Over the last 30 years or so, Davis, California or as some would call it The People’s Republic of Davis has been one of the more interesting cities in America. Located about 14 miles west of Sacramento, Davis is a wondrous creation of middle-class stability in the middle of nowhere. The city is renowned for being a “trend setter” for its eco-friendly measures and going so far as to declare itself to be a “Nuclear Free Zone” in 1984 (don’t you feel safer?). Davis is also home to the world-class educational institution UC Davis and most recently the US Bicycling Hall of Fame (Davis is the self-proclaimed most bicycle friendly city in the nation). The town has traditionally attempted to create an alternative universe where progressive ideals safely mix with conservatism and police state like realities. Hence, while Davis might be greener than Mother Nature herself, the city doesn’t hesitate in creating an environment where the police have seemingly limitless power and aggressively enforce bicyclist infractions and noise complaints.
But I detract and why the heck am I even discussing this college town in the middle of nowhere?
Well, you might recall back in the mid 1990’s that Davis made national news with three fantastic stories that came to symbolize some of the city’s ridiculousness; the building of a Toad Tunnel (a new overpass threatened to kill toads trying to cross the road), the idea of not paving over potholes, because they present a “natural” speed bump (shredding car tires is very eco-friendly), and of course issuing a citation to someone for snoring too loudly in their own home (seriously this happened). The Daily Show even sent Stephen Colbert to report on the magical happenings in this middle-class metropolis and to get to the bottom of the Toad Tunnel story (click here for video).
Recently students from UC Davis renewed the satirical bashing of life in Davis, putting together a video for the law school’s annual talent show. Set to the music of Jay-z’s “Empire State of Mind” the video walks you through various Davis locales. The original lyrics by law student Alex Pacheco (also the main rapper in the video) highlight many of the wondrous aspects living in the existential town. The chorus in particular touches on key aspects of describing a town such as Davis with; “middle class in the middle of nowhere,” “where art was made to confuse you,” “where cyclists, stoplights, police and hippies enrage you,” and of course giving praise to Interstate 80 which divides the town and offers the sole escape route for those who are stuck.
For all of us who know Davis all too well, the video is a perfect light-hearted jab at the town and all its residents who take themselves far too seriously. If you are unfamiliar with Davis, then enjoy the video’s tour and storytelling of a town like no other. Well done UC Davis Law!