Cal Culture

40 Signs You Fell for Berkeley “Click Bait”

It’s still ricocheting around cyberspace, shared via Facebook from alum to alum. Indeed the BuzzFeed post “40 Signs You Went to Berkeley” has proved an irresistible 2013 hit with its narrow niche of an audience, racking up more than 200,000 views and counting.

But it’s also become a flash point of controversy about what, if anything, its popularity reveals about the future of online “content”. Read more about 40 Signs You Fell for Berkeley "Click Bait" »

Merit in the Mirror: California whites redefine it to reflect their kids

Boil the American Dream down to a single maxim and it’s this: “If you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to get what’s yours.” Our mutual commitment to meritocracy is, we’re told, about as central to our national character as baseball. Divvying up gains based on ability and hard work (as oppposed to, say, your family’s social status, race or religion) is not only a workable way to organize an economically productive society—it also seems fundamentally fair. Read more about Merit in the Mirror: California whites redefine it to reflect their kids »

The Harvard Humblebrag

The lovely young woman has been admitted to the master’s program at Berkeley’s School of Public Health and she is seeking my advice. She’s also been accepted to Harvard and several other top schools, she says, and is weighing her options.

I make the appropriate comments. I have nothing negative to say about Harvard, or any other of the schools of public health she is considering, I tell her. Each has its pluses and minuses and so forth and blah blah blah. Read more about The Harvard Humblebrag »

From the Summer 2013 A New Deal issue of California.

Administering Change

The year was 1996 and Nicholas Dirks, now Berkeley’s newest chancellor, had just traveled from the University of Michigan to Columbia University to talk about joining Columbia’s history and anthropology departments. There was a hunger strike going on there at the time—a group of students were advocating for the creation of a department of ethnic studies—and he had landed right in the middle of it. Read more about Administering Change »

From the Summer 2013 A New Deal issue of California.

A Moment’s Grace

To call it a birthday party would be a bit of a stretch.

It was my 22nd—not a particularly celebration-worthy year to begin with. I also didn’t have any friends with whom to celebrate. I was only a couple months into what would be a year-long stint as an intern at The Bakersfield Californian, and furthermore—since I was in the employ of a newspaper reporting news—planning ahead was a shady proposition. Read more about A Moment's Grace »

From the Spring 2013 Growing Up issue of California.

The Unretiring Chancellor

During his nine years in the job, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau oversaw a successful capital campaign, orchestrated a $320 million stadium renovation, stabilized the University’s budget, and implemented a plan for giving tuition breaks to middle-class students. His accomplishments occurred during what he describes as “an extraordinary period in the history of the University of California,” when an economic downturn precipitated state funding cuts, tuition increases, campus layoffs, and student protests. Read more about The Unretiring Chancellor »

From the Spring 2013 Growing Up issue of California.

Famous Enough

The sun hangs low over Manhattan Beach, giving the ocean a SoCal-postcard glow. Inside a fratty, nautically themed bar, Rod Benson is doing shots of vodka with his buddies. As usual, he has drawn a crowd. A fireplug-shaped guy with a tiny, feral mustache tries to impress Benson with his knowledge of Krav Maga, the Israeli martial art. A couple of blonde, tattooed women trade flirty insults with him. On the margins, a shirtless and very sunburned dude sways on his feet, drawn to the spectacle. Read more about Famous Enough »

From the Winter 2012 Culture Shock issue of California.

Four Roads to Berkeley

The University attracts from all the world’s pathways, be they paved or unpaved, clamorous or still, open or closed—a dazzling array of brainpower hitched to goodwill.

Of all the people from around the globe who study or work at Cal, or do both, we have chosen a disparate quartet who arrived at zip code 94720 from three continents and four countries, including this one. Read more about Four Roads to Berkeley »

From the Winter 2012 Culture Shock issue of California.

Covert Operator

On Friday, March 10, 1961, FBI agents Donald Jones and John Hood arrived at the Berkeley campus for a secret meeting. They had been summoned by Alex C. Sherriffs, a professor of psychology and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and were soon seated in his Dwinelle Hall office. The psychologist presented a disturbing diagnosis of the Berkeley student body. Read more about Covert Operator »

From the Fall 2012 Politics Issue issue of California.

Paging Fan X

The 30th anniversary of the The Play approaches this fall with its legion of honor seemingly set in stone: The Fantastic Four—Kevin Moen, Richard Rodgers, Dwight Garner, and Mariet Ford—earned their spot in history with a touchdown that seemed to flout the space–time continuum; Stanford trombonist Gary Tyrrell gave the legends an amiable foil, absorbing his end zone mugging with panache; and the wonder of it all will live forever in a beautifully unhinged radio call. Thank you, Joe Starkey. Read more about Paging Fan X »

From the Fall 2012 Politics Issue issue of California.

Back in His Element

Anthony Ervin sits in the stands at the Spieker Aquatics Complex and gazes through the dark lenses of his Ray-Bans. At 31, he scarcely resembles the fresh-faced kid who set a world record then won gold and silver in swimming at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He was just 19, and seemed destined to win more Olympic medals. Read more about Back in His Element »

From the Summer 2012 North South issue of California.

No Joy in Berkeley

The news was delivered at a press conference in September. Reading from a statement, Chancellor Birgeneau announced that at the end of this academic year men’s and women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, and men’s baseball would no longer represent the University in intercollegiate competition. Additionally, men’s rubgy, historically Cal’s most dominant program, would be re-designated a “varsity-club” sport. Read more about No Joy in Berkeley »

From the Winter 2010 Inside Out issue of California.

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