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Jim Ends, Leaving Behind a Legacy

It is a rare occasion that an outsider can gain the respect and loyalty of the members of this community. MIT follows a long-standing socio-academic tradition that is rooted in our own brand of esoterica and is perhaps best described as somewhat eccentric. Our impressions of humor take shape in such displays as adding scrubbing bubbles to the bathroom-tile decor of the Media Lab, or in various ornamentations of the Great Dome or 77 Massachusetts Avenue. This line of amusement has become a part of our charm, and many hold it close to their own.

In this regard, Scott Dikkers' character, Jim, who has lived on the pages of The Tech for more than five years is a unique example. Although it was a syndicated comic distributed by Onion Features, "Jim's Journal" occupied an intimate place in the MIT mindset and may well have been considered a local product.

Somehow, Jim knew MIT. Neither heroic nor villainous, the Jim persona embodied a way of life that many could relate to, some could appreciate, and everyone could understand. Jim was not a mover and a shaker. He was not a silent protester, nor did he express lasting sentiment one way or the other. He appreciated the little things and noticed the oft ignored.

As a person, Jim was not a charmer or a recluse. He was not witty or clever, decisive or determined. His strength was in his earnest stolidity, frankness, and acceptance. He rarely wavered in the face of disadvantage, instead accepting the fatality of his decisions. His doctrines fit well in the scheme of Tech Hell.

"Jim's Journal" captured the essence of Institute life, on and off the page. As an icon in the community, Jim was ridiculed for his vacuousness and adored for his blase. His fans and his foes loved and scorned him for the same reasons. Blazingly true to some, he was blandly evident to others. His downplayed attitudes were a poignant reminder of truth and perhaps for that reason offered multiple interpretations.

We honor the passing of "Jim's Journal" not as the loss of a comic strip but as the loss of a controversial player in MIT's social sphere. When a distant star goes out, it can take many years for its light to stop reaching us. When Dikkers stopped drawing "Jim's Journal," it took The Tech - which had been printing back-orders and re-runs - over a year to realize the change. As a vibrant campus icon, it may take much longer for Jim to reach oblivion. Regardless, Jim would agree that we will all probably be okay.