Letter from the Editor, March 2020
Updated: Mar 2, 2021
By Sam Needleman
The Blue and White’s constitution charges its staff to “collectively craft a publication that not only shows clearly Columbia’s exact tone, but parses and changes its contours with grace and wit.” When the 43 members of our magazine voted to re-ratify our constitution a few weeks ago, we left this lofty goal open to interpretation.As the Magazine’s new Editor-in-Chief, I hope that each Blue and White contributor will take up the charge as they see fit, aspiring with each stroke of their blue-inked quill to fuse their distinct voice with our shared mission.
Readers will find our contributors’ versatility on full display in our March issue, from Jack Meyer’s portrait of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative (p. 20) to Benjamine Mo’s description of coronavirus-related racism (p. 18) and Hailey Ryan’s indictment of Columbia’s entrenched evils (p. 14). For our first printed art review, Lilly Cao writes about the Wallach’s current exhibit (p. 30), and for our millionth set of neighborhood-institution reviews, Chase Cutarelli, Sylvie Epstein, and Jaden Jarmel-Schneider report from the new Universal Barber Shop (p. 8), Dos Toros Taqueria (p. 9), and the overlooked Nicholas Roerich Museum (p. 9). Samia Menon’s poem (p. 24) and illustrations by Tunshore Longe (Sketchbook), Kate Steiner (p. 12), and many others demonstrate that we don’t limit our ruminations to reportage.
This amalgam—faithful to the distinct and curiously beautiful structure that we’ve inherited—distinguishes The Blue and White from its fellow campus publications. We leave the crucial news-breaking to The Spectator, the uproarious send-ups to The Fed, and the immersive fiction and poetry to The Columbia Review and its literary peers. Somehow, The Blue and White is all of those things and none of them. We commit to blending and juxtaposing these genres, because we believe that the contours of Columbia’s tone are too complex to show, parse, and change in a single style.
Perhaps this is why no small number of discerning campus figures—many of them, admittedly, our own staffers—have labelled us “Columbia’s New Yorker.” We’ll take the compliment, but studious factcheckers will note that The Blue and White was born 35 years earlier, in 1890, and might conclude that The New Yorker is actually America’s Blue and White. (Will those studious fact-checkers kindly look past the fact that The Blue and White took a brief hiatus from 1893 to 1998?)
Cover-to-cover readers of either publication know that we share a basic principle: our whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We design every component of The Blue and White with the final, collective publication in mind. We are, in that sense, a defiantly print magazine.
That’s why, in addition to distributing print issues around campus, we’re launching a free door delivery service to Columbia and Barnard dorms for loyal readers and nascent fans alike. You can sign up for free on our new website, theblueanwhite.org, where you’ll also find an interactive version of the print issue; now, those who can’t access a hard copy can scroll through a cohesive publication on their screens for a similar reading experience.