The College community has found itself bursting at the seams to express itself by any means or media possible, a fact best exemplified by the emergence of two new publications: the fashion magazine Eminence and the satirical newspaper The Haystack.
Both of these publications arrived at the beginning of the spring semester and are the first works of their kinds that the College has seen in recent years. Moreover, while the concept of a fashion magazine or a satirical paper lures one to think of these publications as simply spin-offs of recognizable, popular standards, what are most captivating about these publications are their idiosyncrasies and fresh voices, all tailored to the College experience.
Jesse Scott ’19 conceived Eminence even before arriving on campus. “[I came to the College] knowing that I wanted to be involved with a fashion publication. I saw that Williams didn’t have one and that it was a real niche that needed to be filled on this campus, and I knew since last year that I was going to found a magazine,” Scott, who has been involved with fashion his whole life, said.
In the fashion world, especially in the media aspect of the industry, it is hard to deviate from the duckling line of publications that follow titan magazines, such as Vogue. What makes Eminence unique is that it serves as a “college fashion magazine that is talking about the fashion world at large, but also fashion issues on this campus,” Scott said.
Scott’s position on fashion is clearly well-rounded. Rather than remaining blind to all but one camp of the fashion world, he’s well-informed and open-minded. “I think that fashion is a beautiful art, but fashion is also a base means of communication,” Scott said. “I think that fashion is an all-encompassing idea in itself, and I think my magazine is all about expression. It really embodies the ideas of grace, elegance and professionalism that we on the staff of Eminence stand for and that we at Williams stand for.” The true product of Eminence is a forum for expression.
“What I hope my magazine does is … [give] students that space to express who they are in the fashion world and to not hide who they are,” Scott said.
In the new satirical paper The Haystack, pioneered by Christopher D’Silva ’18 and Morry Kolman ’18, student life is hyperbolically exhibited not only comically, but also with a cutting wit that represents actual student life on campus. The Haystack was similarly preconceived before the two arrived in the Purple Valley.
“I had a satire magazine in high school, and I knew it was something I wanted to do in college. Morry and I met at the New York City meet-up, and we started talking about how we wanted to start a satire newspaper here,” D’Silva said.
Satirical newspapers have long been cornerstones for high schools and colleges with sizable comedy communities, and larger publications such as The Onion and Clickhole dominate much of the satirical media market. What is charming and refreshing about The Haystack is that, though its creators did look to these mega-publications for inspiration, they are not imitators by any means. While The Onion’s articles tend to follow the same structure every time, “we haven’t had enough publications to find a formula, and I hope that we never do settle into one,” D’Silva said. In flipping through an issue of The Haystack, one encounters all different types of pieces, from lists to long articles.
The Haystack creates a space for comedy in a context that promotes both confidence in one’s writing and the importance of not taking oneself too seriously. The publication practically screams at its readers to satirize their own lives, and it is hard to read an issue without coming up with one’s own ideas for articles. However, in being a writer for The Haystack, one must learn to accept with a smile the phrase, “This isn’t funny – fix it,” as Kolman put it. Satire might be just what the College, where things are often taken quite seriously, needs.
Both of these new publications create spaces for expression. Eminence works to help students find the courage and pride to express their unique fashion. “If you want to wear a tie to class, you can wear a tie to class,” Scott earnestly said of his hopes for the magazine’s influence. The Haystack, meanwhile, provides the confidence to take one’s entire ego and chop it down with a smile.
Eminence will put out a spring issue later in the semester. The Haystack released its first issue last week and will be pumping out a few more issues throughout the semester, in addition to providing breaking news updates on its Facebook page.