Dubbed “USC’s most questionable name in news,” The Noble Savage began making waves with its witty satirical articles in mid-December.
Quoting fictional USC employees and students, such as “a [bookstore] employee with a passion for overpriced apparel” and “a student … in USC’s ‘Undercover Informant’ major,” The Savage spins popular issues on campus to create sarcastic stories.
Gus Kimball, a freshman majoring in business administration, originally wanted to write stories for Sack of Troy, another satirical publication aimed toward USC students.
“I was writing these little, comical stories and decided maybe I could actually do something with them,” Kimball said.
He sent one of his stories in an application to the Sack of Troy editorial board but, rather than giving him the position, the editors at Sack of Troy allegedly plagiarized parts of his application story under their own names.
In a string of messages, Axel Hellman, Editor-in-Chief of Sack of Troy, admitted to similariy in the stories and agreed to take his stories down. Sack of Troy called the matter a “coincidence” in a brief comment to the Daily Trojan and has since filed a complaint with Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards against The Noble Savage.
“I was obviously very put off … by their actions,” Kimball said. “Why not start my own, you know? And do it better.”
And so began The Noble Savage.
“For two weeks when I didn’t really feel like studying for finals, I wrote funny articles instead. Once I had enough, I bought a domain name, published them and became that annoying guy on Facebook … trying to get the word out,” Kimball said.
In its first two days, the site reached 50 followers and had nearly 1,000 views.
The next week, Kimball happened to be chatting with Frank Fink, a sophomore majoring in business administration and computer science, and mentioned The Savage. Fink immediately asked to help with the site. It then snowballed from short stories written in Kimball’s spare time to a full-fledged online publication with multiple writers.
“Once you start doing something it gets bigger and bigger and bigger … that was amazing to me, that this hobby became something that inspired other people,” Kimball said.
What began as a simple humorous idea jotted in the margin of his notebook became something that Kimball can call his own. Though he never set out to gain followers or attention, or even to write full-length stories, Kimball is amazed at what simple passion can do.
“It’s really cool, you know, to be behind something like this,” Kimball said.
He began the website as a forum for his own ideas and was in awe at the positive response it received, which convinced him to continue broadening its scope.
The Savage has expanded to include comics and witty blurbs, alongside its feature satire stories, and Fink and Kimball hope to continue taking it to new levels.
“I want to continue to take it into a different, unexpected direction with exposé pieces and videos as well,” Kimball said.
Editor’s Note: In an official comment, a representative of the Sack of Troy asserted that there was no plagiarism of Gus Kimball’s work in any way, shape, or form. Gus Kimball told representatives of the Sack of Troy that he started the Noble Savage because he wanted his own organization, not because any perceived harm or dissatisfaction with the Sack of Troy.