Jared Rosen: Making politics funny

Jared Rosen is an assistant editor at the campus's student-run satirical newspaper, Fish Rap Live!. (Photo: Carolyn Lagattuta)

Being good at too many things used to be a problem for Jared Rosen, a politics major in his third year at UC Santa Cruz.

Like many students, he didn't always know what he wanted to study.

"I started to write because that's what people said I was good at," said Rosen, who's now an assistant editor at the campus's student-run satirical newspaper, Fish Rap Live!. "I got involved with the drama department at my high school and people said I was good at that, so I considered theater. Then, I developed a keen interest in political science, and people told me I should be a politician."

Apparently, since that was the last thing anyone told him he was good at, it's now his major.

"Hopefully nobody ever tells me that I'm good at anything else, ever, because then I might change my field of study," Rosen joked.

With a voice that drips with wit and friendly sarcasm, it's apparent from the start that humor is, perhaps, Rosen's most obvious calling--but politics is his passion.

His trick is intertwining the two.

Making politics funny, he said, makes it easier to digest.

"Humor de-fragments politics into some sort of digestible content, because otherwise it's very intimidating for people who aren't interested in that field," Rosen said.

Some politicians, however, are making a concentrated effort to take humor and satire out of politics because they think making it funny strips it of dignity, he said--which, of course, only gives ammunition to the satirists and humorists. (One only need watch one episode of Saturday Night Live to observe this.)

The recent election has only fueled Rosen's interest in his field of study, to say the least.

"I turned into a political junkie," said Rosen. "I would come home from my politics class, turn on the news, kick on my computer, and just start doing searches on anything related to the election. I learned ridiculous amounts of information."

Rosen got his start in UCSC publications during his freshman year, when he was enrolled in an Introduction to Magazine Publishing course. Now, in addition to serving as an assistant editor at Fish Rap Live!, he's a senior staff writer and illustrator at the campus arts and literature journal Rapt.

Joining the two publications improved his writing and widened his social circle.

"I started meeting important members of the community," he said. "It was nice to see the people who I was supposed to be like, eventually."

When pondering his future after graduation, Jared proclaims immediately, "I plan on going into a series of high-scale expeditions into the Alaskan wilderness."

While certainly plausible given his well-rounded academic experience at UCSC, the absurdity of this plan is quickly revealed with a laugh, and an explanation of his intent to obtain a public service job in the Santa Cruz area.

Clearly, Jared's multifaceted education will help him become a citizen with much to offer.

Kathryn Leedom is a senior literature major at UC Santa Cruz.