We’re just a bunch of ‘Merica-loving capitalists, we swear!

What do your friends at USC and your grandmother in Idaho have in common? When you told them you were coming to Cal, they all scoffed and mumbled something about “those damn hippies.” Here at the Clog, we experience it, too. As we get ready to go home for spring break, we’re prepared for our families to poke fun at the hemp bracelets or tie-dye shirts we bought on Telegraph just for the heck of it. Our parents’ friends will ask how often we shower and if we really go around eating the bark off trees. On the inside, we all know that very few Berkeley students truly transform into the hippies of the 1960s. However, we understand that most people remain unconvinced, so if you need some numbers to explain to Great-Aunt Pearl that the nearly-homeless, free-loving flower children of yore DO NOT dominate campus anymore, go ahead and spell it out for them. If they still think that our hippies sound like the hippies they love to hate, then we’re sorry. We’ve done all we can do.

Exhibit A: Vibram Five Fingers

These started out nerdy, and perhaps they still are. All we know is that nowadays they’re everywhere. Why people need these running and trekking shoes for classes beats us, but gosh darn it if they don’t look hella comfy and sort of ironically cool. Your average twice-removed relative probably thinks these are ridiculous-looking, feeling and … well, looking again. They are pretty weird and cost a pretty penny, anywhere from $80 to $250.

 Exhibit B: Urban Outfitters

Need we say more? Even the sale stuff is way overpriced, but we keep going back for those Goodwill knockoffs — discolored jeans, baggy sweaters and distressed everything. Price range: a boho-print maxi dress is $50 to $90; men’s ‘vintage’ army jackets are $60 to $10o; vintage soda bottles: On top of being totally useless, these babies are $69 a pop (pun intended).

You get the picture.   

 Exhibit C: Our conscious lifestyles

No, this no longer means merely peace, love and harmony. Today, it denotes Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl — organic quinoa, local kale and seven bottles of kombucha a week at $3.50 a bottle! More expensive than coffee addiction, but wait … we have those, too. As long as the coffee is fair trade! The following figures are generously understated. Price range: free trade organic coffee is $15  to $100 per pound. Not to say any of us spend $100 on a bag on grounds. We’re sure the general consensus on that one is: You have to be insane. Organic produce costs 10 to 174 percent more than conventional, according to the Internet.

 Exhibit D: All that environmentally-friendly stuff

Sure, the hippies of the ’60s had the whole tree-hugging, love-Mother-Earth stuff down. However, we’re the ones spending our hard-earned green on going green! With our reusable water bottles, stainless steel Tupperware and cloth tote bags (notably necessary post-January plastic-tax), we spend a lot of time and money being sustainable. In other words, we’re not all talk and peace signs! Check our dish racks! Price Range: Student Store reusable water bottles are $20 to $30, and nonplastic food storage can run from $20 to $70.

Now, we know that this is a caricature of Berkeley life as well, but hey, it’s pretty funny and it might just get Dad’s banker-friends off your back for studying sociology — or even business — at UC Berkeley.

Image Source: sallycreates, under Creative Commons.

Contact Jordan Henigman at [email protected]