Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Intend to Scoop the Poop, A Prologue

"Fire hazards, falling containers of excrement and the increase of structures in the trees led the university to request the injunction against the protesters in Alameda County Superior Court, said Dan Mogulof, executive director of public affairs for the campus." --San Franscisco Chronicle

My entrance to the Bay Area coincided with a dramatic confrontation between Berkeley police and students. It’s interesting to note the difference of political climate between here and Columbia. Both Columbia and Berkeley have strong histories of political demonstrations and civil disobedience.

At Columbia, the rumor is the administrators wished to never have such a demonstration happen again and have worked to minimize student organization and even groomed a less liberal student body to avoid a 1968-like confrontation again (whoops!). While the administration is conservative, some (most?) student publications take a New York liberal voice.

At Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement CafĂ© memorializes the 1963 turbulence and ostentatiously serves as a venue for “FSM educational” activities. While the events had the same theme and even similar actions (campus takeover, protest against discrimination), no such a memorial exists at Columbia. On the other hand, the Daily California’s unfortunately titled blog “The Daily Clog” not only reminds me of me and my brother’s frequent bowel movements during childhood, it’s also conservative! Eek!

So, back to the issue at hand. Tonight begins a 48-vigil for the oak trees located near UC Berkeley’s football stadium. The trees are slated for cutting and Berkeley activists (redundant?) are psyched to have a chance to flex their civil disobedient muscles yet again. Unfortunately, hype over the California Golden Bears recent success has bulldozed (figuratively and nearly literally) any real or potential tree-hugging. This puts the protestors in an uncomfortable position of having to admit to not hating football. Reminds me of an Onion headline.

I intend to add to my press cred by attending the opening vigil and scooping the event. The University’s biggest complaint has not been the actual protest, but the dropping of poop-filled containers from the trees. Too hilarious not to attend.

For more background on the story:

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle's Who's Who in the Trees (Lorax not included)

Daily Californian

The Daily Clog

Mother Jones

It's definitely made it to the east coast as well:

New York Times

Brown Daily Herald

It's even made it to halfway around the world!

Hindustan Times

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