January 18, 2000
Volume 52, No. 17
Millennial changes for Emory Report
For a few years now, I've heard people go on about that rather momentous turn of the calendar page we just celebrated and how most of the world would be raising their millennial champagne flutes a year early.
Arthur C. Clarke had it right, one of the Y2K purists maintained: The real turn of the millennium doesn't happen until 2001. It got to the point where some actually scoffed if you mentioned 2000 and the m-word in the same sentence.
It's all nonsense, of course, even though technically these people are correct. But it makes much more sense to me to shortchange the "first" millennium a year; after all, what do people who have been dead for a thousand years need it for? If there was ever a time for revisionist history, it's when that "19__" printed on your checks no longer does the job.
Because when you boil all the 2000 talk to its essence, the only difference between this year and last is in our minds. If we want to make this next millennium distinct from or more healthy or productive than the last, it is up to us to make the conscious choice to do so.
Take this newspaper you're holding in your hands. Looks a little bit different than you remember before the holidays, doesn't it? Like many other good American capitalists, we took advantage of the most natural marketing opportunity in history to reinvent ourselves-graphically, for certain, and hopefully in other ways.
We have a new staff, with Eric Rangus as senior editor and Stephanie Sonnenfeld as associate editor/designer. We have a new design, graciously supplied by LaDonna Cherry and the good people over in Emory Publications. And, with your help, we are trying to reinvent the paper's personality and its usefulness on campus.
Since I came to Emory in 1997 I've heard a lot of talk about "intellectual community," some of it hopeful and some of it, quite frankly, pretty cynical. Does such an animal exist here? I'm certainly not the person to answer that, but I do know that, much like with the millennium question, we are capable of creating just such a community if we believe it exists and act appropriately.
All the components of intellectual community are already here. We have collected at Emory some of the most brilliant and talented people in the world, most of whom are not only passionate about their own fields but also curious about others. Most of those same people also genuinely care about their colleagues. I'm not just trying to impress my bosses when I say that I believe this University truly cares about the members of its community in ways much deeper than your typical business or even educational institution.
But what Emory seems to lack is a widely accepted and utilized forum in which information is shared and views are discussed. I'm sure all of us could point out examples of redundant effort simply because the right hand not only doesn't know what the left hand is doing-the right hand is not completely sure what it did a few semesters previous.
In today's world of truly bewildering technology, especially in communications, this problem seems as inexcusable as it is common. It's as if there is so much media that no one is quite sure to which form the most attention should be paid.
Allow me to offer a low-tech option in a high-tech age: Use the medium of Gutenberg to talk to each other before we obsess too much on the best use of the medium of Gates. As far as internal publications go, Emory Report enjoys great freedom in the views it publishes, and I welcome any and all comments about us, about the University, about that little Cuban boy in Miami or whatever other topic excites you.
There are, of course, limits to what we can publish in terms of length and content, but if you send it in, I promise I will do my best to see it gets printed.
In the meantime, enjoy the paper's new look. We're trying to have a little more fun over here at 741 Gate-wood while still maintaining the credibility one would expect from the official newspaper of one of the country's finest universities. We've kept the elements that have proven to be popular with our readers, and we'll be adding new ones.
So stay tuned, and if you've got an idea, let us know. Don't wait until the next millennium, whenever it may come.