“It’s a project I very much want to get back to, and I keep committing to doing so and then life happens at me again. I’m really hoping that I’ll have time to get it off the ground by the end of the year.”
This is part of our series of Wesleyingiversary interviews. You can find the rest here.
I managed to snag the rarest interview of all when I caught up with the mysterious, yet illustrious, pyrotechnics for Wesleying’s 10 year anniversary. Pyrotechnics wrote more than 100 posts for Wesleying, many of which centered around campus activism and sexual violence.
He once stated in a post that “History, at least as it is popularly understood, often influences the character of the future.” Wesleying, being a vehicle for the transmission of ideas which might coalesce, compete, and crumble to make up the hystory of Wesleyan, has definitely had its character shaped by pyrotechnics. Read more for our interview:
It’s Wesleying’s 10 year anniversary soon. That sounds institutional? Is Wesleying an institution?
pyrotechnics: It’s been an institution. An unusual one, of course, but it’s been one for a while.
Okay. Can you say a bit about your role on the site?
pyrotechnics: I started in the Zach era. Most of my stuff was lengthier “issue-based” blogging — Zach wrote a lot of posts that covered most of the day to day, with some help from a lot of other folks. Event posts were always everyone’s responsibility, and always a pain. I did that under the Wesleying handle though. After Zach graduated, Samira took over and my role didn’t change much as she did much the same as Zach.
wilk: Word. I saw that you did this remarkable photoshop for Zach‘s birthday. I’ll bet that was fun
pyrotechnics: Ugh, I think I did that in paint. *shakes head*
pyrotechnics: I also wrote the post referenced in the first sentence, which was more fun. That was also around the time that we were tossing around the idea of a crowdfunding campaign (’cause keeping the site up costs money) with a reward tier that involved a t-shirt with Zach‘s face on it.
wilk: That sounds glorious. I asked Zach in his interview if he’d written 1200 posts for any other site. He hasn’t.
pyrotechnics: He wrote *a lot* for Wesleying.
Okay, so back to that “issue-based” blogging. You wrote a lot on the endowment and Need Blind Wes, right?
pyrotechnics: I worked a lot on those issues wearing a different hat, but actually Zach covered that one more than I did for Wesleying, I think. I did some. Much of my issue-based blogging related to sexual violence on campus, among other things.
Sexual violence is a huge issue everywhere, and Wes is no exception. The data on it is staggering. Sexual violence is intertwined with a host of cultural issues that take a lot of careful consideration to speak on accurately and effectively. Sexual violence is something that effects *a lot* of Wesleying’s readers.
During my time at Wes (and probably still, I imagine, though I don’t follow Wes news much these days) there were a lot of political developments happening on campus that related to the issue, and that made it even more important to cover.
Was there a post you wrote that ended up generating a lot of dialogue?
pyrotechnics: Several. Hang on a sec.
- “Former Student Files Suit Against University,” 10/7/2012
- “You Should Read This: Sexual Assault and its Supernumaries,” 10/23/2012
- “The Atlantic, Fraternities, Wesleyan, You,” 2/20/2014
- “Shock and Awe,” 2/12/2013
- This is unrelated, but it probably got the most comments of anything I ever posted: “Who The Fuck Decides That This Is Okay?”, 10/4/2013
wilk: And what of the response to all of this? Negative / positive / productive / destructive / constructive?
pyrotechnics: Ran/runs the gamut. There are deep-rooted cultural problems involved. Some people don’t see the issue, some profit by it. Others have been killed by the issue. And everything in between. I can easily say I’ve lost friends over my work on this. That’s probably for the best. I suppose you can tell me whether anything has changed on campus, besides the obvious.
wilk: Man, I’m really sorry to hear that. Well, we had what some would call a “fraticide” but I think structurally, a lot remains the same. Peep the Wes news around harassment in the classics department and Antonio Farias (chief title IX officer), and Wesleying’s interview with Karmenife Paulino ’15.
pyrotechnics: Yeah, I’m familiar with that. Karmenife is awesome, just for the record.
wilk: Yeah she’s amazing.
Do you think it’s important that Wesleying is independent as a platform for discussing the university’s failures?
pyrotechnics: Absolutely. A lot of folks project a standard image of journalism onto Wesleying that doesn’t really apply. Wesleying covers what it wants to and how it wants to, very often with some sort of bias. That’s actually a necessary thing, in my opinion. Independence isn’t *strictly* necessary, but it does go a long way to preserving that culture.
So, can you give me some of the story behind Post-Wesleying?
pyrotechnics: Oh dear
— Post-Wesleying (@postwesleying) June 9, 2014
pyrotechnics: That started as a vague idea, what? Four years ago? I eventually worked with alt to set up a site, which I own. I made two posts about setting up something bigger a few months later. Then life happened. Life is still happening.
It’s a project I very much want to get back to, and I keep committing to doing so and then life happens at me again. I’m really hoping that I’ll have time to get it off the ground by the end of the year. What I really need to do is to put out a call for writers and make it as hands off as possible. That’s my current plan anyway.
wilk: Ay don’t worry we’ll give it some shout outs in the next week or so
pyrotechnics: But I want it to be a success when it finally fires, so I’m taking the time to do it right — meaning that I have the time to make sure it works when it happens.
wilk: By all means haha. The 10 year anniversary seems like ripe time.
Any posts that ever made you giggle?
wilk: The banter is fkn REAL omg. That is a great one.
So what are you up to these days?
pyrotechnics: So, I said earlier that life happened to me and that’s absolutely true. I took a job in Texas shortly after setting up Post-Wesleying that had me working 100+ hours per week, and I no longer had time for much of anything besides work. I’m still in Texas working in local politics.
wilk: Wow. That is many hours.
pyrotechnics: Yeah it was pretty nonstop. There was time to eat and sleep on occasion. Not much else.
wilk: Fuck, I mean that is pretty incredible
Any last wisdom you wanna impart on current Wes beings?
pyrotechnics: Nope. I did that already.
wilk: Ah, yes. That was the subject of my follow up — fare we better indeed.
More by pyrotechnics: