Letter from the Editor: Idolatry

Letter from the Editor: Idolatry

Daphenie Joseph
Media Staff

Dear Beloved Reader,

Our issue opens with Cheyenne Butler’s piece “What Happens in Vegas Should Stay in Vegas,” when the thin veil of adoration is trespassed. She questions what happens when we begin to see our idols as real people? Miriella Jiffar also tears away a glorified curtain—one that separates our present from our ancestral past. In her poem "Weeping Willow," Bailey Middleton reflects on her foremothers, who bravely sank their roots in precarious ground. She reflects on finding new fertile sources of warm and vulnerable strength, challenging ideals that demand Black women to exude a cold and tough power. 

Freelancer Diana Zhang’s poem “[Mama,]” also reminisces on individual creation and a childhood spent trying to mold herself after an idolized image of whiteness. She yearns for the love of her mother and wonders if her skin will forever be stained with sorrow. 

In Susannah Baker’s series of letters “To My Middle School Idols,” she unearths memories of maturation, fashioning new icons to revere. Jordan Coleman’s culture critique “5 Things I Love and Don’t Love about K-pop” encourages us to reflect on how we engage with idols in stan culture. Much like Cheyenne, she prompts us to shatter the glamorous and lustrous film that separates the idolizer and the idolized within a parasocial relationship. 

Caroline Silvera’s poem "In My Ideal Universe" attempts to reconcile her various oppositional selves, inserting them into a single solar system of the self. Cassie Dallas builds on Caroline’s poem, suggesting that we can, and should, merge all the miraculous universes of our different selves into a single day with her piece Favorite's Day: The Self-Care Day You Didn't Know You Needed. She introduces the concept of a favorites day where all the different parts of yourself collide in a harmonious favorites day, encouraging us to take care of ourselves in a new form of self-idolatry. 

Lindsey Smith echoes Cassie’s call to self-care in her piece "Deconstructing 'Going-Out' Culture at UVA: Why Can’t We Ever Slow Down?" In her critique of the fast-paced and demanding going out culture of UVA, Lindsey also explores the homophone of idol—idle. She begs us to reassess the cycle of hustle and exhaustion that we as college students have come to idolize and normalize, urging us to find new sources of idleness, care, and fun that serve and truly fulfill us as individuals.

Freelancer Mary Margaret Lea embodies Lindsey’s advice in engaging in active rest and idyllic idleness. In her poem “Oasis,” which she wrote on top of a mountain in Joshua Tree National Park, she inspires us to pause and revel in the idyllic cosmos that we currently inhabit. Ella Powell closes our issue with another letter "Dear Idleness," that explores her relationship to indulging in relaxation and peace.

Thank you to our lovely artists—Daphenie, Judy, and Autumn—for bringing this issue alive. Thank you also to Smritee and the social media team for making Iris heard. And as always, thank you to the unseen backbone of Iris—Miriella, Mary, and Leigh Ann—for their tireless labor in making Iris everything that I've dreamed of. You all are my idols, whether you know it or not! 

With all my love,

Jasmine <3