Sunday, July 27, 2008

Obnoxious Berkeleyites

I went to Berkeley today to try to buy birthday gifts for my wife. Not only was I mostly unsuccessful, but the visit reminded me of just how much Berkeley annoys me -- at least that part near the University and up in the hills which is overrun with certain people. Those people can ruin the place for everyone else, if you're not careful.

Berkeley should be a paradise for American Liberals since, by its own claims, it is America's most Liberal city. However, I think the Berkeleyites have "Libertine" confused with "Liberal," and "Obnoxious Contrarianism" confused with "Thoughtful Politics."

I'd like to start of by pointing out that "George Bush Sucks" is not really a sophisticated political sentiment. Too many people in Berkeley seem to think that all politics is a matter of popularity of slogan. If it's on a t-shirt, mission accomplished. It's not just that they wear the t-shirts, and plaster the bumper-stickers everywhere, but that when you hear them discussing politics on the streets -- it's in the same vapid terms.

They wear their amazing enlightenment on their sleeves, while their own city is visibly, obviously segregated economically and racially (when a Berkeleyite says "the hills" they mean "rich and white (or east asian)" and when one says "the flatlands" they mean "poor and dark"). I've had more than one Berkeleyite tell me: "You must be so glad to be out of New York, where it's so racist." Excuse me? New York is one of the most racially, ethnically, and economically mixed cities in the world.

Just like New York's East Village, the trash-strewn, piss-soaked streets of Telegraph Avenue near the University are the result of a concentration of stupid college students and bums. And all college students are stupid. When I was a college student, I didn't think I was stupid. That's because I was an ignorant, self-aggrandizing hypocrite, like every college student. Basically, the purpose of college is to use sleep deprivation and drugs to brainwash young adults long enough that when they are unleashed on society their unmitigated, self-righteous arrogance has mellowed enough that there's a less than 90% chance someone will murder them within the first few minutes of their release into greater society.

In Berkeley, however, even the bums are arrogant and self-righteous. Unlike your usual glaze-eyed, gibbering lunatics in places like New York's Washington Square Park, Berkeley's bums are mostly coherent enough that they retain the facility to care whether or not you agree with their rants. When they yell at you for ignoring them, it is more than an autonomous reflex. Some of them even want to debate. And, as usual, the volume of their speech generally inversely correlates with factual accuracy. Your mere existence does not give you the right to tell me everything you've ever thought of, so stop following me.

Gutterpunks, who manage to give regular punks an even worse name, also abound in Berkeley. No, I'm not going to give you $5 for beer or pot. I'm going to buy my own beer, and while I drink it, I'll listen to some Amebix and think "thank Bob I can't smell those blokes." Then I'll eat some food, and sleep in a bed. The funny thing is, since a number of the Gutterpunks in Berkeley (like many of the Hippies) come from wealthy families, that's what they could be doing if they hadn't chosen to dress like a filth-spattered Bundeswehr deserter with PTSD and sit on the sidewalk.

For some inexplicable reason there are also still Hippies in Berkeley. I know they're genuine Hippies because they are old, smell like they haven't bathed since 1968, and have simply replaced Viet Nam with Iraq in everything they yell. And they always yell. There's not a lot more I can really say about Hippies, other than to point out that by and large the 60's generation are the soulless hypocrites who are sucking the wealth out of this nation, squandering its natural resources, and generally causing sociologists to estimate that my generation will be the first to be worse-off than its predecessor.

White guys with dreadlocks also abound in Berkeley, listening to boring Reggae and that one Rage Against The Machine song over and over. Apparently, many of these guys also like marijuana, as evidenced by the forty foot tall marijuana patches on the back of their hempcloth vests.

You'd think that with all these elements, Berkeley wouldn't be one giant shopping mall filled with coiffed, spray-tanned and over-made-up teen bimbos parading around in matching outfits of whatever colors the dye makers needed to throw away this season. You'd think incorrectly. Somehow, these elements fuse perfectly with the mall environment. And in Berekely, even the bimbos wander around saying "gee, George Bush is so dumb," as if that magical incantation will right all that is wrong with our country.

Berkeley is much more anti-Bush than it is pro-Obama -- there's scant Obama sloganeering or imagery compared to mountains of it that are anti-Bush -- and therein lies the rub. Berkeley is all about being against things. I rarely see anyone campaigning FOR something -- the most serious positive causes are always turned-around and turned into an opportunity to complain and inveigh. I'm from New York. Many of my friends are New York Jews. You want complaints and invectives? I've got them right here, buddy.

But Berkeley -- Oi Vey! It's just plain exhausting. And it smells like piss.

If only Amoeba would move to Oakland. At least that city is dilapidated and corrupt in all the usual urban American ways.

(Of course, there are also some very nice people in Berkeley who love their city -- hey, some of my best friends are Berkeleyites -- and this rant is mostly about the Shattuck-Telegraph-Berkeley Hills areas, not so much the working class areas near Oakland.)


Seth said...

At the risk of sounding glib, might a I recommend siging up or the Kingdom of Loathing, a free massively multiplayer online game? The level 12 quest requires that you start a war between the frat boys and the hippies on The Mysterious Island of Mystery, and there is little that is more gratifying than systematically destroying a 1000-strong colony of either one.