Our writers have been hard-working and good to us recently, so this week we decided to change things up and let them make all the executive creative decisions. They came up with their articles and wrote them, we fixed typos and added paragraphs (hey Alex, maybe stop writing everything on your iPhone). We’re very proud of all of them and their work; having been inspired by the introduction given to the declamations at the Means Essay All-School Meeting several weeks ago, we’ve prepared a little diddly preamble to each of their pieces. Please enjoy this raw, (mostly) unfiltered look into the brains of the lovely people who bring you your weekly dose of comedy. Here we go!
Our first piece today is an incisive, timely satire by the one and only Alex Bernhard. “Theories Fly About How Molly Stun ’17 Got Into College” is a meditative piece on the intricacies of the college process that poses the age-old question, just how did Molly Stun ’17 get into college? Bernhard poignantly reflects upon the widespread misconception that we live in a utopic meritocracy, and he remarks how low we’ll stoop in order to fulfill our vapid, materialistic dreams of attending an Ivy League college. Furthermore, Bernhard denounces Andover’s culture of overachievement, and our frankly unrealistic desire to stand out amongst such accomplished peers.
Our second piece is a biographical vignette about a Post-Graduate’s struggle to graduate. Using iambic pentameter to convey the passage of time, Sophia Gilmour poetically captures the maturation process all students undergo at Andover. Rick Brown, a PG, picks the metaphorical “grey hairs out of his beard,” symbolizing the mental development and physical deterioration that students experience. One wonders if the preparatory school experience of Tobias Wolff’s Old School (“We even talked like Hemingway characters, though in travesty, as if to deny our discipleship,” writes Wolff) can still remain intact in the ever-increasingly hyperactive post-Internet, “alternative facts” nation in which we seem to find ourselves.
Rhea Chandran’s “Student 3D Prints Device that Causes Targeted Malfunction in All Calculators Present” is an exquisitely crafted parable, inspired by Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, which grapples with the notion of feminine beauty and its role in the artistic world. Chandran explores myth and oral tradition in the creation of a new origin story in which Jesus becomes aspiring chemist, teacher becomes student, and crucifix becomes calculator. Drawing heavily from both the Confucian and the Stoic schools of philosophical thought, Chandran’s work begs us to consider what determines the nature of a crime: intent, or impact? For protagonist Luther Protter ’18 (named, not insignificantly, after Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Church — indeed, what is a protest?), the answer is all too apparent.
Three pieces, each in conversation with the others, challenging, and remarkably mature. And, cynical as they may seem — particularly in Trump’s America — upon inspection and, of course, a little bit of active reading, each yields hope, like a flower blooming in the summer sunlight, or the first harvest of autumn. We can win the good fight, Bernhard, Gilmour, and Chandran posit, but we need to fight first.
Connor and Charlie, Eighth Page Editors