||[Nov. 28th, 2004|02:30 am]
The California Secessionist Party
If you haven't read "The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California" by Curt Gentry (I think), go see if you can get a copy. It's old, and out of print, but I found mine in a used bookstore and it's worth a read.|
Anyway, it recounts "California" falling into the ocean, essentially. More specifically, The Los Angeles Basin and San Diego sink into the ocean, the Bay Area is almost completely lost and is basically uninhabitable after, the San Joaquin valley is permanently inundated with ocean water, the Central and Redwood coasts are to varying degrees damaged, and Sacramento metro and the Sacramento Valley are leveled (in part by the collapse of the Oroville Dam, which probably would end up including Folsom, Nimbus, and Shasta Dams as well) but rebuilt. Essentially, the redwood coast, the northern parts of Central Valley, the Sierras, the Cascades, the Inland Empire, and the Alturas-Susanville plains are nearly normal in the end (this includes basically all of California's share of Jefferson State). Gentry obviously considers these to be more or less expendable parts of California's identity (as he shows in a somewhat lopsided (but understandably so) survey of certain events in 1970s California, including Reagan's gubernatorial run, Cesar Chavez's work, and various hijinks in Jackson). Personally, I see the redwood coast, Sacramento, and much of the Sierras as essential to the spirit of California, such that California is not gone unless they are too (he can be forgiven for ignoring the Riverside-San Bernardino sprawl, which I think was minor in the 70s).
Also, there's always this talk of splitting California into pieces, north and south, usually by partisans on either side who would like to be rid of the headache of some seemingly expendable side. This includes southerners who think that the LA-San Bernardino-San Diego megalopolis is the center of the earth and is unfairly ruled by Sacramento, and then northerners like myself who would like the opportunity to deny Los Angeles water rights and get on with life without them. The issue, though, would be where the line should be drawn. I would say roughly at the southern terminus of the Central Valley, or the northern border of San Bernardino County, but I'm sure there is ample disagreement (Angelenos with a hankering for Nepenthe and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, for example).
So, combining the state-split with Gentry's questionable choice of the essence of California, I (finally) arrive at what I mean to ask:
Are parts of California expendable to the holistic identity of California, and, if so, which parts? Moreover, are there parts of California's identity today that you'd rather not include in your idealized California? I'm speaking primarily in a sociogeographical sense, but you can answer as you like.