Cal Culture

No, Cal Isn’t Blocking the Ben Shapiro Speech

It’s been about two weeks since the media chatter started about student groups’ trying to bring conservative pundit Ben Shapiro to the UC Berkeley campus—and the hullabaloo has an air of déjà vu.

The Skinny on Body Peace and Other Campus Resources for Eating Disorders

This spring, a handful of college kids were in a basement classroom of Barrows Hall gathered round an overhead projector. On the screen, there was a meme: a photo of a half-naked model with super-imposed text that read, “Real women have curves.” One of the students scoffed and said, “She doesn’t.” Everyone laughed. At about 5’7” and weighing in at roughly 110 pounds, she really didn’t. And noticing things like that was the point of why everyone showed up—to talk about body image.

A Little Falcon Falls: RIP Lux, Campus Celebrity

When two peregrine fledglings took flight from the UC Berkeley Campanile last week, amateur bird watchers and ornithologists alike predicted a plethora of dangers: hungry crows, a steep fall, even ground predators. But there was little mention of what would ultimately lead to one chick’s foul demise—though it should have been transparent.

The baby bird’s greatest enemy? A campus window.

Not So Much a Tweet Storm as a Peregrine Plunge

When I started out as a reporter just a few years back, if you’d told me that this week I’d be standing on the UC Berkeley lawn staring up at live raptors (and documenting their every peep for FOUR days), I would never have believed you. Not just because the raptors are seldom-seen peregrine falcons, recently removed from a list of predators going extinct, but mostly because I never gave a flying flip about birds. Ever. And yet there I was this past Monday morning, peering skyward at the top of the campus Campanile, along with a team of concerned citizens on Bird Watch. Their mission?

Naked Ambition

I am a nudist by nature and an exhibitionist by inclination, so when streaking became a thing on college campuses, I was on the front lines. It was 1974, my second quarter at UC Berkeley. An 18-year-old free of parental oversight, I plunged headlong into whatever I felt like plunging into. By day I studied Marxist philosophy en route to a degree in political science, but the night belonged to cheap booze, Afghan hash, and windowpane LSD.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

A Life And Career By Design: Qualcomm Exec Paul Jacobs

At an age when most boys are learning to throw a curveball and struggling with elementary algebra, Paul Jacobs was writing code. Simple code, to be sure, but code good enough to let him play the video game Adventure with his dad on a clunky, early laptop.

It’s no surprise that Jacobs, who was in sixth or seventh grade when he wrote his first programs, grew up to be an engineer.

From the Summer 2017 Adaptation issue of California.

Well, This Is An Honor

It happened again: California Magazine has been recognized as a top college and university general-interest magazine by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)! Over the past decade, California has been awarded two golds and one silver award in this category, and our writers and illustrators have also been honored numerous times by CASE.

WATCH: Flashback to When the New US Poet Laureate Read at Cal

In describing  poet Tracy K. Smith’s work, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden says: “Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture. With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human.” Hayden named Smith  the 22 nd U.S. poet laureate this Wednesday. 

New Law Dean Talks Comey, Campus Free Speech, Trump’s Legacy

Erwin Chemerinsky, the incoming dean at UC Berkeley Law School and a constitutional law scholar of national repute, has been ruminating much of late on the ongoing shenanigans in Washington and their implications for the Republic. Chemerinsky weighed in with CALIFORNIA late last week and shared some of his thoughts, including his take on reports that President Donald Trump might attempt to invoke executive privilege to prevent former FBI director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.

Vijay Iyer Jazzes Up the Ojai at Berkeley Music Festival

A couples counselor could have warned Vijay Iyer that the relationship was doomed, but he needed to figure it out for himself. When he arrived at UC Berkeley in the summer of 1992 to start a graduate program in physics, Iyer was also nursing a simmering passion for jazz. The pianist quickly started connecting with some of the Bay Area’s leading improvisers, and after two years, he found himself in something of a crisis—uninspired by his academic courses while increasingly drawn to intensive jazz sessions.

Dan Siegel on Free Speech and People’s Park 48 Years Later

Five questions for Dan Siegel, famous as an articulate firebrand on the UC Berkeley campus during the heady 1960s. He is now 71 and is a civil rights attorney in Oakland. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Reading Roundup: Cal Clashes, Tragedy, Budget Cuts, Silk Road

Conservative Students on Political Hostility at Cal

Five UC Berkeley conservatives give firsthand accounts of clashes with others on campus, describing the tactics of those who oppose them to be “unnecessarily provocative.”

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