REBUTTAL April 2001

Squelch management has agreed to open this space for students to respond to a paid advertisement published in our March edition. As with all non-editorial content, the Squelch Senior Editorial Board does not condone or condemn the sucky views expressed here.

Cal Students Represent

The House On War Street

“How long? How long must we sing this song?”

The long history of the Irish people is one of struggle, oppression, and more struggle. Struggles over land, struggles over religion, struggles over tanning. This struggle is not helped by the Squelch’s blatant mockery of our heart-breaking potato dependency with their ill-informed and insensitive Spud Brothers advertisement in the last issue.

The potato famine rocked Ireland from 1845-49. That didn’t just mean Ireland was out of vegetarian chili, or that there was a ten-minute wait for a pesto mozzarella spud. No, this meant people were starving.

Not that Spud Brothers is unique in creating an unwelcome environment at Berkeley. The Irish-American theme house is not now, and has not ever been truly representative of people of very little color. Too often, the Irish are a minority in their very own themed living environment. Protestants use the “theme” as an excuse to move in, bringing their repressive, anti-papist jankiness with them. Just try to have any sort of cultural experience in a place where the other residents are regularly forbidding the sale of indulgences, or nailing lists of chores to the doors.

To make matters worse, the house is located on Warring Street. Anyone who is familiar with history knows that this placement is a commentary on the long armed resistance against British imperialism waged by Irish freedom fighters for centuries.

But sometimes, as Bono says, “We’re beaten and blown by the wind, trampled in dust. I’ll show you a place high on a desert plain, where the streets have no name.”

UC Berkeley junior

Notes From the Underground

As a potato, I am deeply offended by the Heuristic Squelch and its implicit endorsement of the brutality of Spud Brothers. Every day at Berkeley, I look around and see signs of the campus community’s blatant disrespect for potatokind. Imagine if you will, how a potato must feel, eyeing the swarm of human faces on campus. Even in my Potato-American Studies class, I feel like a tater tot in a vast sea of sour cream. Still, the university bureaucracy does nothing to acknowledge the under-represented tubers on this campus, turning a blind eye to discrimination, from Nuggets and Fries at the GBC to offensive ads in ASUC-sponsored publications.

It is time for a change. Rather than suffer further mashing by the UC system, our vegetable recruitment and retention centers plan to discourage enrollment by all potatoes, yams, and other tubers. This may prove controversial, but until the Regents can show support for the marginalized potatoes of this campus, we have no choice. We may live underground, but we are sprouting, and we will strive. Re-peel the Ban!

UC Berkeley senior


The Squelch Responds

The Heuristic Squelch deeply regrets the ad run by Spud Brothers in our last (March 2001) issue. Normally the Squelch would not run material of such a controversial and incendiary nature. Unfortunately, a rare editorial oversight allowed this ad to run. Selling ads is the responsibility of the Squelch’s managing editor or business/advertising representative. However, actively screening content is a job done by small caged animals while editors write MASH notes and giggle like schoolgirls. As the potato controversy has proven, this ad screening process is slightly inadequate.

Some may argue that Spud Brothers has the right to run the ad under the protection of free speech. However we must reiterate that advertisements are paid for and therefore not free. Also, speech is no longer protected once a sufficient number of people disagree with it. The Squelch has already received more angry reader complaints regarding this ad than any other subject this year. The marginal coherence of many of these complaints, combined with mobs of angry villagers equipped with torches, pitchforks, and battering rams, made us glad we made our offices in a dark hilltop castle, and gladder still for all our live furniture made from cursed former servants.

Once strapped to burning posts atop a mountain of flaming Spud-tainted issues of the Heuristic Squelch, we quickly understood the need for not only quiet regrets, but open, tearful, frantically shouted, pleading apologies.

Again, the Squelch formally apologizes to the campus and the community. The fact that this ad ran in March, just before St. Patrick’s Day, is an especially sad reflection on the failure of the campus to provide a place where everyone, regardless of luck, can feel welcome. In addition, we would like to restate our commitment to sensitivity, and hereby assure our readers that such an ad will never, never, ever, not in a million years, ever, run again.