Perspectives

Berkeley Flashback: Chuck Berry—What a Jerk

Chuck Berry is dead at age 90. He is considered one of the founders of rock ‘n’ roll, but Beatle John Lennon thought he was unrivaled, once saying, “If you had to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you’d call it Chuck Berry.” Unlike Elvis, Chuck Berry actually wrote all of his own songs. Elvis was a good performer, but Berry wrote songs that captured the teenage experience which was the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll.

Editor’s Note

After the first of January, the real holiday season for canines starts—that week when discarded Christmas trees are laid next to compost bins, and all the neighborhood dogs take turns anointing them in their own special way.

From the Spring 2017 Virtue and Vice issue of California.

WATCH: Documenting Standing Rock

The deadline on Wednesday for activists protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to leave their encampment on the banks of the Missouri river follows months of contentiousness. Journalists covering the Standing Rock resistance—which at one point drew around 14,000 people—have faced myriad challenges.

Uncovered California: ACA Repeal’s Full Cost

No state did Obamacare quite like California.

Here, we built our own state-insurance market. Here, we got a jumpstart on shifting low-income residents onto Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program) as early as 2010. Here, insurance policies were standardized, consumer protections were tightened, and multi-lingual, statewide PR campaigns were kicked into overdrive. While other, redder states dragged their institutional heels, California took to the Affordable Care Act with gusto.

Non-Marching Orders: Newspaper Bars Employees from Women’s March

Over the course of the 2016 election, media companies wrestled with increasingly knotty ethical challenges—how to avoid false equivalencies in reporting, what to call a blatant lie, and how to respond professionally (impartially?) to a candidate who routinely called journalists “liars” and “scum”.

Milo’s Wild Ride, Now Featuring Campus Tour and Book Deal

If Donald Trump has his Boswell, it could well be Milo Yiannopoulos. The proudly gay Brit-born scribe has disrupted expectations on what it means to be a far-right provocateur, styling fabulous fashions and a smashing haircut even as he excoriates feminism, multiculturalism, environmentalism, and globalism—pretty much any ism that isn’t nativism. He is a champion of President-Elect Trump—whom he has been known to call daddy—and if he isn’t a white supremacist, he has undeniably given white supremacists a platform.

Warehouse Fire Illuminates Holes in Public Safety Net

The pain hasn’t subsided. For many people, it never will. Some traumas are simply too great to overcome, and there can be no true healing—only a bleak and comfortless accommodation.

The Struggle Continues: Checking in With Revolution Books

Many Americans are fired up in a bad way about Trump getting elected, and the Revolutionary Communist Party, aka RevCom, founded in 1975 by UC Berkeley grad and party chairman Bob Avakian, are particularly vocal about it. A stroll by Revolution Books, in the alleyway just west of Telegraph, between Durant Avenue and Channing Way, will tell you as much. Outside the store sits a signboard with a large poster of Trump in a KKK cap, complete with Hitler-stache—an image made all the more sinister by the gloom of the dark, rainy skies that have been drowning the Bay in the wake of the election.

Do Dems Have a Pelosi Problem?

It’s no secret that things started going sideways for the Democratic Party long before November 8. In 2009, the Democrats had a lock on both federal legislatures, with 257 seats in the House of Representatives and 57 in the Senate. Following the 2016 election, those numbers had plummeted to 194 House members and 48 senators. 

Vietnam Stories: Writing the “Disremembered” Histories of War

When telling a story, and it doesn’t matter if that story is long or short, fiction or nonfiction, the marginalized writer must be defiant.

So says writer Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Defiant is not the first descriptor that comes to mind for this particular writer, a Vietnamese refugee and UC Berkeley alumnus, who in fall 2016 wore a royal blue suit, purple tie, and orange socks at the Pulitzer awards banquet in Manhattan to accept the Fiction award for his debut novel, The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2015). Flamboyant, maybe. Defiant, no.

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Mind Tricks: Bishop Berkeley and the Idea of Everything

Lately, I’ve been spending time at Founders’ Rock trying and mostly failing to get a grasp on reality.

Founders’ Rock is an outcropping at the northeast corner of the UC Berkeley campus, where Gayley Road and Hearst Avenue meet, a lonely spot shaded by toyon, oak, and eucalyptus. The rock itself—lichen-encrusted and moss-fringed—is an unassuming jumble.

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Editor’s Note

Every weekday, the dog and I head up a very steep hill for a compulsory early morning walk, an essential daily ritual for wearing out a highly energetic adolescent canine and fending off decrepitude in his older human companion.

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Stronger Together? A Blueprint for a Blue State Alliance

Few pollsters on either side of the political aisle really expected a Trump win on November 8th. And while pundits and prognosticators were somewhat less certain about the outcome of state races, many were surprised—or shocked—that Republicans held on to the Senate and the House and improved their standing in state governments. Republicans now claim governorships in 34 states, up from 31.

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