Finn Sipes ’22
Year in and year out, competing against publications from across the nation, Mercersburg Academy’s Blue Review Literary and Arts Magazine, an astounding collection of student artwork and literary pieces, is praised highly by the Columbia (University) Scholastic Press Association. The publication has won a slew of top-notch awards, never failing to impress the notoriously strict Columbia judges.
This year the Blue Review had some unexpected competition. The rival, however, came from within Mercersburg’s own community, though not from an official school club or publication, such as the vaunted Mercersburg News or the effete Karux, but from a niche collection of artwork not often praised outside the campus community–the 2021 edition of the annual Boys Will Be Men calendar.
This revered collection has never been submitted for professional scrutiny nor even meant to be shared outside of the Mercersburg community. The Boys Will Be Men calendar, completely student run and produced, features senior boys posed in provocative and promiscuous ways, scantily clad and consistently unflinching in their presentation. Previously seen as a gag gift among high school girls, the Columbia judges have deemed this publication an artistic masterpiece.
In fact, Boys Will Be Men outranked the Blue Review, taking home a Gold Medal.
Blue Review editors and faculty advisors alike were shocked by this outcome. Michelle Poacelli, English department head and literary advisor to the Blue Review, had a few choice words for the judges. To maintain the integrity of this publication, her comments have not been included here.
Kristen Pixler, art teacher and adviser to the Blue Review’s artworks, was equally outraged. “I let them use MY cameras and edit on MY computers! And their composition isn’t even good!” Pixler said. She then proceeded to grab a student’s camera and throw it across the room, and, still enraged, flipped over the heavyweight U-shaped table in the computer lab scattering papers and student projects across the floor before storming out of the room.
The Boys Will Be Men calendar, filled with recently pubescent young men boasting small chests and big dreams, managed to come out on top in the Columbia competition and will soon be submitted to another national review board.
“Their artful mastery and passion for form and color was what made this piece stand out to us,” one Columbia judge said. “I truly have never seen a more captivating work, and I am shocked that this visionary group has not submitted to us before.” She then tucked the calendar discreetly into her messenger bag.
Once they received feedback from the judges, the Boys Will Be Men producers, editors, and models were thrilled, but also slightly disturbed. “They seemed pretty excited by the content, but not for the photos or creative direction we took for each month. More for the guys themselves,” an editor remarked. “There were a lot of artistic suggestions we appreciated, but a few were offensive – ‘Pour oil on yourselves,’ and, ‘The shirt is already off, why not take off the rest!’ We will take these notes into account for next year but are hesitant.”
There have been reports that the senior editing staff of the Blue Review has plotted to sneak into the boys dorms to target the contributors to the Boys Will Be Men calendar, but all rumors thus far are purely anecdotal. Traces of absynthe were found in a few rooms, but no damage was done to the gym-rats and bros whose muscle mass was too great for any drug (except HGH) to affect. Blue Review Editors have not been convicted of any civil crimes thus far, only charged with Blue Book violations. Their CRC hearings will proceed this weekend.
In light of the anger that Blue Review staff and fans have expressed due to this outcome, the Boys Will Be Men staff have released a statement: “What if the roles were reversed?”