Written by Kevin Bronk
Photo by Chris Parker
I’m commonly asked What is Ethos, exactly? I normally stutter for a bit while assorted thoughts of culture bounce around the many clogged corridors of my head. It’s a multicultural magazine, made by students I usually respond, always disappointed with my vague offering. Then I get the follow-up question: Well, what do you write stories about? The floodgates open. We’ve covered a wide spectrum of culture in the last four years. There’s that story about toilets around the world (Winter 2010) or Eugene’s fiery Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen (Fall 2007). What about when we covered the culture of breeding and riding bulls (Fall 2008) or that feature investigating female circumcision (Summer 2009)? Even after working as Ethos’ editor for nine months, I still can’t quite encapsulate this magazine into something concise and tidy. I fail to tighten and pull it into a fashionable bow. Perhaps multiculturalism as a concept is too ornate to iron down to simple terms. So, it’s a multicultural magazine . . . made by students becomes my only mumbled response.
For me, Ethos has been the opportunity to explore and attempt to understand the murky depths of culture, and I hope it provides the same for our readers. Maybe that’s what Ethos is all about: opportunity for exploration.
Our staff has the great fortune to experience life through the lens of a journalist, which is no simple commission. There’s an immense, alluring challenge to telling somebody else’s story accurately, especially if that somebody is from a culture as foreign as stunna shades are to your grandmother (to be fair, I don’t completely get those either). Ethos doesn’t always get it perfect, but we embrace the tricky task.
Sadly — maybe fortunately — my time stumbling through nebulous descriptions of Ethos has come to an end. Graduation is here. This is my final edition working on this remarkable, student-driven publication. I am grateful for the experience, but more so for the exposure to an incredible staff passionately invested in the exploration of curious, cool culture.
At the end of the day, maybe the question should be how do you define culture? How do you explore it? Open the floodgates.