I woke up this morning and realized I really ought to be on drugs.
See, there’s this word “still” and it’s one of those words that has multiple but eerily complementary definitions. It means “nevertheless.” It means “tranquil” or “stationary.” It means “an apparatus used for distilling alcoholic liquors.” All of these are applicable to Isla Vista and UCSB.
This college and its corresponding college town swim in a sea of nevertheless-type stills. Come what may in fashion, ideology, course catalogs or Arts & Lectures program selection, this environment is still many things.
It’s still easy to find liquor in this town. It’s still easy to use that liquor you’ve found to justify all sorts of behaviors that would otherwise get you punched in the face. In fact, it’s still easy to use that liquor to justify punching people in the face. It’s still easy to drink until you don’t mind getting punched in the face.
It’s still easier to get by if you’re a rich blonde girl with big boobs. It’s still easier to get by if you’re a self-centered, rich surfer boy who’s too stupid to understand that actions have consequences and that spontaneously putting your hands on the boobs mentioned above is a) rude, b) illegal and c) completely and totally evil.
It’s still frustrating to try and change anything. It’s still funnier to make fun of the people who are futilely trying to change things than it is to curl up in a corner and feel depressed and overwhelmed over the sheer volume of fucked-up-edness out there. It’s still more satisfying to make up words like “fucked-up-edness” than use actual academic English.
It’s still impossible to find a good guy. Or girl. Or Gail. See, Lady Marshall actually had some vague sort of moral high ground, being the victim of a cynically and transparent political ploy by North County conservatives to kick her out of office. And she blew it – anyone seen this condescending insult called the Isla Vista Free Press? Although etymologically correct – it’s free in that we’re not obliged to pay for it – it’s covered with the terms “On the Real … Givin’ It Straight Up”. Oh well, gee, Gail, if you’re that down with the homies, I guess we gots ta give you yo props, word.
Never mind the cartoon on the back portraying G-Marsh as a put-upon saint. Suffice it to say Gail Marshall is still a career politician who regards her biggest constituency as overeducated Beavises and Buttheads. Heh-heh, development sucks, heh-heh.
And talking about development, Ron Wolfe still steals candy from babies, but then again, who can blame him? I mean, everybody likes candy, right? And technically, he’s stealing candy from babies’ parents.
The pen continues to be mightier than the sword but only because nobody’s come down to the Nexus offices with a katana and started slaughtering us. Nor should they, at least not on Wednesday night when Artsweek does its layout.
The impoverished still gather at Sam’s To Go every weekend. I say impoverished because they can’t afford shirts, any of them. Tragic, really.
Still this, still that, still other things. It really is a form of tranquility when totally new people can be relied on to behave in exactly the same ways, be duped in exactly the same ways and disappear in exactly the same ways. That’s why I really ought to be on drugs. At least that way, these still people and these still things will be swirling around me in unpredictable ways.
But then, I bet people like me have been thinking like that for quite a while.
Alex Benowitz-Fredericks is the Daily Nexus Artsweek editor.