As my four years here at college draw to a close and I prepare to enter the rarified world of UCSB alumni, I can’t help but wonder about my legacy after I leave. How will I compare against other Gauchos in the real world? UCSB has bred a large variety of successful people, running the spectrum from actors and musicians to astronauts and congressmen. Let’s see how our more famous graduates have made their names.
Jack Johnson class of ’97 – we’ll start with the obvious. One of our most famous alumni, singer-songwriter Jack Johnson is known for his music and surfing videos. Everyone here should know his shout-out to UCSB in the song “Bubble Toes”: Well I was eating lunch at the DLG/It tastes like they shit on a plate and served it to me (I paraphrase).
Jim Rome ’86 – Jim Rome got his start here as a traffic reporter for a local radio station and as a UCSB sports reporter, and now hosts his own sports talk show on ESPN, Jim Rome Is Burning” and this time it’s not Chlamydia. He once got his ass beat on TV by quarterback Jim Everett.
Gwyneth Paltrow -An actress and the daughter of a TV producer, Paltrow attended UCSB for a quarter before dropping out to pursue acting. You might remember that years ago, Paltrow was engaged to Brad Pitt. This means that Brad Pitt and I have two things in common: We have both slept with someone who went to UCSB, and we have both impregnated Angelina Jolie.
Benjamin Bratt ’86 – Most famous for his role on Law & Order”, Bratt has more recently starred on the silver screen. Let’s play Six Degrees From UCSB: A few years back, Bratt was romantically linked to Julia Roberts, who was the star in “Erin Brockovich,” which was based on a water-contamination lawsuit brought by the firm of Masry & Vititoe – a firm founded by fellow UCSB alumni Edward L. Masry. Coincidence? I think not.
Robert Ballard ’65 – One of our more renowned graduates, Ballard is most famous for discovering the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. While studying here, Ballard was inspired by the hundreds of commercials he saw daily advertising metal detectors, and decided his life’s work would be spent searching the seafloor for defective ships. When asked in a recent interview how he was able to locate so many famous shipwrecks, Ballard replied, “It’s nothing – Alex finds more than I do!” If you think about it, one could also say that Ballard is indirectly responsible for millions of people seeing Kate Winslet topless.
Joseph Wilson, IV ’72 – Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 through 1998, and was later an ambassador who helped outline African foreign policy under Clinton. Not bad for a guy who once joked that while at school here, he majored in “history, volleyball and surfing,” with a minor in womanizing and smoking pot. Wilson might be more famously known recently as the author of a New York Times editorial that led to the outing of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA spy. For those of you who follow politics and did not know he went here, this is most likely very interesting to you. For those of you who have no idea who Valerie Plame is, just know that the CIA actually does hire attractive blonde women to spy for them.
Michael Douglas ’68 – Another big name to graduate from here, Douglas is famous for his many movies, and has won two Oscars – one when he produced the Best Picture winning “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and another for Best Actor in “Wall Street.” Again, I have two things in common with Douglas: We both attended UCSB, and we both have impregnated Catherine Zeta-Jones.
There’s not nearly enough space to mention every Gaucho who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make his name in this crowded world – the fact that this particular list is dominated by easily recognized names should not be considered a slight to all the others who have achieved great things. There are also congresswomen, CEOs, astronauts, Olympians and dozens of others who have blazed trails and proved to the world that Freebirds really is brain food.
David Fuad is a senior law and society and psychology major.