Letter from the
In my first class this quarter, I was in a breakout room where we were discussing what we thought the role of a letter from the editor was. It was a sort of horrifying experience for me, given that I knew I would eventually have to write this. Apparently, I need to perfectly encapsulate the voice and tone of the publication, be witty and likable, and also prime you for the content that’s ahead. I don’t know about all that, but I am excited to be The Monthly’s editor and for you to read this issue. For those of you who don’t know, The Monthly is an arts and entertainment magazine that publishes (who could’ve guessed) every month. We feature stories about alums, students and local residents who are involved in the arts and entertainment world, as well as our staffers’ thoughts on TV, food and music. There are so many moving parts to putting the Monthly together. It turns out that you actually can’t manifest a story happening by sheer force of will. I’m so grateful for our reporters, and for The Daily’s web, interactives, graphics and social teams for being super flexible as stories fell through or changed. Special shoutout to my predecessor Wilson Chapman for answering so many questions about technical details, and for an intentional investment and prioritization of diverse coverage in our issues that I’m excited to build on. The poet Kaveh Akbar once wrote, “Art is where what we survive survives.” It’s a quote that I think of when I encounter people who feel that arts and entertainment pieces are just fluff. We can learn something about the world by understanding what artists and actors and writers and creatives of any kind are grappling with in their work, or by examining how audiences are reacting to and engaging with that work. Those takeaways can be big ideas about justice and morality. But they don’t always have to be such big concepts, and I think that’s okay. Sometimes I have a hot take on what celebrity culture can tell us about society, but sometimes I just want to plan out a collab between two Disney+ stars, with a music video where they take a road trip to somewhere more exciting than a 20-year-old man’s suburban residence (i.e., anywhere). I hope the issues this quarter can reflect that range of possibility. All this to say, there’s a lot of heart in these stories. I hope you’re feeling primed.
Jennifer Zhan 4