Sunday, September 28, 2003

Everything is different down here. Not that the world is any colder than I'm used to, or that the trees are any less sporadic, or that the water is any less cold. But everything is so different. I'm now in Santa Barbara, the northernmost recognizable part of SoCal. Climatewise, the world is utterly the same. Everything else wise, the world is entirely different. Berkeley and San Francisco sure have plenty denizens of the underworld; bondage freaks, tweakers, stoners, pornographers, dealers, strippers, "dancers", weapons traffickers, goths, punks, etc. etc. But I'm used to those people. I'm used to living in a diverse atmosphere with these people surrounding me (usually more of the stoner, goth, bondage freak, and punk varieties). I am not used to this party life. I am not used to Friday and Saturday nights out on De La Playa Drive, in the oldest, cheapest, most delapidated part of Isla Vista, where hundreds of half-drunk trash-moths are drawn immediately to the glimmering flames of endless kegs of cheap beer. The underworld here, as I suppose you could call it, is mostly the surface world of drunken college students (only a quarter of which attend UCSB, the rest are from the City College or are townies, relishing in the cheap, drunken atmosphere of beach-front Isla Vista). I'm lost. I don't know what to do. The academic reputation of the University is on the rise, the party scene on the decline (as I said, the parties are SBCC/Townie parties).
Yet the one party I go to (just to hear the punk band SYDS play) turns out to be prey for what the University calls "predatory pornography companies." Namely, I'm there with my roommates, one of whom knows the owner of the house from work, the other of whom is having a much worse, much more uncomfortable time at this party than I am (she's from Tahoe, they have snow there). Suddenly, as Jen and I are trying to start a small mosh pit with some drunk freshmen from a completely different Res Hall, a man with a camera strolls in, surveying shots of the party, of the band, of our little shitty moshpit. He takes over the microphone from the singer, "We're giving out free shirts. If any of you ladies want one, you need to take off the one you've got on." We just let it slide. We leave, eventually, and think nothing of it. Until later in the week, we see successive newspaper articles discussing the presence of that cameraman at this DP party . . . we could be spliced into a porno as part of a crowd shot. Fuck. (This is unlikely. Punk bands don't do much to get that "real college fucking" feel going.) I am not pleased. I have a sort of respect for real pornography. None of this Girls Gone Wild shit with nonconsensual pornographic traps.
Oh, and I got hit on by a creepy grad student who eats in our dining commons. Great.

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