Danny McMaster | Tuesday, April 28, 2020
This is the last Observer column that I will ever write. In fact, it’s probably the last column I’ll ever write because, you know, writing columns in newspapers isn’t really a thing most people do.
I thought about many ways to commemorate this moment, and sadly most of them have been “rejected” for being “bad” and “not reasonable.” I asked The Observer to retire my number and hang a jersey from the rafters of their office, which I felt like was the least they could do, but whatever, they said no.* After that reasonable, small request was rejected, I knew I was on my own.
This got me thinking about legacy. To quote the hero of “Game of Thrones,” Tywin Lannister, “You know what ‘legacy’ means? It‘s what you pass down to your children, and your children‘s children. It‘s what remains of you when you‘re gone.”
When I finally sat down to write this final column, I did what I always do: I set a timer for 15 minutes and tried to see if I could write the entire thing before it hit 0. And that’s when the question from my role model (Tywin) really hit me.
I started to think. What is my legacy at The Observer? There were many options. Columnist of the Century? That one tweet I sent that got like 20 likes? The fact that the majority of response emails I have received have come from my friends‘ moms?
These were all close, but they just didn’t feel right. Then it hit me. When you think about the greats, who do you think of? Jordan’s Bulls. Jeter’s Yankees. Brady’s Patriots. Bugs’ Tunes. Moon’s Tropics. Jianwen’s Ming. What do these all have in common? They are all dynasties.
That’s when I figured it out. To leave a mark on The Observer, I need someone to take over my role and start this dynasty. As a graduating senior, I have spent the last few weeks thanking people for supporting the Class of 2020 by posting pictures of their own previous graduations. That’s been so helpful, and I really can’t say enough about the heroes who are getting the Class of 2020 through this difficult time.
However, I should have spent this time recruiting the next columnist to write pure, perfect, beautiful nonsense in The Observer. While I am not “allowed” to select my replacement, because I don’t have a “role” and my columns don’t have a “theme,” I am asking someone to write for The Observer next fall and help me create this dynasty.
If I had to describe my position, I think it’s best to just use the words of a recent email my new Viewpoint editor sent to me. It read: “You’ve created an image of yourself that is so satirical that no one even knows what you’re like.” This, coincidentally, is my favorite description I’ve ever read of myself.
The Observer often says that it wants to be a place where all voices can be heard. I’m asking someone to step up and continue to share the voice of nonsense.
If you feel like you may be unqualified, I’ll tell you how I got started writing columns. My junior year, I had a lot of friends go abroad in the fall, and one of them told me it’d be fun if someone wrote a newsletter telling everyone abroad what was going on back on campus. I asked my friends, and weirdly, they were all on board with it. Being myself, I then proceeded to write 10 full newsletters, making fun of people for being abroad without once mentioning anything on campus.
The closest I ever got was describing a football game in depth after we beat Michigan, until it slowly became more and more clear that I was talking about my old high school’s game that same week. One of the people who got this newsletter was the (former) Viewpoint editor. And, this, for some reason, made her want me to write columns for the Observer.**
I only bring this up to emphasize that you cannot be under-qualified for this position.
To close, I will leave you with some more words from the wisest, most admirable man on “Game of Thrones,” Tywin Lannister: “The future of our family will be determined in these next few months. We could establish a dynasty that will last a thousand years. Or we could collapse into nothing.”
Please help me continue this dynasty, to ensure that just one column, every two weeks, is nonsense.
Thank you, and goodbye.
*Specifically, they said, “We don’t have numbers, this isn’t sports. Why do you have a jersey with your name on it? Also, we don’t have rafters, the office is in a basement.”
**Yeah, I still don’t get it either.
***If you’re curious, yeah, I ran out of things to write in The Observer about a month ago. If you do ever find yourself wanting to write satire for the school paper, make sure you have something to talk about after you’ve done off-campus stuff, tuition and new stuff on campus.
Danny McMaster is a senior business analytics major, and has never once been wrong in his entire life. He was recently voted The Observer’s Columnist of the Century, and counts this as his greatest accomplishment in life. He can be reached at [email protected] or @DanMcMaster14 on Twitter.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.