Letter from the Editor: We’re finally closing out this semester

Opinion editor looks back on fall semester, election, COVID-19

The+Evergreen+Opinion+editor+reminisces+on+the+highs+and+lows+of+2020.+

COURTESY OF JACOB HERSH

The Evergreen Opinion editor reminisces on the highs and lows of 2020.

JACOB HERSH, Evergreen opinion editor

When I first started working for the Evergreen, I was a fresh-faced first year with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. The world was my oyster, by golly, and I was going to milk it for every pearl I could. I was Woodward, Bernstein and Spider Jerusalem all rolled into one, and I was going to set the journalism world on its head — or at least give it a kick in the teeth.

Three semesters, two majors and one pandemic later, most of that optimism has been beaten out of me. Student journalism is a young man’s game, and at the joint-cracking, Grateful-Dead-listening age of 19, I’m too worn out to continue. As Hunter S. Thompson wrote in his suicide note, “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always b*tchy. No Fun – for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax – This won’t hurt.”

Most of this is a joke, except for the stuff that isn’t. The fact remains, however, that I’m leaving the opinion editor position to work on some personal projects and to focus on classes. I’m hoping to scrape together enough funds in the interim to grow my hair out, buy a used Ford Econoline at a police auction, Minutemen style, and travel the country following UFO sightings.

It’s been a hell of a semester — we had an election that rocked the country to its core, in the middle of a pandemic. WSU almost caught on fire, Jerry Falwell got busted and we saw a new president take the stands. I discovered a really decent Thai place down the street from my Pullman apartment that gives you a metric ton of Pad Thai for around $10. “Borat 2” came out. My roommates introduced me to gin and Squirt, consumed heavily in a two-week stretch that I like to call the “Lost Fortnight.”

Covering the 2020 election was one of the highlights of my fall semester. “Countdown to the 3rd” was the fulfillment of a personal goal I’d had ever since I read “Generation of Swine.” At times, my writing was unintelligible — at others, it was probably downright concerning to our readers, but it was always original, and that’s all I really wanted.

I also got the chance to work with some intelligent, interesting columnists, covering topics from the local to the national about important issues and current events. It’s easy to get sucked into one facet of opinion journalism and forget about the wide array of topics that exist to discuss and write about. Working with students from different walks of life and educational interests helped inform not only our readers but also me personally.

As we ease into 2021, it’s tempting to look back and regret. I wish I’d gone to that KZUU house show last November instead of staying in my dorm and rewatching “Starship Troopers.” I wish I hadn’t spent $160 on an Israeli-import gas mask in the early days of COVID-19 panic. I wish Palmetto State Armory shipped to Alaska so I didn’t have to buy PPU from the angry guys at the surplus store. The list goes on, with everyone having their own individual list of “shoulda, coulda, woulda.”

Inevitably, though, that line of thinking is inherently self-defeating. At the end of the day, we all lost a good chunk of a year to something none of us could really control. There’s nothing else to do with that knowledge than pick yourself up, dust yourself off and give it the old college try.

It’s been a pleasure working with the staff at the Evergreen, and it was a privilege to be able to cover the election from showboating beginning to murkily-legal end.

The Evergreen is a testament to the fact that you don’t need a big budget or a top-of-the-line newsroom to produce original, well-written content. All you really need is a group of motivated, interested people, and the work will fall into place. “We jam econo,” to quote Watt, Boon and Hurley.

A thousand blessings to my legions of devoted fans, and as always, keep watching the skies.