Floatopia. Oh yeah, baby, this is a hot-button issue. The debate — or rather the coverage — has raged back and forth with varying degrees of literacy; but it is clear that, for the most part, some kids were never meant to travel out of the shallow end of the mental pool. “C’est la vie” — but as the supposed “Drinking and Debauchery” columnist I thought that it might be appropriate for me to weigh in and show y’all the ol’ one-two, Gaucho style.
[media-credit name=”Chanel Miller ” align=”alignnone” width=”250″][/media-credit]So here it is — delivered as clear as Natty Light, and hopefully with about as much kick. The first point worth looking at is this: Despite the love that some might show for what is, theoretically at least, a most excellent idea, Floatopia and the Snowy Plover both have one thing in common — they’re endangered, or at least threatened, and without a conscientious conservation effort, will soon pass into extinction. The logic is this: although Floatopia has been a stalwart Isla Vista tradition, the county has only to play their waiting game to extinguish the righteous flame of annual beachside debauchery. If they continue to block the event by closing access to the beaches, it will take only a few generations of freshmen unexposed to its wonders for Floatopia to pass from living memory to legend and, finally, to the dusty corners of forgotten memory, like a beloved high school beau whose lingering charm fades after constant exposure to I.V.’s gorgeous pool of shiny, shiny snapper.
Moving slower — and only slightly less comically — than a freshman girl from the O.C. riding a bike on campus for the first time, we make our way to point number two. Despite the innocent student ideology that insists the power of the party can outlast the long arm of the county and their favorite boys in blue and tan, it’s clear that simply moving Floatopia to the streets will have little or no effect on the strategies of I.V.’s finest. The sad truth is that no matter how hard the good folk of our beloved beachside town commit to raging, and no matter how many Facebook events they create to lure their degenerate buddies into town from the far corners of the Bear Flag Republic, well, they have no chance of outsmarting the law. The cost of blocking the beaches is negligible, and despite “The Legend of Isla Vista,” a bro’s gotta sleep sometime.
I remember a day, in the not-so-distant past, when events were organized by word of mouth, and the Internet was only used for jacking it and making obscenely large amounts of money. Despite the snide remarks that typically make their way into columns of this type, my experience is that the UC Santa Barbara student community is incredibly politically active, and very skilled at public organization of all kinds. So why can’t we simply organize Floatopia into a publicly sanctioned event?
I’ve seen UCSB students accomplish amazing things, so I won’t pretend to know the answer. My guess is the people with the passion and the ability to organize events of this scope simply do not care about Floatopia. And why would they? I’m reasonably confident that some of the hardest-working among us are also the most dedicated partiers, but who wants to spend time to organize an event that’s going to bring every jackass, scumbag and party-chaser from Ventura, L.A. and the Inland Empire to our lovely community? Not me.
It’s also unclear, despite the county’s offer to green-light a properly planned event, whether our fearless leaders are genuinely open to compromise or just blowing smoke in an attempt to placate the residents of I.V.
The solution — as the diligently good fellows under the Storke’s Erection have tentatively pointed out — might be to regress to those good ol’ days of pre-ARPANET socialization and kick it old-school style. No matter how sharp the IVFP is, they’ll never be able to effectively predict and prevent a well-planned, orally organized, primarily local but non-county-approved Floatopia. They haven’t done it in the past, and I doubt they have the wherewithal to do it now.
And hey, if those socially deficient among us don’t get the memo ‘cause their world is defined by the ‘Book,’ I’m sure their company won’t be missed.
Briefly, let me address a similarly silly objection that’s been raised, before I move on to my final and most pertinent point. Let’s be clear — the beaches may be closed, but for those who view that soft stretch of sand and surf as an integral part of their lifestyle, no number of blockades or doughnut-enriched peace officers will prevent us from partaking in oceanic communion. The beaches could be closed indefinitely, but I know those who truly care will always be out there, no matter what. Shit, you’re not supposed to smoke pot on the street, but this homeboy always flares freely.
My word limit has been carelessly tossed aside, but before we can call this piece of writing complete, I’m going to take a few lines and speak from the bottom of my heart.
I love Isla Vista. I love the people, I love the culture, but most of all, I love the beach. Although my great-grandmother Lois Sidenberg was thwarted in her apocryphal attempt to charter a Cessna and aerially bomb the oil rigs off our coast during their construction, the same passionate love of nature runs in these veins. I also know, despite “The Legend of Isla Vista,” that this same passion also runs in the veins of many of my fellow students.
Finally, I couldn’t help but notice that the Facebook “Floatopia” invites lack even a line urging people to keep the beach clean and respect our most precious resource, and the gung-ho attitude of beachside partiers becomes consistently and embarrassingly quiet when it comes time to discuss prevention of litter and its more ugly forms of disrespect. For shame. The bottom line is this: I don’t care if you’re the Governor, the President or Jesus Christ himself — if you want to trash my beach, well, you can just go fuck yourself. And if people can’t party on our sands without keeping them clean, well then, fuck Floatopia.