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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette, meet Mike Sager

    Mike Sager
    Sager teaches students about the art of writing and reporting. photo credit: Dylan Huebner


    Dressed completely in muted black, head shaved like a monk, shiny gold hoop dangling off his left ear, Mike Sager looks the way he writes: different.

    He doesn’t conform. He doesn’t settle. He takes the 26 letters of the alphabet and turns them into magic. In a journalistic world of mundane, of vanilla, of copycats and wannabes, Sager has forged a rift. Quite simply, there’s Mike Sager, and then there’s everybody else.

    It’s not so much what he does that separates him, but the extent he’s willing to go. The award winning writer-at-large for Esquire has been to Hell and back, lived with teenage dog fighters in the slums of Philly, broke bread with a crack gang in L.A., toured with gangster rapper Ice Cube in Compton, and searched Tahiti far and wide for the elusive Marlon Brando.

    He covers the issues people lose sleep over, occupies the spaces people dare not go, and all the while creates stories that flow with incomparable grace and strike with the raw power of a lightning bolt.

    And on Sep. 19, Sager came to Marquette.

    His visit was marked with all the unbridled humor and blunt, harsh truth of his stories. He spoke of his past, of his career and his run-ins with Aryan Nation troopers and aging porn stars and the less-than-friendly Julia Roberts, of the delicate art that is journalism and 53 ways to be better at it.

    Sager was every bit what you would expect from a man who went from frat boy to copy boy to reporter to freelance demigod in one deft move. He’s hip without trying, smart without a moment’s pause, magnetic without north and south poles. From his laid back persona to his greying beard to his never-ending bucket of improbable tales, Sager is Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” come to life.

    For the school of journalism at Marquette, Sager’s visit was a watershed moment. Sure, he had a certain agenda to fulfill while he was here, classes to teach, lectures to give, hands to shake, but that was all just fluff and sprinkles. It was all just candy-coating to wrap around his presence.

    The simple fact, the main thing, is that Mike Sager was here.

    In terms of journalism programs, Marquette may not fit into the Northwestern’s and Missouri’s of the world. But now, Sager – someone who has chilled with Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro and written for GQ and Rolling Stone – has given Marquette a certain validation.

    Mike. Sager. For a journalist who knows his way around a decently written article, those two words mean something. They have gravity, weight, pizazz, bling bling. Those two words are more than two words. They are instant credibility. They are the sound that’s made when the clouds part and the light shines through, “Ahhhhhh!” That’s what those two words are.

    For the people involved in his variety of events while he was here or just lucky enough to cross paths and talk for a few minutes, you know it isn’t that simple. There’s much more to Sager than that name and the beard and earring and aura.

    Mike Sager is his stories. He’s interconnected with them, interwoven, shared and combined. His experiences and journeys have come to define him as a writer, and as a person. He’s tough, bold, daring, unique. An outlier. A rebel. A genius.

    And for three days in September, Marquette got to be a part of both the man and the story, a key moment in a lifelong journey.

    Mike. Sager. And Marquette.


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    • M

      mike sagerSep 24, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Thanks so much for a great visit and Erik’s kind words. Marquette Journos: A great bunch of peeps with bright futures all.