May 11, 2004

what are you doing there, anyway?

Can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before, an excellent essay by Michael Chabon on Berkeley.

The result, perhaps inevitable, of this paralysis of good intentions, this ongoing, floating opera of public disapproval and the coming into conflict of competing visions of the path to personal bliss, is a populace inclined to kvetching and to the wearing of the default Berkeley facial expression, the suspicious frown. Bliss is, after all, so near at hand; the perfect egg, a good night’s sleep, reconciliation with one’s mother or the Palestinians, a theory to account for the surprising lack of dark matter in the universe, a radio station that does not merely parrot the lies of government flaks and corporate media outlets—such things can often feel so eminently possible here, given the intelligence and the passion of the citizens. And yet they continue to elude us. Who is responsible? Is it us? Is it you? What are you doing, there, anyway? Don’t you know the recycling truck won’t take aluminum foil?