yoo maskAdd trash-talking our city to the reasons Berkeley residents don’t like Boalt Hall School of Law professor John Yoo. In fact, it’s possible the man whose background includes drafting the Bush-era “torture memos” has managed to do something even more scandalous. And this time it’s personal.

In a recent interview with the LA Times, he calls Berkeley “a natural history museum of the 1960s.” He adds: “It’s like looking at the panoramic displays of troglodytes sitting around the campfire with their clubs. Here, it’s tie-dye and marijuana. It’s just like the 1960s, with the Vietnam War still to protest.” Yes, he did just compare us to neanderthals.

We could provide some sort of sarcastic commentary here, but we think the LA Times article did that pretty well for us: “‘I think of myself as being West Berlin during the Cold War, a shining beacon of capitalism and democracy surrounded by a sea of Marxism,’ Yoo observes, sipping iced tea in the faculty club lounge, a wan smile registering the discomfort of colleagues walking by en route to the bar.”

The thought may have occurred to you: if Yoo is so disliked on campus, how come his seminar continues to fill up each semester? His explanation:  ”Maybe [students] have the idea that it would be interesting to see what a conservative professor is like. Then they can always say, ‘I’ve met a conservative.’ They can tell their family and friends.” It’s just like show and tell!

But despite all the Berkeley-bashing,  Yoo concludes: “But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it here.” In fact, Yoo lives in Berkeley, and his wife’s not letting him leave the museum.

Image Source: Steve Rhodes under Creative Commons
In Berkeley, Yoo feels at home as a stranger in a strange land [LA Times] via Berkeleyside

rebecca said:
Mar 31, 2010 at 2:59 pm

What is it they say? This is America, love it or leave it! and guess what, we in Berkeley are America. Perhaps if Mr. Yoo stepped out of his ivory tower and spent some time among his fellow American Berkeley folk over the age of 20 he might learn something about our community. Not that the Cal students are anything to sneeze at– I’d be honored to have my sons attend.

JohnYoo said:
Apr 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Good work Ruby. Are you busy Friday night?

John said:
May 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

There may be a bit of truth behind every stereotype. That is why they resonate and offend. Just a thought.

As I write this some folks are banging on drums outside of California Hall. It seems they are protesting.. well, everything. The Arizona law… the tuition raises… the pay cuts… the recession in general. Admirable stupidity.

We need voices of disagreement and critique. Otherwise this place is no different from the intolerance I left in the southeast.