My Buzzsaw journey has been an unexpected pleasure. I came to Buzzsaw in the first semester of my first year, with fellow editor Audra Joiner. I came fresh off my experience working on Images, my high school’s arts and lit mag. I was dubious writing for Buzzsaw that first semester, not knowing how to write for P&C and feeling too intimidated to write journalistic pieces. Instead, I began my Buzzsaw tenure with a review of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!. Thinking of where I began, to this article, where I’m concluding (if coronavirus doesn’t cancel my semester in LA plans!) I’m very pleased to say that Buzzsaw always allowed me to work and write on my own terms. This, unfortunately, is a rarity in many publications, whether they’re on college campuses or not. So for that, Buzzsaw, I will forever be grateful.
Though it does feel a bit hollow too, in a way. I pictured writing this in the Buzzcave during a quietly bustling production weekend. Instead, I’m writing this on the back porch of my off–campus house, looking up the hill, past residential complexes and houses toward campus. I don’t know if I’ll ever see the inside of the Buzzcave again, so I give my best to the legendary bottle of Xtreme Rum that will go unchallenged… at least by me.
This final issue of Buzzsaw for me – Tape – does feel in a lot of ways representative of my college experience. College was never perfect, and I am not one to pretend it was even close. Frankly, if I gave a speech at graduation, a lot of it would not cast Ithaca College in the best light. Bureaucracy, a shifting campus political climate, and an overreliance on student leaders, provided with only breadcrumbs of compensation, to support other students (see my RA article for more) are just some of the many campus issues that popped an otherwise seemingly perfect bubble.
That is to say that a lot of my college experience was just trying to hold myself together as best as I could. Buzzsaw was always a platform to simultaneously scream into the void and piss people off. Thankfully, after our 20th-anniversary celebration this year, I was pleased to learn that that is Buzzsaw’s tradition. I wish I could go back to that first meeting and tell myself abrasively that this is exactly where I belonged.
I didn’t anticipate becoming the M.O.C editor at all, if anything, my knowledge of pop culture outside of film and television was disappointingly surface level. But if there is one person to thank, it is most definitely Alex Coburn. Alex, my former co-editor, was at many points, one of the most consistent voices that reminded me that I was on the right path and always corrected me when I wasn’t. I feel so lucky to have learned under her—how to look at films with nuanced criticism, how to edit with encouragement, and most importantly, how important it is to take the road less traveled if it’ll make you a happier person. Alex taught me bold, unadulterated confidence—how to have it, and how to use it. I feel so grateful to call Alex my mentor and my friend.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Audra, the one who kept me in Buzzsaw and always encouraged me to come, especially in that first semester where I wasn’t sure where I belonged. I always knew that Audra was an impassioned writer, a clever thinker, and a comforting presence. I’m glad that Audra and I connected and reconnected through Buzzsaw, a common ground where shooting the shit is just as welcomed as intense political discourse.
It’s hard to say goodbye, especially considering the fact that doing this remotely makes it feel like I’m not saying goodbye at all. Though I think that’s for the best. Buzzsaw won’t go away. It feels invincible against campus politics, budget cuts, and those who don’t like what we have to say. We don’t care, we never have. Leaving on the backend of Buzzsaw’s 20th has only demonstrated a vibrant tapestry of progressive, critical thinkers who don’t give a fuck. There will always be progress to stand for; ideologies to adopt, consider or reject; and of course writers with many important things to say.
To Brennan, my future MOC editor; I have full confidence that you will criticize what needs to be criticized, encourage writers to examine alternative viewpoints, and to do it all with a warm consideration that I’ve already seen you use. Also, please send me Tik Toks (sorry I had to).
And that’s the end. A warm breeze is carried in the early whispers of spring and I hang my editorial cap up as I retire to move on, as we all will have to do when our final issue comes along. Though taped together, I feel whole and fully confident in saying that Buzzsaw was my one perfect college experience, through lessons that I wanted to learn and lessons I didn’t. I wrote, I edited, I learned, and this is all I could’ve ever aspired to, in Buzzsaw and beyond.