they turn to their own Harvard admissions essays to reflect on the pressures they experienced, the doubts they encountered, and the parts of themselves they left behind the first time around — with the hopes of telling a more complicated, more complete, and more authentic story. Enormous thanks to all the writers for their honest and unwavering prose, and especially to Meimei and Mila, who handled all the twists and turns of this scrut with admirable resiliency. Thank you also to MMFW and SWF, for party planning prowess. To SS and SCS, for solid Sophia representation at maestro. To MH and JH, for letting us start without the men. To JGG, for stepping up his comment game — we noticed! And to MVE, for the late-night walks back home — rain, rats, roaches, and all. :’) Thirty, flirty, and thriving indeed … though if you ask us, we don’t look a day over 29. Love, SSL & MVE *“Why are we on our 33rd volume in our 30th year?” I asked MVE earlier this evening. We have no idea.