A valediction, featuring Dylan

By Pete Beatty

I’m, uh, resurrecting some brand of tradition with this here valedictory op-ed. The occasion of said valediction: My retirement from active duty as editor of The Maroon. Superficially this might not mean anything to you, if you don’t know me or work here, so I’ll do what I can to make this meaningful in a more general sense.

Somebody whose name I can’t remember once wrote/said that journalism is the first draft of history. This is a bit too glib for me to endorse entirely, but there’s something to it. Journalism might be closer to the scratch notes of history. It’s often biased or reactionary, and has little cartoons drawn on it where the people writing got bored. You can tell where the note-taker drifted off, where they wrote “Mr. and Mrs. Chicago and Catherine Zeta Maroon” or something to that effect. No more jokes–what I’m getting at here is that the print media is still a viable medium. The Internet is merely a fad. Americans will always come back to newsprint. That was a joke. My actual real point is that objective and responsible journalism is crucial to the continued existence of democratic society. And democracy begins in the gutter. That sounds bad. We’re not the gutter. The gutter of journalism is probably break-room PowerPoint presentations about workmen’s comp fraud or something along those lines. Think of college papers as the second-floor walk-up apartment in the journalism building. That might not seem important, but think about what would happen if you made the second floor of the building you were in disappear. It would fall down. Nobody wants that.

I had a point in there somewhere. The point was that the college newspaper is still a relevant cultural institution. While the role of the Maroon is different from the role of student papers at other schools, I think we’ve done a lot to make/keep the Maroon relevant to the unique needs of the U of C student body. While we’re not even trying to make like a scholastic program in journalism, it is possible to come here and learn something about journalism. So you should work for us. We’re nice kids. E-mail Carolina about it, cbolado@uchicago.edu. The world is yours, kids.

I don’t have much else to say here. I only have to do this last-one-out-get-the-lights business once, so I’ll just start the thank yous and the people in the booth can cue the Shut Up Orchestra in a minute. I’d like to thank the old Voices Terror Squad: Jon G., MPGdSP, Speckles, Chris Seet, the inimitable Cowboy. Then my Memphis Horns: Bentor, Tom Z., Czaplicki, Legs, Garf, Mags, Liz, Katie, Skeet, C-B, the entire production night staff from the last three quarters, Gabe McE, Judy and Stephanie, Lori, Lorna, Kathy, the rest of the Advisory Board, my agent, the fam, Wiry Cat, the 5700 Blackstone extended family. The kids from way back: Joiner, Josh, Kingery, the Genius, Hmajormo. And there’s a very special young man from Southwest Virginia out there who gets a permanent invitation to drink from my chalice. It goes without saying that my chalice is a special chalice, and made out of gold.

All right. I’m done. Not going to cry. One more time for the cheap seats: I see my light come shining/From the west unto the east/Any day now/Any day now/I shall be released.