About SBBS

Santa Barbara is full of Serious People with Serious Problems. If they aren’t heroically defending the city’s Mediterranean architecture, or battling against City Council’s perpetual War on Cars, they are fretting about the lack of civility shown by today’s youths and marvelling at the impudence of the homeless population’s continued existence.

Santa Barbara Bullshit treats all these concerns with the deadly earnestness they deserve.

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The Daily Nonsense

The Daily Nonsense is the only campus publication at UCSB with any moral compass at all. Upon learning of our existence, a group of campus Republicans went back in time and started something called “The Daily Nexus” in an attempt to undermine our credibility. Support the Nonsense and recognize the Nexus for the cabal of hacks they are!

The Daily Nonsense is a subsidiary of Santa Barbara Bullshit, but has separate Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as a dedicated RSS feed.

No Thanks

Thanks to our tireless monitoring and mocking of bad opinions online, the amount of garbage put on the web by local media websites has fallen dramatically over the past year. The only posters who remain undaunted by our media empire are Don and Diana Thorn, who we have so far failed to dissuade from seeking the truth about Benghazi.

But our incredible success at thought policing Noozhawk commenters has meant a dearth of Hot Takes to dismantle in recent months, and our silence has given City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss the misguided impression that we would overlook his recent Take in the Santa Barbara View.

Hotchkiss, best known for falling off a horse, comes to the readers of the View with a modest proposal: “Take a Moment to Say ‘Thank You, Officer.’”

To which we reply: No, thanks.

Police work can be dangerous, but it assuredly isn’t heartless and it most definitely isn’t thankless. In fact, it is a rewarding career aimed at helping people live their lives peacefully and happily.

Oh for sure man.

Those of us with more mundane jobs rarely, if ever, encounter the raw substance of daily living, from violent personal conflicts to acts harming others’ person or property.

Cops see this every day. I admire their ability to remain on an even keel, and keep a smile on their face, despite a daily encounter with such people.

Oh for sure man.

Is it thankless? There are times when a cop defuses a domestic situation, solves a problem that might lead to a fight, or steers a young person on a positive track instead of a journey to prison or worse.


But when people who don’t know them reflexively decry their efforts if an untoward incident occurs, then the job must seem thankless. That must make it very hard to continue in the spirit of community service, much less put their lives on the line when the situation demands.


Acknowledging that police are not perfect — who among us is? — but do their best to do it right, I would like to say to each and every one of them, “Thank you, officer.”

No thanks.


Welcome to another installment of Art Critic, in which we attempt a negative definition of art by excluding everything in Santa Barbara.

Every technological advance is usually accompanied by the gnashing of teeth from cultural critics who imagine dire consequences for humanity. In the case of the internet in general and Twitter in particular, the consequence foreseen was a massive shortening of our attention spans. How could anyone read a book, or write a paper, or follow world events while gibbering in 140-character bursts?

Fortunately the doomsayers were wrong, as usual. And the most inspiring rebuke to their pessimism has come from the political right, who have marshaled the power of Twitter to not only maintain a long-term focus, but to NEVER FORGET the greatest bungle in Obama’s presidency:

tweet by @spreadbutter on 17 October 2013: B A R A C k / E / Negligence / G / H @HillaryClinton / A is for ABANDONMENT / Z / I / \#BENGHAZI / B / E / N / G / HELL / A / Z / Incompetence / @SpeakerBoehner

Since the media bungled its coverage of Obungler’s bungles, the Top Conservatives on Twitter have spent the last two years making sure everyone remembers Benghazi, even if that means turning it into a meme.

As #Benghazi has successfully spread, however, it has inevitably been co-opted by hacks and philistines. Against this trend, the Independent yesterday published what may well be the first piece of High Benghazi art:

The White House lied,
Four people died,

The media ignored,
The military was not deployed,

And to this day,
No one has had to pay.

What raises this poem by Donald Thorn above most Benghazi art is the subtle slant rhyme in the second couplet. By breaking the flow between lines about the media and the military, Thorn implicitly critiques the power of the US media in shaping American military policy. He yearns for a time when what mattered was what is right, not what is popular. We at SBBS do not endorse Donald Thorn’s view of what is right, but salute his ability to never forget Benghazi, even if that leaves little room for remembering other things.

The Worst Part of Deltopia Wasn’t the Riot

Even your aunt knows by now what happened in IV last weekend, since your mom shared the Buzzfeed article with her on Facebook. Why it happened is less understood, although the most probable story is that students began rioting in response to a unnecessarily violent arrest of the teenager who hit an officer in the head with his backpack. Maybe that’s what happened, and maybe it’s not, but the news cycle doesn’t wait and thinkpieces won’t write themselves. Those of us who thought we could escape Deltopia by staying out of IV last weekend were sorely mistaken.

Associated Students was quick of the gate with an email to UCSB students that said, in effect, Quit Inviting Your Shitty High-School Friends To Our Parties You Dicks. A few days later they provided a modified statement to the media that more or less said What The Fuck Just Happened Man, Damn.

Dissatisfied with AS’s even-handed approach, graduate student Patrick Mooney took the opportunity to remind us why nobody takes academics seriously by writing a a ponderous op-ed in The Bottom Line arguing that a 17-year-old from Los Angeles assaulted a police officer because the UC system has recently been making administrative decisions without sufficient student input. Wash the taste of that piece out your mouth with this first-hand account of Saturday night by undergraduate Alexa Shapiro, who identifies some important failures of the police response.

More student takes: Probably the emptiest piece came from Nonsense favorite Ben Moss, who took 7 paragraphs to write “lol woops I was wrong,” which, admittedly, is more than most professional columnists are willing to do. A political science major screamed a lot about stuff and got a nice kerfuffle going in the comments. And, of course, someone managed to blame the riot on a pregnant black woman, because of course.

Not all students are garbage, though, as Lily Kingsbury demonstrates with this nice piece about Isla Vista and community.

After all that you’re probably thinking Hey They’re Just Young, They’ll Grow Up And Be Smart.

Haha, no.

“UC parent” Adam Sparks innocently wonders Why Oh Why was Floatopia canceled in the first place, if we’d just let the kids have their beach fun none of this would have happened. An alumnus issued a stuffy whitepaper that at least did offer some concrete proposals. The Santa Barbara View couldn’t decide whether to commission a philosophical meditation from moral relativist Sharon Byrne or a sermon from concern troll Loretta Redd, PhD, so they just solicited “solutions” in an open thread, with predictable results. But none of the View commenters could hope to match the Final Solution offered by UCSB engineer Greg Dahlen, who literally called for the murder of 15,000 people in the Santa Barbara Independent.

So next time you find yourself thinking how terrible kids are these days, know that they’ll only get worse with age. That’s the real lesson of Deltopia.

Is It Possible To Be Other Than A Walking Stereotype?

It is an expression we have all heard, someone is either “a glass half full … or glass half empty” kind of person. It is a not question of perception, philosophy or sheer determination to decide how you want to perceive the world. This is not an interesting concept either since it’s an expression and not a concept at all.

I would like to introduce a perception, which is different than the expressions and concepts previously introduced on account of it being a perception and not an expression or a concept.

If you are feeling too negative, and the “glass” is always half empty for you … pour it out. Literally stop being negative.

Sounds unachievable perhaps, and you might think this article is published on Santa Barbara Bullshit for a reason, but I have a book for you that is way worse.

Our local author, Rhonda Byrne (relation to Sharon Byrne unknown) has written several books, The Magic is one that shifted much of my perception on how to write grammatically.

While reading The Magic, I discovered a simple directive. Gratitude. Yes, it can be an actual verb, despite being a concept and not a word at all.

You can do actual scientific experiments with this concept, like discovering a causal relationship between New Age nonsense and cultural appropriation. There is even a science known as Spiritual Physics, assuming that “science” doesn’t mean science and “physics” doesn’t mean physics.

I could end with a quote from Einstein about human stupidity, but ugh why bother.

Blame Canada! (Because They’re Socialists, So They Might As Well Be Communists, Which Is Apparently What Tenured Professors Are)

As an admirer of fine dissimulation, it was with great pride that I read Brett Debbold’s recent piece on tenure in the Bottom Line. With such young prodigies (or should we say “wunderkinder”), we need not worry about the advancing age of some of our current sleeper agents.

Mr. Debbold’s article, titled “Teacher Tenure: Only Good in Theory”, is, of course, actually a cleverly-disguised attack on the underlying logic of capitalism. That’s something Harris Sherline already did very well, but the angle of tenured employment is new, so we will forgive Brett. And his piece itself is admirably straightforward, setting up the dialectic in the very first sentence:

Tenure, much like communism, is a good idea in theory, but its modern application does more harm than good for teachers.

If we’re using the standard John Birch Model, then communism is on the opposite end of the economic freedom spectrum from capitalism. By comparing tenure to capitalism, we are to understand it as antithetical to the principles of capitalism. The existence of tenure will necessarily be precarious in a capitalistic system, as Mr. Debbold points out:

The goal of tenure is to protect proven teachers from dismissal when new administrations or young teachers come into their schools [or they express controversial opinions in their classrooms; or they criticize the existing administration; or they speak out against racism, sexism, or other sorts of discrimination; or they come out as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.; or they find themselves in a political firestorm]. The fear is that without tenure, older teachers will be unjustly pushed out in order to save the school money or because of conflicting teaching theory [or because they express controversial opinions in their classrooms; or because they criticize the existing administration; or because they speak out against racism, sexism, or other sorts of discrimination; or because they come out as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.; or because they find themselves in a political firestorm].

Having established so clearly the great value of tenure, Mr. Debbold’s rhetorical strategy is to lay forth the common arguments against tenure and simply allow the reader to see how ludicrous they are in the light of what has already been said:

For the most part, the teachers who would deserve to keep their jobs would do so easily even without tenure. Just like in any other profession, there is no reason for an administration to fire good employees.

Certainly, no reason at all!

Tenure does, however, give license to those who have earned it to become complacent in their work. Of course not every tenured teacher lets his or her work decline, but it is an easy course to take. Knowing that you can’t be fired for anything less than a serious offense is a dangerous thing. The fear of getting fired and the desire to get promoted are the most common incentives for good work, and with tenure, many teachers are left without either.

As an anecdotal aside, 100% of my fellow graduate students have actually informed me that they’re dedicating the majority of their twenties to become experts in a field they are truly passionate about just so they can play Candy Crush a lot when they get tenure. But like Hume’s missing shade of blue, I don’t think this data point should be given much weight. In any case, here is the heart of Brett’s essay:

Worse than that, tenure forces schools to fire superior teachers for the sole reason that they haven’t been around as long as their peers. When merit is no longer the basis for which firings are decided, something is wrong with the system. When schools inevitably undergo cutbacks and inferior teachers remain employed while young teachers excited to go to work are let go, tenure is to blame.

They key word here is “inevitable”. In a capitalist society, the expansion of higher education following World War Two was in fact an anomaly, and the current funding cuts, privatization, and rise of the adjunct labor class should be seen as the more natural phenomena. Anyone feeling mystified as to why our government is not even considering straightforward and relatively inexpensive reforms that would make education truly free for all does not fully appreciate the economic and political pressures, created by capitalism, that rule out this obvious solution. Likewise, the sensible job protections offered by tenure are anathema to capitalism, and so have been strategically associated with lazy, overpaid, unqualified professors.

As if to drive home the absurdity of this last charge, Brett Debbold ends with a comparison of tenured teachers with Supreme Court Justices:

Teaching is a far cry from the Supreme Court, where job security is necessary to ensure job performance

It was, of course, a certain member of that judicial body whose sexual harassment created the aforementioned political firestorm around tenured professor Anita Hill, who was saved from retaliatory termination of her employment due to her tenure.

A far cry, indeed.