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August 03, 2009

That Oozing Sense of Entitlement Again

Just when you begin to think the world has gone stark raving bonkers, along comes a perfectly rational explanation:

When most people consider the hoity-toity, palm-treed paradise of Stanford, naked bread-baking and organic gardening don’t exactly come to mind. After two years of suffocating dorm life, I relinquished the luxuries of sanity and meat to live in Synergy, the Stanford commune famous for midnight flour fights and for making all of its food from local, sustainable scratch — sometimes in the nude. The self-proclaimed “mother of alternative lifestyles,” this on-campus house of some 60 upperclassmen was created in the ’70s for students interested in grass-roots environmentalism.

My initiation had come at Beltane, the pagan fertility festival held every spring on the lawn, complete with a 30-foot wooden maypole and musical performances. How the ancient practice of Celtic druids driving their cattle through fire morphed into “sacrificing” Stanford’s naked virgins still baffles me. The ceremony began with a crowd of more than 100, roughly half of whom were naked, throwing beet juice at one another and frolicking in circles around three virgins (self-elected, unverified, any gender), whom they tightly crisscrossed in ribbons around the maypole. The virgins then broke through the ribbons and ran free, symbolizing their liberating deflowering.

Too insecure and cold to part with my underwear, I enthusiastically distributed body paint and rainbow-colored condoms. Hours later, a purply gang of 15 or so paraded upstairs and crammed themselves into two showers, leaving behind a pink, nutritious trail.

“Is there any soap?”

“We don’t need soap! We have each ­other!”

And to think we once believed that "Yes, Yes We Can" was the definitive rebuttal to the stale politics of cynicism. Lest the assembled villainry accuse us of prevarification, the Editorial Staff swear to God that we are not making this up. On the contrary, there's more of this madness:

... of all the bizarreness I’ve ever witnessed, none has come to parallel the morning I walked downstairs to the kitchen and discovered a housemate leaning down to the counter and carefully cooing and negotiating with a thick, neat line of ants. He was expressing his beautiful human need to not want to accidentally eat them with his vegan cheese.

This was the culmination of 30-plus e-mail messages debating whether it was ethical to kill the ants overtaking our kitchen. The issue was brought to consensus, and we agreed to explore non-life-ending solutions, since death by pesticide was fist-blocked by a small contingent. Clearly, the only answer was to connect with the ants on a karmic level and express our utmost respect for them in whispered song.

Call me a conservative Neanderthal but if either of my progeny had spouted this kind of cretinous blather he'd quickly have found himself on the receiving end of my beautiful and natural need to plant my foot squarely upon his ass.

Posted by Cassandra at August 3, 2009 08:07 AM

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Hippies... ya know I hate em.

Posted by: MikeD at August 3, 2009 09:36 AM

The wonderful thing about being young is that you know absolutely everything. Conversely, the older you get, the less you know. It seems that the more degrees I get, the dumber I get. The funny part is, the more I learn, the more I realize just how little I know. Not dumb, but more ignorant than some, and less ignorant than others. I guess that is what you might call mediocrity. Oh, well.

Posted by: RIslander at August 3, 2009 09:40 AM

Good timing. Some of our Congressmen and women are attempting to divert our attention from Health Care to the horrors of art grants supporting barely disguised perversions birthed in the drug-addled minds of the perpetually self-obsessed and self-absorbed.

Their Karma is the horror of living in their own natural state and watching their flag state, California, go down the budget tubes. Now that is karma you can believe in.

Posted by: vet66 at August 3, 2009 10:27 AM

True karma would have been an invasion of the kitchen by fire ants...

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2009 12:51 PM

Not only that, I would torch the institution that taught such 'respect' and negotiating tactics.

Cayenne pepper. Boric acid. Non-toxic, disperses ant life back to Gaia after robbing them of their waxy coating and they dehydrate.

*sheds a crystalline tear*

Posted by: Cricket at August 3, 2009 03:21 PM

I forgot to add: 'it is a circle of life kind of thing.' Jeremy Irons as Scar in 'The Lion King.'

You seem to post topics that I am struggling with. My current class is 'Dependence of Man on the Environment.' I have a lab as well as a four page paper due every week.

We are to become one with Carl Sagan's 'Baloney Test'.

I regret my desire to off the Accounting Tome. This is worse. Much worse.

Posted by: Cricket at August 3, 2009 03:24 PM

My current class is 'Dependence of Man on the Environment.' I have a lab...

Oooooh -- an experiment! See how long your instructor can survive in an eco-friendly environment composed of pure oxygen, 100% post-consumer paper products, and a lit match...

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2009 04:05 PM

It gets worse... she is from Hollister, CA, in neighboring San Benito County, which is right next door to my late lamented Monterey County.

But I like the idea...


Posted by: Cricket at August 3, 2009 07:07 PM

BillT has the right idea. She would only be injured if she were a witch.

Anyone know what we do with witches?

Check out Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the answer.

Posted by: John D at August 3, 2009 10:40 PM

If your sense of entitlement is oozing, it sounds like a personal problem to me.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 3, 2009 10:47 PM

I remember when Stanford was an excellent school. My father worked his way through their medical school in the late 20's/early 30's. It's disheartening to witness the decline and fall of practically everything I grew up with that was really good. What-the-hell.

Posted by: Pixelkiller at August 3, 2009 11:23 PM

Are you occasionally troubled by an oozing sense of entitlement?

We have a solution. Whether you need to spend your parents' retirement funds as quickly as possible or just want to avoid the hassle and inconvenience of living in the real world, Maximum Strength Reality Repellent is a must-have for the modern trust fund baby. Delivering the most security you can get without the effort and worry of actually [shudder] working, Reality Repellent makes unpleasant thoughts (like the idea that perhaps money really *doesn't* grow on trees) disappear like magic!!!

So send your parents out for some Maximum Strength Reality Repellent today! And tell them to make it snappy.

You don't have all day, you know.

Posted by: Obama's Reality Czar at August 3, 2009 11:23 PM

I'm sorry, but "interested in grass-roots environmentalism" and living in a *house* (I assume built of materials raped from Mother Gaia), in Stanford, while using electricity and such to "make their food from scratch" and from "local" (oh, yeah, I bet that wheat in the bread was grown right down the block) ingredients just don't jibe for me.
Of course, I was more or less present at the birth of such idiocy in the 60s, when rich kids were paying big bucks (for then) to get pre-worn jeans as shabby as the ones I was wearing because it was all I could afford while going to school (despite working as a baker at night.)
I hope they don't reproduce.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at August 4, 2009 01:19 AM

Ummm..."naked bread-baking"? Damn if that doesn't sound like a yeast infection waiting to happen.

I know: EWWW!!! I guess I'm just a bit too literal-minded sometimes...

Posted by: camojack at August 4, 2009 01:28 AM

The only good hippie is a dead hippie.

Posted by: JB at August 4, 2009 01:34 AM

In order to "make their food from scratch" -- legitimately -- they need to *scratch* out a garden, plant the seeds, water them well, then wait for harvest time. Which can be as soon as two weeks (if they want to subsist on radishes) or as long as 90-120 days for corn or wheat.

I vote they do it that way. Within a month, they will have either come to terms with reality (on reality's terms) or have re-entered the karmic food chain at slightly-below ground level...

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 01:45 AM

I solved the ants-invading-my-kitchen problem in a way that mother earth would approve of. I simply decided to leave the Daddy Longlegs which inhabit the corners of my apartment alone. They aren't too stupid, they parked themselves along the ant ingress routes. I just had to clean up the little bits of ants they left behind. After a week or two, no more ant problem.. and the spiders went back to lurking in the corners.

Posted by: Nicholas at August 4, 2009 02:39 AM

I simply decided to leave the Daddy Longlegs which inhabit the corners of my apartment alone.

Aaaaack! An enabler of Teh Arthropod Patriarchy!

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 03:36 AM

I wouldn't have been too surprised to hear of this kind of idiocy at Berkeley, but I'm quite disappointed that it goes on at Stanford.

Incidentally, I highly recommend "Grant's Ant Traps", (which are actually bait). Anytime I've found ants in my kitchen, i put a grant's ant trap out, they swarm all over it for about a day, and then I don't see the goddamned things again for eight months to a year. Better still, I don't even have to vacuum up the dead ants. They carry the bait back to their nest before they croak.


Posted by: John C. Randolph at August 4, 2009 05:17 AM

I have an Exterior Ant Guard consisting of a 60-pound female Australian shepherd, who is firmly convinced she's an aardvark...

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 05:28 AM

Strange students of indeterminate orientation serenading insects is no way clean a kitchen.

(another Holy Grail reference)

Posted by: miles at August 4, 2009 07:28 AM

(another Holy Grail reference)

That's a dangerous thing to do here :)

BillT, you asked for it.

Posted by: Some Watery Tart at August 4, 2009 08:09 AM

Goody -- I'm feeling better.

(Stella Nother Holy Grail reference)

Speaking of watery tarts -- the AC in Fire Pixie's office crapped out...

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 08:23 AM

Reminds me of a girl I used to work with at Cornell. She lived in a commune that didn't have running water. It showed.

Posted by: Fausta at August 4, 2009 08:49 AM

Knew she was arriving for work five minutes before she actually got there, eh?

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 08:59 AM

What's red & orange and looks good on hippies?


Posted by: A fine scotch at August 4, 2009 09:03 AM

What's red & orange and looks good on hippies?

Velvet ants.

*watching all the present (and former) Arizona residents hopping up to examine the floor*

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 09:50 AM

Only the useless, wealthy and indolent can live like for long.

Posted by: Spartee at August 4, 2009 09:53 AM

I simply decided to leave the Daddy Longlegs which inhabit the corners of my apartment alone.

Spoken like an intolerant, knuckle dragging, Gaia raping, snake handling ignorant Jeebus phreak. Truly enlightened souls realize that violence never solves anything.

You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul.... at August 4, 2009 10:10 AM

I've said it before: There is nothing more dangerous than bored, middle class youth.

Posted by: Eric Blair at August 4, 2009 10:27 AM

"There is nothing more dangerous than bored, middle class youth."
Yup. Many teenagers go through a Darwin Awards contestant and/or rebellious phase. Surviving only as a result of the care, feeding and protection afforded them by the people and institutions they mock. Most of em grow out of it and morph into reasonable and industrious people.

The real problem is the percentage of those individuals who never outgrow the dumbarse. The stoners/hippies from the 60's & 70's who fall into the MeMeMe, Peter Pan on drugs category give the entire generation a bad name. The latter day adherents to the cause are even more ridiculous. Learn from the mistakes of your predecessors already!

Ah well. It benefits society for that percentage to remain sequestered in their own little Walden Two too. Out of sight, and down wind. Now if they would only speak when spoken to.

Posted by: bthun at August 4, 2009 10:35 AM

The problem is that they mate--and produce more of the same. The good news is they are likely to buy the environmental spiel that bringing one more child into the world will create a carbon footprint so "huge" that they can never create enough carbon offsets to make up for it. Two naked vegan ant lovers will create only one proto hippie. Gonna take generations to clean up the mess.

Posted by: Mike Myers at August 4, 2009 12:41 PM

I just had this awful vision of a hippie proto mess.

It was ugly...

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2009 01:50 PM

I was never that far gone. I swear it.

Posted by: April at August 4, 2009 03:43 PM

This post brings two songs to mind. The first :
Capitalism by Oingo Boingo. You're just a middle class socialist brat.

The second:
Slaughterama by Gwar, with the classic line:
"How do you hide money from a hippie? Put it under the SOAP!"

Posted by: Kat at August 4, 2009 05:21 PM


Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2009 05:23 PM

It is an awesome responsibility to be perfect.

Posted by: I Call BS at August 4, 2009 10:58 PM

Hey, Bill, did you name your Australian shepherd "Cerebus?"


Posted by: Casey at August 5, 2009 12:37 AM

Nup, "Cerebus" is Boq's dog -- or what he'd name his if he didn't have cats.

The fearsome, frenzied, furry feaster on formicans is named "Gaby" (pronounced "Gabby" -- don't ask)...


Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2009 12:58 AM