City Journal: The Gonz Show

By John Gonzalez | Boston Magazine |

John Gonzalez quizzes Bom Kim, founder of the self-proclaimed Vanity Fair of Harvard, on his plans for keeping the buzz going.


Following two years of tinkering, 02138—the glossy for the Harvard sensibility—made a predictably impressive premiere. But the real test comes when you’re required to crank out issues on deadline. With the second rolling out this month, we caught up with co-creator Bom Kim.

Q: You started 02138, but your office is in 02114. Next, I think you ought to start a magazine called Kuala Lumpur that’s based out of Schenectady.

A: Our goal, our intent, in naming it 02138 wasn’t to signal that we’d be all about that ZIP code. It’s more about what we share in common, our sensibility, our passion in each other.

Q: I heard you tried to hire everyone in town…except me. So, um, anything you want to apologize for?

A: Boston magazine is a great place to work. We didn’t want to waste our time trying to steal you away.

Q: Seriously, have you found it difficult to write only about Harvard or its grads? Because aside from the occasional plagiarist, how do you fill an entire magazine?

A: There’s a lot to draw from in that well. Stories to celebrate. Embarrassing stories. Harvard people involved in moving-and-shaking events. Stories that are inspirational.

Q: I’d like to compliment you on selecting actress Rashida Jones as your inaugural cover girl. An inspired choice. She’s totally hot.

A: Rashida Jones is one of the people we profiled in our section called Rising. But our decision to put her on the cover was a signal to the audience that we wouldn’t be predictable-that we’re presenting a new, bold way to look at ourselves and the community. Like Rashida Jones, we’re not just flashy on the outside. There’s an elegance inside.

Q: You should put someone from Yale on the cover- throw a curve, you know? Maybe Bronson Pinchot. He actually went there.

A: [Silence]

Q: Really, you got nothing for me? I’m a visionary.

A: [Courtesy laugh.] We’ll take that into consideration.