"Harvard Is Everywhere": [em]02138[/em] Launch Party

At the Core Club launch party for 02138–the magazine dedicated to the unity of the Harvard experience–attendees fell neatly into separate categories. Magazine staffers walked around wearing square pins affixed to their lapels, with their names and “02138″ engraved on them. Their flacks hovered, making sure that Bill O’Reilly was ushered in with the appropriate amount of warmth (“Bill!”).
Members of the magazine’s “Harvard 100″–a list mixing Harvard College dropouts with Harvard Business School grads with quickie Kennedy School students such as O’Reilly–seemed bemused at the attention, and at the two flat-screen televisions beaming their names, occupations, list numbers, and photographs in a constant loop. Tall, thin, beautiful women sipped white wine and didn’t discuss where they’d gone to school. Men in dark suits said they were in “private equity.”
“All the girls here are 6 feet tall and dressed to kill!” one of them said.

“Harvard is everywhere,” said Dan Loss, one of the magazine’s co-founders. Loss was roommates with Bom Kim (listed as President & Founder on the masthead), and both graduated in from Harvard College in 2000. The magazine’s financial backer, Atlantic owner David Bradley, went to college at Swarthmore. Like Yalie George W. Bush, No. 2 on the list, Bradley got his splash of crimson at the B-school.
“We want to cover the stories and personalities that relate to Harvard alumni lives today,” Loss said. That means Ned Lamont (like the library!), Studio 54 scion Jennifer Rubell (“equally comfortable discussing a Francis Alÿs video work and a recipe for naeng myun, Korean cold noodles”), and lifestyle items about wine and watches.
The message is that Harvard and its alumni are some sort of superhuman brand, out to save the world and wear expensive clothes while doing it. Becoming the brand takes time, and lots of money.
“They’re smart and often unhappy,” said Josh Barkan, a Yale graduate. Barkan is a fiction writer (“I wrote a story collection called Before Hiroshima–put that in, maybe I’ll sell some books”) who taught the required Harvard freshman expository-writing class.
“They feel they have to live up to hype,” Barkan said. “Harvard chooses people who are specialized in one thing, so they’re not well-rounded. But they learn fast and work their ass off.”
On the cover of the magazine is alum Rashida Jones (AB 1998), the freakishly beautiful daughter of Quincy Jones and Mod Squad-er Peggy Lipton, wearing a men’s Yves Saint Laurent blazer and a Brioni tie with nothing underneath. Jones was nowhere to be found last evening, though that didn’t stop two partygoers from pausing in front of the blown-up cover, propped up on an easel in the middle of the room.
“This seems ridiculous,” one of them said. “This has about as much to do with Harvard as the man on the moon.”
-Doree Shafrir