I was walking to a class I have in Dwinelle today. Coming through North Gate, as I live only one block above the top edge of campus, I usually walk by Memorial Glade, by Moffitt Library and then right next to California and Durant Halls.

Scribbled in white chalk, in 2 inch letters on the side of Durant Hall is a message that has been there for well over a year, appearing within a few days after 9/11: “The war on terrorism begins with the War on Imperialism.”

I must’ve walked by this irritating bit of non-thought about three hundred times now since I first saw it and thought to myself, “Typical.”

As a side note, it’s a telling testimonial to how much 4 years at Berkeley can give you a sort of desensitization to idiocy. It’s not that it bothered me yet I was still able to hold my anger in check. It’s that I wasn’t even annoyed. Whatever levels there were that registered the amount of offensive ignorance therein were purely cerebral .V., and to top it off, a generous intramuscular shot of pure, relaxing chill. If that didn’t do the trick, perhaps some sort of Norplant-like device could be devised, that steadily releases chill into one’s system for a period of a few years. Because frankly, what do they have to be made uncomfortable about? If they can’t recognize that it’s a perfectly natural harmless act, in no way suggesting some kind of xenophobic hostility, to display an American flag after America has suffered the worst violent loss of life on its home soil in this century, then they can get stuffed. The really ironic thing is I’m pretty certain that about 99% of them did realize this, while the troglodytes on the city council didn’t.

Yet still, in the face of recognizing all this, I believe I just shrugged and thought, “Uh-huh. Next?” If Bill Bennet had been there, he’d’ve probably smacked me upside the head and demanded, “Where’s the outrage?”

Sorry Bill, I’d tell him, but outrage is an expensive emotion, and when you’re swimming in a sea of high-octane indignation fuel, you have to pick your moments to open your mouth or the fumes will go your head.

Or maybe I’d just fess up and say, yeah, you’re right, but I’m tired, consarnit . Outrage can be a justifiably pleasing, cathartic experience when called up in the right doses and for the right reasons, but can you imagine catharting all over the place the live-long day? You’d either become exhausted (I’m lazy eoough as it is) or extremely bitter (and I’m already that… there’s nowhere left to go). So I acclimate myself to my surroundings. It doesn’t mean I condone or don’t recognize the wrongheadedness or ignorance or simple vehement anti-Americanism in the things that I see with depressing regularity, just that these particular windmills are going to have to do without my tilting for the time being. At least until I get my flame thrower. (Are you listening, Santa?)

Wasn’t I supposed to be going somewhere positive with this?

Oh, right .

So as I’m walking past that delightful scribbling on Durant Hall speaking out for the oppressed of the world, another student passed by, glanced at it, and visibly scoffed.

Not an earth-shattering moment, to be sure, but you learn to take what you can get around here. I have no idea what this guy thinks about almost everything under the sun, but I know that he recognizes stupidity at least of this particular stripe when he sees it. So that’s my positive moment for the day. Take it for what it’s worth.

last update : 23-5-2018

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