Letter from the Culture Desk

Welcome to a new and strange semester at Mason! These last several months have been a completely new experience for everyone and the next few months will be a continued time of adjustment and learning for every Mason student. Here at the paper, we have also had many changes. Namely, our paper will conduct its first fully online semester! I am going to miss the towers of freshly printed Fourth Estate issues around campus each Monday morning, but this new chapter (or you could say issue?) in Fourth Estate’s run will be very exciting. 

It is business as usual here at the Culture section. We will continue to write your favorite columns each week, including our advice column, Dear Ivy, as well as book reviews over at The Bookshelf. I am also happy to announce a new column we are trying out called Add to Queue. I know that during this pandemic, I turned to not only music for comfort but podcasts too. So, I wanted a platform for our writers to talk about what they love to listen to. This week we are starting off the column with longtime writer Travis McMillan’s review of the popular podcast “My Brother, My Brother and Me.” 

This week at The Bookshelf, writer Maggie Roth discussed her reaction to Brit Bennet’s novel “The Vanishing Half.” This multigenerational saga discusses issues of race, identity and family. For Dear Ivy, a worried student asked Ivy how to stay on top of assignments while juggling hybrid classes. As always, you can submit a question or problem for Ivy to help out in future issues. 

Some of our favorite articles to write for this section are the events held at the Center for the Arts. But, as with most departments and venues on campus, there have been many changes. Though we still hope to cover on-campus events, we will also be attending online CFA events, called Mason Arts at Home, and providing coverage on those wonderful performances. 

Look out for coverage for this year’s virtual Fall for the Book festival. During the month-long event, renowned writers and artists from all over the world will discuss their novels, poems and other written texts — and Fourth Estate will be taking notes. 

Amid these uncertain times, it will be comforting to return to something familiar. Fourth Estate has been a home for me since I started at Mason and I am excited to continue working for the paper. I am also excited for our readers to experience the work of our dedicated writers. We are all in the same uncertain, confusing boat, but art is resilient. So is the Fourth Estate. 


Nayomi Santos

Culture Editor