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The Top 8 California Schools that Are, Like, Totally Wasting Your Money

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Posted on November 14 2010 11:00 am
Diane Schrader, a former television news writer/producer, lives with her family in Los Angeles. She likes a nice cup of tea. Follow her on Twitter.

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2.  Slackers, geeks and the-gender-which-cannot-be-named – the phenomenon that is UC Berkeley

Despite my glowing white-hot hatred for UCLA, even I recognize that there is a UC school that is even more evil. Yes, of COURSE I’m talking about Berkeley! At this august institution, you can enroll in “Arguing with Judge Judy” in which the instructor feels it necessary to offer this caution to would-be enrollees:

“It is NOT a course about law or ‘legal reasoning’… I emphasize that it is NOT about the application of law or the operations of the court system in general.”

Got that, wannabe attorneys? This ain’t for you. Who SHOULD take this course? Well, the instructor goes on to say that it’s for students who are interested in, among other things, TV and “American popular culture.” That is to say, slackers.

Remember our little video game analogy? Well, here at Berkeley, where they pride themselves on being the pinnacle of the UC system, you can take a class on STARCRAFT. That’s right. From the course description:

“UC Berkeley students with an interest in real-time strategy games and the competitive gaming landscape are encouraged to participate in this class. This course will go in-depth in the theory of how war is conducted within the confines of the game Starcraft… What may look like complex topics are just ways we want you to think more deeply about the game to derive a greater satisfaction from playing… The primary goal is for students to learn, enjoy the art of competitive StarCraft, and have fun.”

Oh… having FUN is the goal. Well, that explains the “course workload”:

“Each week, students must submit 2 replays of games they played… Some replays will be reviewed by the class together.”

Clearly Berkeley has more than its share of pocket-protected geeks. But that’s not all Berkeley has – oh NOOOO, not by a long shot. In fact, there is one course that rather encompasses the whole raison d’etre of the entire Bay Area. “Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco” – now there’s a mouthful, so to speak. This class has been known to meet in the Gender & Equity Center in the Chavez Student Union (natch). The course description will blow your little mind (sorry for the Donovan reference; I can’t help myself. After all, it’s BERKELEY.) Anyhoo. Just ONE of the phrases in the course description promises, “contemporary transgender, queer, genderqueer, and post-queer cultural production and politics.”

Thank goodness! I mean, we’re all conversant with transgender and queer cultural production, but it’s about darn time that someone got around to talking about genderqueer and post-queer versions of same, wouldn’t you say? (California universities – proudly filling the knowledge gap!) Fun things you will get to read for this course:

-“When Strangers Met: Sex and Gender on Three Frontiers” (because of course sex has nothing to do with gender, so they’re strangers, get it?)
-“Romancing the Transgender Native”
-“Queer Temporality and Postmodern Geographies” (betcha can’t put that one down)
-Midnight at the Palace: My Life as a Fabulous Cockette
-And, by the instructor, an article entitled “Portrait of a Trans Fag Drag Hag as a Young Man.”

Mmm-kay.

Thank you for joining me on this tour of the pride of California’s state public education monolith, the mighty UC system. What’s that, you say? At least the arguably less prestigious California State University system of colleges doesn’t offer such nonsense? Well…

Next: not so fast, defenders of the Cal State system…

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