Monday, February 05, 2007

The hippies think they won. Sends shivers down your spine, doesn't it? As liberal as I and many other students on this campus are, “hippies winning” is just a contradiction in terms. It would be like the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series. It just doesn’t work.

This week, the Berkeley Ewoks somehow pulled one out. Or at least, they think they did. The injunction preventing the commencement of construction on the athletic training center adjacent to Memorial Stadium was not—I repeat, not—to protect the precious coastal live oaks. It is because the entire plateau on which the stadium site sits is still miraculously straddling the Hayward Fault after 83 years. Coach Tedford may have been able to raise the dead, but unfortunately, plate tectonics isn’t part of his new contract.

The city halted construction because, despite over 45,000 pages of documentation by the university, it still believes that the project would be unsafe. But this is not really about safety. I’ve dealt with the neighborhood associations (the Panoramic Hill NA was part of the group which requested the injunction). If all the students were swallowed up by the fault—namely all of us Greeks—they wouldn’t bat an eye. Frankly, the university is this city. Without the school, Berkeley would be some backwater Bay Area town (like Palo Alto), and a mere country-cousin to San Francisco that no one ever heard of.

Without Cal football, the city wouldn't rake in the cash that it does from parking tickets and hotel revenue. Take away the 70,000 that fill Memorial Stadium each fall Saturday, and this town would be dead. The university—the athletics program in particular—shovels in buckets of revenue for the city, but the instant the school wants to expand its facilities just a little bit in order to compete with other programs for recruits (Oregon has two practice fields and one indoor facility), the city council and the neighborhood associations scream as if someone thrust a knife through their eye.

And God forbid we incur the wrath of those righteous dissenters, the true unwashed masses hanging in the oak grove like monkeys in the Amazon. Come to think of it, I’d like the monkeys’ company better. More intelligent conversation. I don’t mind hippies with cogent, well-reasoned arguments, but one of the many problems with Berkeley hippies is that they are so far removed from the agonies of real life that they take up the most ridiculous and foolish causes just because they're groovy, man.

Here’s something to stick in your bong and smoke, my hemp-bracelet friends: This isn’t even an old-growth oak grove (gasp!). Most of the trees in that area were actually planted by the university when the stadium was built in 1923. Only four trees—count ‘em, four—three oaks and a redwood—pre-date the stadium. If the university planted them, it has the right to turn them into kindling. Hippies more wood!

How many of these self-righteous tree-bags have ever been outside the one-tank radius of their Toyota Prius? If cutting down these trees is such an egregious violation of the natural order of things, why don't they try asking a Sudanese child soldier how much a coastal live oak means? Or how about going to Middle East theocracies and asking a woman who had her clitoris cut off and her labia sewn shut if she wants to join in the protest to save a few trees? Chat with a Tibetan who has been shot while trying to cross the border into India to find religious freedom if a grove of oaks matters in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure you’ll get great results, my little Berkeley Ewoks.

You’ve never seen real injustice, and you’ve never really felt real hunger, searing pain, deathly thirst or anything that people—yes, people, not plants—have felt and continue to feel around the world while you sit in your tree houses (made from wood, mind you). Before you go thinking you’ve won, look around you. You wasted your time on trees, trees that are most likely going to be cut down anyway.

And that little injunction? It was for seismic safety reasons—for people. So people could be safe. Not trees. Great job, you crusaders for truth and justice. You rule.
If trees could talk, tell Ryan what they’d say at


Volfanatic said...

I'm back asshole. Give it up, KAL sux. The fact that you are a joke along with your team makes it all the more funny. See you may have thought that you won the battle way back, but now it's over. The tree sitters have more power than the best people at Kal. How does that make you feel? In Tennessee they would have been laughed at and shamed out of the trees for being the kooks that they are. In your sorry town they are heroes. How pathetic and sad you are Seth. Better yet, how sad your team is! HA HA HA HA AH HA AH HA!

Seth said...

Hey there you little piece of trash! How has your bottom-feeding ass been? I told you already that I would gladly meet up with you when the Vols come to town, and then we can then settle our differences as men. Free of the anonymity of the computer and out in the light for all to see. I oh look so forward to our meeting in person.