New publications rise after Hegemon's fall

By Joe Radinovich

Since the Hegemon ceased publication last semester, students have recently produced two new zines at Macalester. These new publications end a nearly semester-long absence of campus alternative media.

Fuego, one of Macalester’s newest zines, aims to develop awareness and foster critical debate among its readers of issues affecting Latin Americans. The campus’ other new zine, published as part of Pro-Choice week at Macalester is aptly titled NARAL Pro-Choice Macalester Week.

A zine is a non-commercial pamphlet with typically low circulation numbers—they are most often self-published by special interest groups and organizations. Considered “alternative media,” not all zines are political, and most make no claim to being unbiased sources of information.

The Hegemon, a zine with a circulation of 200-500 copies, was explicitly socio-political from its inception during the 2004-2005 school year. Its mission statement, usually on the front cover made clear the publishers’ opposition to “capitalism, imperialism, racism, heteronormativity, state violence and ableism,” and support for “ecology, feminism and equality.”

Known for its sometimes controversial and admittedly radical pieces, contributor David Boehnke ’07 said of the zine’s effect via e-mail: “I think it is fair to say that the Hegemon struck even the most good hearted of liberals with a colossal lack of profundity.”

As the mission statement indicated, the Hegemon, partially funded by Mac Greens, was put together without a hierarchical organization, and the often anonymous contributors covered a wide array of subjects. One of the zine’s most notable battles was pitched against the college’s abandonment of need-blind admissions for future applicants.

Produced bi-weekly during the height of the need-blind debate, The Hegemon ceased publication last semester after a period of declining contributions.

“While the Hegemon could exist it no longer does. At least for now,” Boehnke said.

With plans to publish less frequently than the Hegemon—about three times per semester—Diego Ponce de Leon Barido ’08, the co-editor of Fuego along with Pierangelo Rossi ’08, said he is optimistic about the new zine’s longevity. “We have got a group of first-years that are excited about the project, and we hope they pass that on to future underclassmen,” Ponce de Leon said.

The first issue, which featured contributions from ten students, was handed out near the Campus Center April 14. Copies were also distributed to academic departments the following Monday.

Fuego’s pages are filled with personal experiences, opinions, and updates on current events in Latin American regions. A unique trait of this zine is the confluence of English and Spanish; some articles are written in both, some are written solely in Spanish, and some are written with combined use of both languages—popularly known as “Spanglish.”

“We are working to show that we [Latinos] are not only workers and farmers in the U.S.,” Ponce de Leon said. “We are trying to create a conflict of ideas. Confronting topics will hopefully lead to a better general understanding of issues important to Latin Americans.”

Though they produced only 200 initial copies, funding has been an early problem for the Fuego editors. Given a $75 dollar start-up budget from the college, editors have personally paid some of the initial expenses.

Ponce de Leon said Fuego, which student government has not yet granted full student organization status, will seek partial funding from the Lealtad-Suzuki Center, the Hispanic and Latin American Studies department, and the International Center for future publications.

The idea for the pro-choice zine originated at a NARAL meeting.

“Someone suggested the idea of a zine and we thought that it would be a great addition to our pro-choice week,” said Anna Goldberg ’08, a chair of the organization.

The NARAL Pro-Choice Macalester Week, which is a one-time publication, features a few student contributions paired with information on the abortion rights movement and personal statements from students explaining why they are pro-choice.

Georgia Faust ’08 and Kelly Seacrest ’08 compiled the submissions and edited the publication. The issue included a first-person account of a pre-Roe abortion.

Funding for the collaboration, with its single publication, was not as troublesome as it was for Fuego. Commissioned by NARAL, the zine is about 30 pages and was handed out near the Campus Center on Monday last week. The group published 200 copies.