December 18, 2004

Berkeley Denizens

I've been reading The Voices of Guns, a lengthy journalistic account of the whole SLA story published in 1977. It's not particularly well-written even when it's not rambling and repetitive, but it is still as fascinating as its subject, of course.

The 1977 description of Berkeley could pretty much have been written yesterday:

Berkeley is the ghost town of the Movement, the morgue of the New Left. It is a city dominated by the huge University of California Berkeley campus; a college town uniquely caught up in its own peculiar atmosphere in which swift, turbulent currents of the sixties still swirl, settling well outside the American mainstream. Once the premier capital of the counterculture, Berkeley is still mecca for those seeking to discover or re-create the angry, hopeful anarchism that surged across the nation in the youthful rebellion of the last decade...

Here the Revolution never failed, it merely fell into limbo... Among themselves, they created a time warp, an enchanted-village effect in which much of what constitutes time seems frozen in 1969.

I've learned some details I hadn't known, including the fact that Emily Harris's first job when she arrived in Berkeley was as a clerk-typist at the same university department where I worked, around seventeen years later. The office was slightly off-campus, about two blocks from the Patty Hearst apartment, and apparently she was still working there when the Hearst kidnapping occurred. I guess that means that some of the people I worked with had known her, though no one ever mentioned it. Weird.

More on this later, I'm sure.

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 18, 2004 11:33 PM | TrackBack

I assume you know Michael Totten's story about hiring one of the SLA members to refinish his hardwood floors (he refers to you in his 12/19/04 entry which links back to his 2/20/03 entry). Just in case you didn't I thought I'd pass it along! He's at Its a good story.

Posted by: slickdpdx at December 26, 2004 04:15 AM
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