Variety of voices fills new campus magazine

Janette Neuwahl

From room 101 of Willard Residential College, Speech freshman Jeff Deutchman worked throughout Winter Quarter on an idea he thought up over break. He finally saw his idea come to life Monday when he distributed copies of his new magazine, Offensively Pretentious.

Deutchman and his staff passed out about 1,000 copies of the magazine at Willard, Norris University Center, The Rock and Technological Institute. The 23-page publication includes editorials, fiction and art reviews.

“We’re basically founded on the exasperation of the underground scenes here that are either painfully conservative or painfully liberal – we’re just painful,” Deutchman said.

At the beginning of the quarter, Deutchman sent a message to the dorm listserv asking residents to submit pieces for the magazine. After forming a small staff of contributors, Deutchman publicized the magazine through flyers and contacted Sociology Prof. Gueorgui Derluguian, from whom he took a class last quarter and found to be “brilliant.”

“(Derluguian) will help people see the legitimacy of the magazine,” Deutchman said. “It’s not realistic to assume people will spend more than 10 minutes reading the magazine. But every once in a while, you’ll get an interested person, and hopefully professors will be interested in reading it if they get their hands on a copy.”

Highlights of the first issue include Derluguian’s comments on the Sept. 11 attacks and the best films of 2001. The publication also featured a column by Katherine Kirkpatrick, a high school senior who wrote a letter to The Daily expressing her disappointment that she was not admitted into the Medill School of Journalism.

“I read Kirkpatrick’s letter and found it very amusing,” Deutchman said. “In the heat of creating a magazine at that point, I had my hacker friend find her e-mail and sure enough, she wanted to write for a Northwestern publication. She wrote an article which showed us what we were missing.”

The magazine will continue running professor-written articles, which will demonstrate different points of view from their respective fields, Deutchman said.

Deutchman said the publication, which has 15 staffers, should come out three more times before the year ends.

Medill freshman John Mahoney, a first-floor Willard resident, helped Deutchman design the magazine. Although his involvement with the first issue was limited to layout, he said he has already written an article for next month’s edition.

“We did a lot to get this going and seeing it get treated by students as a serious publication is cool,” Mahoney said. “For now, just about everyone that works on it is in Willard, but if we get a lot of people working on it, it may advance.”

Deutchman said initially he met with writers personally to discuss their submissions.

The magazine was funded by two full page advertisements and “the generous donations of people interested in the project,” Deutchman said.

Brian Deneen, a Speech freshman and Willard resident, said the magazine can reach a broad audience because a mix of undergraduates, professors, and high schoolers write articles.

“I like how they incorporated some articles from professors,” Deneen said. “It’s a good idea that it’s a more collective collegiate voice.”

Despite some offensive material in the magazine, Speech sophomore Philip Scepanski said he thinks the publication’s title is particularly appropriate.

“Since everything that seems to be done at college is offensively pretentious anyway, the title forgives anything that it could possibly offend me with,” Scepanski said.