Generally, I am not quick to write my columns. In fact, most of them are hastily written hours before their publication.
But not this one.
I am composing this article on Feb. 25, as I babysit a sleeping infant.
As I was scrolling through HBO Max (with the parents’ permission), I came across Wes Anderson’s latest film, “The French Dispatch.”
The critically mediocre film was shut out, or flopped out, from this year’s Oscars and tanked at Telluride film festival.
Most critical and online reviews emphasize the film‘s average viewer impressionability. Many have dubbed it “Wes Anderson’s most Wes Anderson movie” as an insult, emphasizing the select few enjoyers of this movie are not found outside of his fan base.
As I watched, though, I was mesmerized to tears, despite the “No Crying” policy the film reinforces for both its characters and viewers alike.
“The French Dispatch” is Wes Anderson’s ode to print journalism of the past, playing on the nostalgic feel of newspaper reporting from a bygone era and putting the genre to rest.
The film ends with an aptly titled obituary: “Declines & Deaths.”
As a college newspaper, The Scout enjoyed print journalism success longer than many of its professional contemporaries. COVID-19 may or may not have been the final nail in the coffin.
But during that time, I got to enjoy firsthand the bright life of the print newsroom. Here, I made all my closest friends, laughed heavily, cried a little more than I care to admit, slept and practically lived in the office from Tuesday to Thursday each week.
Despite my keen enjoyment of the newsroom, this will likely be my last journalistic publication. Anderson was right; this type of close-knit newsroom culture probably no longer exists.
But I got to enjoy it while it lasted.
Perhaps this is why “The French Dispatch” has resonated with me in ways that it hasn’t with some others.
This film showed me my friends, passions, greatest fears and triumphs. And, in the end, it heralded the death of its most loved editor, much like I am now heralding my death as a newspaper editor.
With this, I will leave you as I started: a review writer.
Thank you for reading (and hopefully enjoying) my work for the past four years, 80 editions and 102 articles.
It has been a pleasure.
Before I close this out, I want to make a few (a lot) of thank yous to my Scout Dispatch.
First and foremost, thank you, Angeline Schmelzer, for being an incredible friend and editor. This year has been wonderful and you are largely to thank. I’m glad you’ve been alongside me for this crazy ride through graphic design catastrophes and podcasting shenanigans.
Haley Johnson, thank you for “coffee dating” me and roping me into this insanity.
Tony Xu, I will always miss the experiences we had together as an editing staff. You are the most thoughtful and organized person I have ever known, and you single-handedly brought The Scout into a new era. I will forever miss your cooking and our wild escapades.
Anthony Landahl and Cole Bredahl, you two have had a profound impact on me as a writer and as a person. You both make me laugh the hardest, and your praise and advice mean the world to me. Cole, thank you again for going out of your way to make my day.
Ronan Khalsa, I am so happy we ended up becoming the most unlikely of pals. Your special edition articles made me smile and will forever be memorialized in the office. Thank you for being my friend.
Sophia Post, Kyle St. John, Carson Allen and Erin Martiens, each of you deserve your own paragraph, but I am inevitably crunched on space. As graphic designers, each of you has been an essential part of the newspaper and the voice section, but you have all helped me in your own way. I treasure all of those wonderful memories, from writing drunk movie reviews with Carson after a breakup to ice skating in Chicago with Erin. I love you all.
Daniel Kerns, thank you for being the assistant who stuck around. I am excited to see where you take this publication and will always be rooting for your success.
Chris Kaergard, I will forever shield my face in horror from when I accidentally called you a slut when I unknowingly walked into the office, shouting the term of endearment at my colleagues. Thank you for handling it with grace and understanding. Your feedback and friendly words have meant the world.
Maddy Mirallegro, Jonathan Michel, Valerie Vasconez, Sam Mwakasisi and Anaiah Davis, I have loved every little moment in the office and at ICPA. Thank you for making this last year a memorable one. Jonathan, our Yik Yak think tanks have been the highlight of my year, and Maddy, I am so glad we got to hang out in Chicago, even if I’m the last person on Earth you would ever date (let’s hope we never find ourselves in a hurricane).
Last, but certainly not least, Veronica Blascoe, thank you for being my best friend. You have taught me so much about life, cooking and the law. When I’m with you, I feel like I am where I’m meant to be. I am so glad The Scout brought us together.