Editor’s Note: This article appeared as part of our April’s Fools issue.
Has Isla Vista’s notoriously rowdy and raucous drink-drenched choo-choo train of boozy bedlam derailed, taking with it the infamous and intoxicating cow-catcher that pushed naked people dancing onto the rooftops of this seaside den of collegiate excess?
On Wednesday, local leaders banded together to announce that, swayed by repeated News-Piss editorials, the remaining citizens of the seaside hamlet have signed a formal pledge swearing off alcoholic beverages. Helping the town onto the wagon is the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, which gave all Santa Barbara City College students until sundown to clear out.
“We have, well, I guess the way I want to say this is: We have put up with this kind of stuff for too long, and for everybody to be safe you have to leave,” IVFP Lt. Mackerel McGinnes said. “Back when I was first on the force, a rookie, we had this elephant – it had run away from a zoo – wandering around town. It, well, I guess it was a she, was wandering and somehow got a hold of beer. Well, you can see where this is going. We had to shoot it, but then I, well, we, had trouble moving it, and it was in the street for awhile. All these kids came along and kept kicking it and poking it and picking at it. So we said, ‘Stop.’ This is like that, you see; stop.”
Under the conditions of the pledge, no Isla Vistan will consume liquor, beer or wine at any place or time except the Fiesta celebration downtown.
Dink Scottov, 21, a member of UCSB’s student government, said it was about time for a change.
“Drinking in a college town, as we’ve learned, is irresponsible behavior that can only lead to a raunchy party scene and death,” Mr. Scottov said. “Fiesta, however, is an important cultural event where you just can’t help but meet mature, responsible News-Piss staffers and soak up the liquid fun poured by respectable vendors who advertise in the News-Piss.”
Mr. Scottov also cited the 656 arrests at last year’s celebration, including 24 felonies and 27 DUIs, as proof that I.V.’s out-of-control party Halloween scene is “totally over,” with only 272 arrests in 2003.
University officials are cautiously optimistic and say an alcohol-free Isla Vista would represent a positive step forward for UCSB’s academic environment by making the town less frightening to professors who live in Goleta.
But are the wild days truly over for the scum-encrusted pit of dread?
Some say times are worse than ever.
The darkness of Wednesday night disclosed a young woman tottering down Sabado Tarde Road with a bottle in her hand, her stomach bulging grotesquely. Onlookers heard the woman, whom police would later identify as 19-year-old Corky Pirthbright, shout, “Dry? I ain’t never been so hydrated in my life!” before she stumbled and fell. The cause of death? Hyponatremia – water poisoning.
Sabado Tarde is the very same street where, in 2001, David Attias hit five people with his car, killing four of them. Sabado Tarde, in turn, is a mere block away from the Pacific Ocean, where, in 1944, thousands of sailors went to their watery graves during the battle of Leyte Gulf. Ominously, that is the same Pacific Ocean on the planet Earth – the planet into which an asteroid crashed 65 million years ago and killed between 70 and 90 percent of species then living.
Other “dry” I.V. revelers lulled themselves asleep with sandwiches and juice on the edges of the mayhem, only to plummet from the precarious precipices of I.V.’s cliffs, witnesses said but police could not confirm.
In the streets, other young people scorned water and moved onto something “edgier.” Waving yellow cups and anthologies, the coffee-crazed hurdled down the streets, stopping every five minutes to urinate and savagely deconstruct 18th-century romantic literature.
Patrick Old, UCSB’s vice chancellor for student affairs, vowed to crack down with outreach programs and warm milk distribution.
“We believe, of course, that our students are responsible adults,” Mr. Old said. “It’s just that we are very concerned about those of them who have been very bad boys and girls indeed.”
However, Mr. Old refused to say whether the university would take responsibility for what some would say is a culture of caffeine induced by books and the school’s constant demands that they be read. He was also unsure if UCSB would take what observers have said is the necessary measures of implanting monitoring devices into students and irradiating Isla Vista.
“We’re looking at these things very carefully and one at a time,” Mr. Old said.