The dark underbelly of Berkeley cliches

Berkeley cliches
Alvaro Azcarraga/Staff

You don’t even have to tell us, we already know.

You drink Pabst Blue Ribbon out of a yogurt container, you think Judith Butler is the 21st century Gandhi (which, let’s be real, is kind of true), and you’re shocked to learn that other schools use Scantrons for their philosophy finals.

You scoff at Genetically Modified Organisms and think taking a 10 minute shower is more selfish than imperializing a booth at Main Stacks during RRR Week. You can’t even write “it’s lit” without including that apostrophe.

You’re hip, you’re with it, you have that California cool. You make it known to everyone you encounter that film is not, in fact, dead, and the social justice in your blood is so implicit that when your nipples are free, they’re not even making a statement — they just are, man.

Berkeley clichés make us who we are. They’re great, but like all things, they can have a dark and dangerous underbelly. Check out these instances in the Berkeley scene where our ideals have manifested in mysterious ways.

EGALITARIAN MINDSET

OK, it’s obvious that Yogurt Park has the best frozen yogurt in the Bay Area. But at the same time, the yogurt offerings on any given day depend on a flavor rotation that’s too damn socialist to function.

With the exception of two ruling flavors, Vanilla Classic and Ghirardelli Chocolate, which seem to have secured their spots in the six-flavor rotation, every fringe flavor from Red Raspberry to Hazelnut makes a brief appearance at some point in this rotation. We’re here to call for an affirmative action policy ensuring that the best flavors (i.e. any berry flavor) have a guaranteed spot in this cycle.  

So, yeah, the whole equality thing? Not cool. Give the people (especially us at the Clog) what they want. Set quotas for the best flavors and never look back.

DEFIANCE

Berkeley is not known for submitting to the tides of normalcy or for leaving the status quo untouched.

This defiance of image and societal expectations bleeds into the local culture, crystallizing on Telegraph Avenue, while our defiance of administrative silencing in the 1964 Free Speech Movement is now something that is institutionally celebrated.

And let’s not forget The Play — the most phenomenal episode of defiance in sports. The blue and the gold, the go and the Bears, the crowd and the players fused together in a miracle moment of rebellion, agreed to attempt the impossible and believed in the edgy and take-charge attitude tattooed on the underbelly of our script. In four clock seconds, we demonstrated to the world the power of unity, of believing and of defiance.

This defiance is undeniably part of what it means to be a Golden Bear, but sometimes we take it a little too far.

A couple of personal shout-outs:

To the folks who vape in lecture: We’re not ripping you because it’s gross, we’re ripping you because it makes you look dumb.

Finally, to the students who defy the limits of normal human intelligence and set the curves too damn high, here’s a personal message from us at the Clog: Stop. You’re killing us.  

COMPETITION

From downing pitchers on a Tuesday to adopting a “dive or die” mentality when playing spike ball, we at UC Berkeley don’t back down from a competition.

The dark side to this is pretty obvious, and the solution can be conveyed in four words: Take a chill pill.

And this goes for all of us: Love each other. Tell your friends the Pacific Cookie Company word of the week. Post in your group where the nearest rare Pokemon is. We’re all in this together.

BEING LOUD

Especially when juxtaposed with the golf claps softly emanating from the student section of Stanford’s newly-renovated-to-be-smaller-because-they-couldn’t-fill-it-in-the-first-place football stadium, it’s clear that we at UC Berkeley are not quiet humans. We will never forget the time we saw a Toyota Camry chilling in one of our Nobel Laureate parking spots blasting at maximum volume Ice Cube’s “It Was A Good Day.”

And it was a good day — to be a Golden Bear and to be reminded that the brilliant people teaching us are also fucking gangsters.

So, we’re loud, and apparently this has consequences.

Someone might want to tell the people living by the Greek Theatre that there’s a college campus 30 seconds across the street, because the city’s noise ordinance, which limits concert activity to 10 p.m. on weekdays, makes approximately zero sense in the context of Berkeley.  

This is not the Vatican. This is not the East Asian Library. This is an outdoor amphitheater in a college environment. It’s not going to be quiet four hours before bedtime. Let’s recall a 2015 Lenny Kravitz concert at this very venue, which lasted an impressive nine-song set, which culminated in about a 50-minute gig. It was definitely worth the money, though we were just a couple weeks late for #penisgate.

Why make us leave so early? So we would be able to get a seat at the library before they all got taken? So we have time to grab a Top Dog before our assignment is due at midnight? So we can walk to a frat house and be the first people at their party? 10 p.m. in Berkeley is like Happy Hour in the rest of the world; the party’s just getting started. Let the music play, let the kids dance.

And we didn’t even address how that trademark UC Berkeley cutthroat ambition has manifested in Pokemon Go mayhem. Stay tuned for that next time.

Thanks for reading and go Bears.

Contact Natalie Silver at [email protected].