Friday, September 07, 2007

Cal vs. Berkeley: Go Bears!

It was inevitable, I suppose: seeing the success of the Cal football team as a threat to an idealized view of life in Berkeley that exists only in their own minds, the city and some residents have chosen to take up the battle against the University's efforts to refurbish Memorial Stadium and expand the athletic facilities in that vicinity.

I don't know who authored this because the link to the full article was broken, but here's one example of the mindset, courtesy of the Berkeley Daily Planet:

"Up until this point I've tried to be polite, but now it's time to come out of the closet. I am one of the quite sizeable majority of graduates of elite universities who actively dislike all forms of professional football, including the so-called amateur teams fielded mostly by second-rate "athletic powerhouses." People like me tend to regard the whole megilla as breeding ground for the Michael Vicks of the future. We are not thrilled that our alma mater has jumped on this bandwagon with big bucks."

This is completely delusional, of course. It clings to an image of the University that hasn't existed for years; certainly not when I attended Cal in the early 1980s. In fact, it trivializes the real and important work that was done by the real political heroes on the campus in the 1960s; it makes a mockery of the legacy of folks like Mario Savio. It's sloppy thinking, and it's completely and utterly elitist.

The ironic thing? The system that is being attacked so gleefully today didn't attract a peep from these people until the team started winning. And now, people are actually looking at Cal in a different light. That's very threatening for the reactionaries who would call themselves leftists.

No comments: