Letter From the Editor, November 2021
The Blue and White is in a renaissance, this issue. We’ve brought on an impressive set of new writers and illustrators and welcomed three new editors. We’ve lived up to our thoughtful, if poorly timed, March 2020 declaration that we are a “defiantly print magazine.” Everything’s changing, and we’ve morphed confidently into something new. Old hang-ups and dated visions fall away.
I’m an eyes firmly forward kind of person, not least because behind me are so many goodbyes I wish I didn’t have to say. But as I’ve edited this issue—and what a pleasure it’s been!—I’ve found a staff wrestling with attachments to the past. Even as this issue’s pages burst with excitement at the colorful newness of this novel life we now lead, notes of nostalgia permeate the prose. I see our writers and their subjects struggling to let go of what once was, even as they marvel at what’s next. I admit, I understand.
What to let go of and what to preserve? What’s an old habit worth kicking, and what’s a tradition we need? It’s a question this institution asks of us as we drag, piecemeal, our Core. A question this unreal age makes obvious as a new old world emerges in chaos. A question our generation faces as we wriggle into resigned adulthood. A growing-up, growing-old, moving-on, keep-in-touch question for always.
So where does our staff look for answers? Claire Schweitzer observes, with bemused wonder, the Biblical ilk with their scriptural certainty in things that never die. Ben Mo traces our changing skyline, and the “development” it signifies, with unease. Becky Miller reflects wistfully on a time she sees as lost, when Beatniks made loud trouble unimaginable now. Owen Park’s brother character watches once-green grass in flames.
Victor Omojola probes the politics of adaptation, when the Early Modern meets the motion picture. Eliza Rudalevige and Alexander Aibel scuffle, obliquely and pettily, in mixed blank and rhyming prose. Claire Shang chronicles with awe how Henry Magowan built, from the campaign of a now-dead political giant, a postmodern leftist information machine. Hailey Ryan documents ambivalent dependency on old addictions reborn in USBs.
Some pieces—as ever, here at The Blue and White—are here for the pleasure of it. Sona Wink opines on goat politics and Jaden Jarmel-Schneider reassures you that Venice Ohleyer, who’s “hot in a space alien kind of way,” thinks you, dear reader, are funny. Sam Sacks enjoys a night on the town, and Dante instructs us how to signal we’re “On the market for casual sex with academics, but also maybe something more serious.” Sam Needleman enchants us with an electric conversation about sculpture.
Indeed, even amidst reluctant abandonments and uncertain futures, fading memories and the deafening advance of an hour from now, the staff this month have captivated me with their unrelenting capacity for joy. I hope to capture an ounce of it for myself, as I look ahead to my last issue at the helm. I know I shouldn’t ignore the impending goodbye, but old habits die hard.