Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

23 Mar 2001, 4:34 a.m.

So I didn't do the socially conscious thing.

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

No "Vagina Monologues" for me: I went to the DeCadence concert last night, and boy was it fun! I got to hear "Pop Nightmare" and "Super Mario Brothers," but what's more, I got to hear their rendition of the "All Your Base" song.

My musings on the implications, below.

In-jokes: I only learned about the All Your Base fad a few weeks ago, through a Techspolitation column by Annalee Newitz (somewhat affiliated with UC Berkeley) in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. But it strikes me as funny, and I felt no qualms about laughing at the skit and song last night.

But I have that same old hypocritical attitude about exclusivity, and in-jokes: I love it when I get it, and I hate it when I feel like an outsider. Just as others do.

But last night, there were lots of laughs -- not many people DIDN'T get the joke, I think. Just today I opened the latest SmartAss, the newspaper of the Cal Berkeley Democrats [sic]. (Do they have a Redundancy Minister of Redundancy?) Back page ad: Black background. CATS figure on top, Nader pic on the bottom. In the middle: "All Your Voter Base Are Belong To Us."

How exclusive is this? It's mainstream, I think. Never going to be on "Friends," but maybe Conan O'Brien will mention it, or has. Heck, Jay Leno has probably already used it in a monologue, it's so mainstream. Time magazine did an article on it.

And the in-crowd disappears. The in-crowd can't survive without an out-crowd, can't survive if everyone gets the knowing wink.

Today is Cal's Charter Day, an anniversary of the founding of UC. The UC Men's Octet and such musical institutions sang and played patriotic Cal songs. The fight songs usually mention Stanford. We define our Self by opposing it to the Other. And that means that we deny the things about us that we hate, saying they're characteristics of that Other. Oh, we're not snobby, that's Stanford. We're diverse, not like Stanford. We have rigorous classes and hard-working students, not like Stanford.

Someone set up me the bomb....and it was myself.

Class today: the Primer in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, why it's effective, and how we can use technology to improve education.

Things to do over Spring Break: worry about the Russia trip, catch up on Russian, work on two different research projects, start an essay on a film from 1939 and some associated text(s) from the same year, and catch up with a few high-school friends, if possible.

Or... I could read a whole lot of sci-fi and watch game shows, sitcoms, "The West Wing," "The Practice," and "Bill Nye the Science Guy."

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at