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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Editor’s Note

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No matter how much preparation or thought I put into it, every three weeks I find myself in Sanborn between the hours of 12 and 4 p.m., staring at a blank Word document, trying to start my editor’s note. Most of the time, it’s not even staring at a blank screen — it’s writing several opening paragraphs and deleting them, the modern (but much less satisfying) equivalent of scribbling on a piece of paper, crumpling it up and throwing it into an overflowing trash can. It’s calling my mom to see if she has any insights, or re-reading parts of old Lena Dunham essays to see if I can excise their millennial undertones and make them my own. Always, it’s trying to find a seed of meaning in a quirky anecdote that either happened last week or a decade ago. Yes, believe it or not, Mirror — and its editors — are, for the most part, exceedingly self-aware.

This week, I thought of writing about the time my mother told me about Orson Welles’s 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast, which some listeners took literally, believing that Earth was under attack by an alien civilization. This would have tied into how I, as an eight-year-old, recognized the power of media and narrative, and how that moment played a role in my childhood dream of becoming a writer or filmmaker. But it came off stiff and boring — I was taking myself far too seriously. More importantly, it was untruthful. The reality is, I don’t know when I decided I wanted to write.

As a kid, I filled up composition notebooks with ideas for books, filmed short skits with my neighbors and started a comedy magazine in middle school with my best friend. When I came to college, I still had most of those ambitions — but no idea how to apply them. I did, however, recognize that I had no intention whatsoever of being a journalist. Though I smiled and nodded when several of my family members suggested I apply for The Dartmouth during the fall of my freshman year, I lacked any background in journalism and pretentiously felt I was too eccentric to be a reporter.

Ironically enough, this week marks two years since my first piece was published in The Dartmouth. I was motivated to write for the paper in part because I had no other creative outlet, and because I had subconsciously begun to stop taking myself so seriously after settling into college.

Back to Welles for a second, though. This Monday was the anniversary of his birthday, flooding my social media feed with idolaters posting anecdotes, pictures and tributes. In one interview I watched, he laments the word “professional” and all the artists who adopt that label. He favors, instead, the title of “amateur,” because it originates from the Latin word for “love.” That’s one of the many reasons why I appreciate Welles — his conviction that being an artist is not only defined by technical skill, but also the mindfulness and passion of a beginner, the realization that nothing is below you. 

This week in Mirror, one writer investigates a Hanover staple, Han Fusion, and those who love it, and another takes a look at well-known visiting professors and the impact they have on students.

See ya on the flip, Dartmouth!