30: Forum tyrant’s khanate of terror draws to a close

Jordan Shenhar

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (-30-) to denote the end of a line.

Well, it’s over.

After five semesters dodging coup attempts in this unstable, isolated nation on the southeastern edge of the Texan basement, I’m out. Kind of surprised it didn’t happen earlier. No one with such bad taste in West German discopop had ever stuck around this long before. Someone should have mutinied. Violently. Probably Emily. No, definitely Emily.

It all began with so much promise. After four years of high school journalism, I figured I’d find the basement at some point, but held off initially out of the since-justified fear that it would distract me from more pressing responsibilities like classwork and vitamin D absorption. Then the inimitable Riley Brands put me in charge of coordinating student responses to the weekly column published by my boss and mentor, history professor Jeremi Suri — a sort of pre-evolved Forum page. As an awkward underclassman without many (read: any) connections on campus, I wound up writing most of the responses myself.

Not much has changed since then. Well, except that Kat taught me how to read and teach like a real editor, and showed me that when you keep working hard with the most chipper attitude you can muster, no amount of adversity can prevent you from making a difference. And I met Claire, who not only pushed me to chase after dreams I didn’t consider possible, but also grew into a friend without whose support and companionship I would have burned out many deadline scares ago. Can’t wait to see how many lives you both influence for the better going forward. Count me as patient zero.

Nowadays, though, I’m old and cranky and preoccupied with trifles like writing a thesis and feigning employability, which means I wouldn’t have made it this far without the grudging toleration of Forum teams past and present. I appreciate you folks doing all the hard work so that I could focus on deciding which genre of foreign music to torment the office with.

Walker, thanks for the solidarity and the New York values, and for tinkering with this fledgling project until you found a winning formula that I could inherit and build upon. May you enjoy many fallow and miserable years of Yankee fandom.

Leah, your indomitable spirit and brilliant writing carried Forum to bolder and brighter places during a turbulent election cycle last fall, when our work was more vital than ever. I look forward to you conquering the world someday, intentionally or otherwise.

Emily, stop liking raccoons. It’s creepy. They’re creepy.

Alexander, you’re not exactly my hero, and you’re far from everything I would like to be. But you helped Forum fly higher than the eagle from “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” For you are the beer beneath my horses.

OK, that’s enough for now. Judging by the frequency with which I’m told to get out of the office following some Magic School Bus-caliber pun, I figure I’ll miss this place more than it’ll miss me. Sic semper tyrannis.

Shenhar is a Plan II, economics and government senior from Westport, Connecticut.