Sunday, July 27, 2008

California Complications

Television programs such as The OC and Desperate Housewives portray my motherland as one of sunny sex, fashion and air-headedness. This implied notion is both California’s saviour and nightmare.
To the outsider, California is synonymous with Hollywood and beach-living, both facets which bring many visitors in search of this deceptive “reality.” True, Hollywood exists, but the associated lifestyle is unheard of. The beaches are there, and they are certainly frequented by the locals. Essentially, the producers of the aforementioned programs did what they are famous for doing, twisting the truth. From what I can tell, it hasn’t had the greatest result on the state-wide psyche.
Cast as a flip-flopping no-brainers, Californians must feel insulted. There is a reason that 7 Top-50 universities reside in the state. Indeed, at UCLA, Berkeley and UCSD, well over 75% students come from California. Moreover, I had never come across the supposed stereotypical Californian until last Christmas, and whilst I’m not exactly Mr Popular, I’m no wallflower either.
Point is, California is so much more than beach and sun, love and lust. There is a strong intellectual tradition and a rich Spanish culture, whose roots can be seen state-wide today. Indeed, California is also one of the US’s most diverse states – in Los Angeles alone, 47% of the population is Hispanic. There are also considerable quantities of East Asians, African-Americans and of course Whites.
All this combines to form a melting pot of peoples and cultures so rich that it would put Hollywood bank accounts to shame. But its about more than wealth, right?

No comments: