bbc.co.uk Navigation

California dreaming

  • Jon Kelly
  • 11 Sep 08, 04:37 AM GMT

Venice Beach couldn't be more Californian if it grew its hair long and took up yoga. Toss a joss stick along the seafront and you'd strike half-a-dozen tie-dyed T-shirts before it hit the sand.

Other parts of the country might scorn the locals as effete coastal wackos, a world away from the true American heartland.

Venice BeachBut, still. A steady stream of bright-eyed incomers from across America have flocked west regardless for decades, lured by the prospect of fame and wealth.

At first it was the gold rush that brought them. Then it was Hollywood. Today, you wonder if every waitress or barman who serves you is a future rock star or matinee idol.

Just down the road from where I'm writing this, a young immigrant from Austria called Arnold Schwarzenegger used to pump iron in Gold's Gym. And look at him now.

As I gazed out at the shimmering Pacific for the first time in my life, the sun beating down on my face, I realised that I was looking at the American dream.

Nicholas OmamaTo find out why California exercises this pull and generates such resentment, I caught up with 53-year-old Nicholas Omana, who moved here from his native Salt Lake City ("not being a Mormon, I didn't really fit in there").

A voice-over artist by day and a stand-up comedian by night, he wasn't exactly difficult to identify as an adopted Californian by his floral shirt and easy, avuncular laugh.

I asked him what made things different here. It's because in the west, he told me, the frontier spirit lives on.

"People come out here to make it big, and I think that lends itself to taking risks and trying new things," he says.

"It seems to me that optimism and liberalism go together, and Californians are naturally optimistic."

I don't think this is the whole story, though. This is the state that gave us Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and - as I've already noted - Prop 13. Surely California's defiant individualism and buccaneering get-up-and-go have, historically, lent themselves as much to the right as much as the left?

My hunch was confirmed as I wandered down nearby Abbot Kinney, an upmarket, bohemian thoroughfare where Obama posters hung from porches and anti-Bush graffiti was etched in the cement.

Jordan PeaglerI got talking to Jordan Peagler, a 21-year-old student in a flowing CND logo-print dress. I took it as read that she, like everyone else round here, must be a true-blue Democrat - if not a Green or a Yippie or some such.

But I was wrong. Jordan, who had moved here from Savannah, Georgia, liked the look of another new girl in town.

"I guess I'm undecided," she told me. "But I thought Sarah Palin made a great speech after her nomination. I like her manner.

"I'm a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.

"But some of my friends lost members of their family on 9/11. That will weigh heavily on the decision I make. I feel that leaving Iraq is much more complicated than certain politicians make it out to be."

It's an apposite point, today of all days, though not everyone in Venice would concur.

But that's the thing with California. Why should it have to agree with anyone else?

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I can't imagine looking at the photo what could have prompted you to strike up a conversation with Jordan Peagler ;)

  • Comment number 2.

    I am losing all hope, here: Ms. Jordan Peagler is "a fiscal conservative and an economic liberal," and she lost family on 9/11, so we should stay in Iraq. And she is a student? Of what, I must ask. The state of education in the US is in worse shape than I even thought...

    Here's why: The GOP has turned a budget surplus into a 8 TRILLION dollar deficit in 8 years. That is fiscal mania. They are not economic liberals by a long shot, they are beholden to the YOYO system of conservative governance (you are on your own). As for Iraq: Has she not yet gotten the message that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and we have squandered lives plus hundreds of billions in that poor country?

    And she is voting for the same?

    I am nonplussed, I'll say that.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    "How can you be fiscal conservative and economically liberal? Does she even know shes contradicting herself in the same sentence?"

    I think she means she supports a government that is in favour of a free market and dropping trade tarifs and also cuts taxes and limits public spending. Its not the clearest sentence in the world but its meaning isn't too hard to work out.

  • Comment number 6.

    "As for 9/11 and Iraq? She must solely rely on Fox News for her info..."

    No. I think we all agree that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. However every Jihadi in the world is now travelling to Iraq to fight US soldiers on the streets of Baghdad rather than fly planes into buildings in the US. While there are 'infidels on arab land' the jihadis aren't worrying about attacking the US at home. Very hard on the Iraqi people of course.......

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Way to go, Jon ! You've discovered the other thing California is famous for - Airheads (in local vernacular). Whether they are born there or irresistably drawn there is not clear. But, there's a lot of them and they have the vote, but may confuse 'polling place' with 'pole dancing place'. We just have to hope....

    Malaka57 you are slightly droll.

  • Comment number 9.

    I spent 2 years in L.A. and it's a place full of contradictions, Jordan included. The trouble is she got to talk because she's a pretty ( daft ) blond and the reporter found that appealing. Same reason you have actors reading the news instead of journalists. Obama has genuinely sent shockwaves through a despondent voting population but the Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. I hate to say it but the republicans are experts in the popularity game.

    Only word on the US popularity rule, told to me by a french immigrant...

    It's not what you're saying, it's how loud you say it.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    What is wrong with American society today is everyone whats the government to provide heath care, education, and a legislation that doesn't offend or hinder the actions of all peoples. We as a country think we are owed these "Rights" but we have seen with the former Soviet Union and other Marxist countries that the rich get richer, they take out the middle class permanently and the poor fight over the scraps in the trough. We must maintain our capitalist society and not hinder Nonprofits or NGO's.

  • Comment number 13.

    Oh, I get it. Here in the US we have a nightly show where the host goes out to interview the goofiest people (they edit out smart responses) and watch them make fools of themselves. I will enjoy your blog a lot, Jon. But I don't think some of your readers get it, they assume all 305,121,951
    think the same way.

  • Comment number 14.

    p.s. Malaka57 "I am losing all hope, here" you're blind racism against Americans is just that. True there are unspeakably stupid (winningest) and disgraceful things that go in there but it boils down to the fact that they're the same make of human as you my pompous friend. They are on the forefront of western democracy and whether you like it or not we're following them.

    The sooner we treat the US people with more respect than some tobacco chewing, chicken shooting hicks the sooner we can grow as a human race together. Some of the most visionary and ground-breaking scientists come from L.A. and they're all part of the same group.

    Get off the nations pedestal of thinking we're perfect as a nation and go and read some history.

  • Comment number 15.

    "Peter_Sym wrote.... I think she means she supports a government that is in favour of a free market and dropping trade tarifs and also cuts taxes and limits public spending"

    Thats exactly how I understood it.

    I wonder how many 21 year old British students in have any opinion AT ALL on economic strategy?





  • Comment number 16.

    Malaka57
    "The GOP has turned a budget surplus into a 8 TRILLION dollar deficit in 8 years."

    You should get your facts straight, if you are going to insult the intelligence of others.

    The US National debt was 5.7 trillion dollars 8 years ago, the GOP has increased it to over 8 trillion now. The last 8 years by no means accounts for the entire debt.

    Clinton ran a budget surplus decreasing our debt, but did not eliminate it.



  • Comment number 17.

    To All Americans. McCain is a Bush clone. Do you really want the same again? Sarah Palin hunts for sport, believes in perpetuating the war in Iraq, and believes all children should be taught creationism. I am amazed that she seems to think this recommends her for leadership of the biggest superpower there is. Also, she is a Fundamentalist - Christian or otherwise, she is still a fundamentalist and ANY fundamentalism blinds us to other people and is dangerous!

    Obama has said that he is for change and can demonstrate that he has policies that would do this.

    Is it not time we all had a change? Please don't vote in the Republicans again. And as for Jordan Peagler, I won't go on about fiscal conservatism and economic liberalism, any more, but doesn't she just demonstrate exactly the kind of unthinking voting that got us all stuck with the Republicans in the first place?

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    I beg to differ on the negative comments regarding Sarah Peagler's comment on being a Fiscal Conservative and Economic liberal.

    Fiscal policy is control of money and spending. She's saying, I infer, that she likes to see controlled money supply, balanced budgets and government spending under control - i.e. conservative. Economic Liberalism is free trade, lack of red tape etc.

    The fact Mr Bush has let rip with a huge deficit would imply she'll vote for whoever brings the deficit under control.

    Sarah's got my vote and she is definitely beautiful and not a dumb blonde.

    America's education is in save hands with her!

  • Comment number 20.


    Jon,

    I read your two latest back to back.
    I think instead of commenting on the
    individuals interviewed,we should be interested in your reaction to them.(though I too understand why you might interview Jordan).

    Just don't let the CA color your thaoughts as you continue your travels

  • Comment number 21.

    senor, racism against americans? We Americans are not a race, and secondly, I am American myself. We are allowed to criticize as much as we want, especially when it is justified. That is part of the Bill of Rights.

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 22.

    On a day such as today, it's good to reflect on the issues surrounding the 'War on Terror' since 9/11. Especially how in pertains to the U.S. elections, and the world for that matter. Unfortunately, I think the the comment linking 9/11 to Saddam does give a bit of an indication as to how some regular people out there in America (and elsewhere) still feel on the subject. It's no different here in Canada, I find. I'd like to think everyone follows these issues and are well informed, but that's not always the case. I still talk to friends who worry about terrorism and how things are going with the Iraq War (even though we in Canada are not there militarily). Though they are concerned about these subjects, none of them can give me concrete reasons or background information as to the problems surrounding these issues. So how can they be worried about topics and problems that they are not very informed on. And that's the problem.

    The larger population in general base their ideas on a few sound bits heard here or there, or on differing friends opinions, but do not go out and try to seek the truth themselves. That's what they will base their vote on. I'm not going to get into more on the terrorism issue here. There's simply not enough space. But I think a lot of voters in Western nations need to really look at how we've dealt with Terrorism since 9/11 and with the coming elections (both in the U.S. and here in Canada) we should be pressing our leaders on the issue because oil and our economics are all intertwined with this. When I look at how things have gone since the attacks, I feel that our polices have set us back 10 years on the issue of terrorism. Government's tried to deal with it using old methods that are no longer applicable. Back when I was a Political Science student, in our policy classes, we had proposed the development of conferences between countries to develop a consensus legal frame work on how to process terror suspects through our court systems, allowing due process. That was in 2000. The fact that 8 years later there's still not an effective and democratically acceptable way of placing terror suspects on trial in our own court systems I think speaks for itself.

    We can trumpet the values and benefits of democracy, but if we cannot process these people through our own system, what does that tell our enemies? And what kind of ammunition does that give them to promote and recruit others their extremist ideals?

    Make no mistake about it people. Currently the 'War on Terror' is not being won. Not even close.

  • Comment number 23.

    'Venice Beach couldn't be more Californian if it grew its hair long and took up yoga.'

    Stereotypes save time.

    I thought the premise of the bus tour was to find the 'real America' but our intrepid correspondent ends up in Venice Beach and tells us it's representative of California. Wrong. It's only representative of Venice Beach, a freak show and tourist trap.

    I'm sure Europeans eat this nonsense up but, as someone who's lived in LA for 28 years, you need to know you're being misled.

    Now, on to yet another freak show and tourist trap: Las Vegas...

  • Comment number 24.

    "Peter_Sym wrote.... I think she means she supports a government that is in favour of a free market and dropping trade tarifs and also cuts taxes and limits public spending"


    This view can absolutely make sense--in Europe. The trouble is that in the US, the term "liberal" is actually synonymous with "to the left," not that we have many leftists here at all. "Liberal" in the United States does take on its technical meaning still used in Europe, among other places, i.e. supporting free market, dropping tarrifs, etc.

    So, in short, the view in contradictory based on the way that Americans use those terms.

    However, I thought that the part about liking Palin's look was telling. As an American, I can say that it is indeed entirely a popularity contest out here. Candidates on both sides are more keen to run cover stories on tabloids than to discuss real issues--a phenomenon which the public makes necessary. John Kerry's attempts at discussing issues in a coherent way in the last election won him charges from the right that he was an intellectual elite who thinks that he is better than "you, the American voter." Here, likability, being flawed, speaking English poorly, shooting moose, going to church, and not being "a commie," are unfortunately are still what is truly important.

  • Comment number 25.

    Peterr_Sym

    You are suggesting that to invade some country killing about 100,000 of their people (some say up to 1 million), at the cost of nearly 4,200 of our soldiers as well is justified? Do you think that is the reason why we have not had a repeat of 9/11.

    Here is another reason. Al Qaeda did not need another 9/11 to unravel our democracy, George Bush did it for him with the dismantling of Habeas Corpus, the FISA bill (shame on Obama for going along with it), Gitmo, and a war that is costing us money and reputation.

    With a president like George W. Bush, who needs an enemy?

  • Comment number 26.

    The UK does not have agreat track record, it's overcrowded, headnig to a recession and while all this is happening we have a government that couldn't manage a market stall.

    However, i think America neesd to wake up and realised its global responsibilities because lets face it, the next president you elect isn't just important to you, they are at the forefront of western democracy. The most powerful country in the world cannot have a war mongering leader with the international policies of a Viking.

    Please, please , please don't vote a Republican in to the White House again. It is a time for change, 911 was a tragedy but the War in Iraq has been the biggest mistake of the 21st Century.

    I have nothing against Jordan but she was picked for the wrong reasons and it shows just how little the reporter actually cared about a serious subject.

    Seriously if you were a reporter and you heard an opinion that openly contradicted itself, surely you would look for another.

  • Comment number 27.

    Jon,
    I'm truly enjoying your journey as you meet and talk with Americans. Your open mind is obvious---and refreshing(!) given what I've come to expect from foreign journalists.
    I remember my first view of the Pacific Ocean, a moment which taught me my own insignificance in a breathtaking way.

    On the issue of fiscal conservatism, I don't think the issue can be owned by either political party. Most Americans want their government to collect the tax money and use it responsibly (something that is not happening now with Congress and the President sharing equal blame).

    To which programs and projects the tax money is spent is more of a divisive issue; however, I think we can agree that we want our money spent where it's needed most, and that doesn't include politician's personal pockets. Liberals and conservatives don't often argue about that.

  • Comment number 28.

    Amazing.she likes how Sarah Palin "looks". How about what she says,or what she stands for,or what she'll do for the 40 million US citizens with no health coverage, or the constant outflow of jobs to other countries,or the fact that the US economy is tanking faster than the Titanic,or that she wants to open up offshore drilling or in the Alaska Wildlife Preserve. Or how about the disaster of the Iraq war, or the war against Iran if McCain wins. Palin's looks?? How about voting for a candidate/party that will stop the US from self destruction.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am English but live here in California. I have done for best part of thirty years. I thought it was great that the BBC was interested in the election and the whole bus-trip idae sounded grand but please...Jordan Peagler a fiscal conservative and and economical liberal? what! The young man choosing people to talk to might choose someone other than a girl he wants to pick up. It's pathetic that the BBC can't hire someone that has a clue about this place to conduct this bus trip/interview forum....

  • Comment number 30.

    Whilst I do think its impressive that she has an opinion as a young adult (and why shouldn't she? Unlike British youngsters Americans tend to get involved in the political process) her reasoning of why America is in Iraq (9/11) is woefully misinformed. I don't lay the blame for this at her door, moreso towards innacurate and partisan journalism. However I do think its ethically bankrupt for the Republicans to be portrayed by anyone as the "9/11 security" party. 9/11 was the best thing to happen to the Republicans and to Bush because it created a blanket justfication for nearly any action. America will follow a strong leader, but that strength of feeling must be based on wisdom and not impulsiveness.

  • Comment number 31.

    I haven't lived in California for over 25 years but I was born there and spent much of my childhood there. When I was teaching English in Japan, an Australian English teacher made a comment in front of me, which implied that California's universities are nothing but havens for pot smokers. I didn't take the bait at the time, because if I had responded to every slight about the United States from the non American English teachers, I would have spent my whole time arguing, but I feel the need to speak up for my home state a bit now. Whereas it's true that some Californians fit the stereotype of free-wheeling, pot-smoking flakes ( I truly miss them, I have to say), California's universities are fantastic. There are 6 listed in the QS Top Universities list (http://www.topuniversities.com/) and one in the top 10. Also, I don't know what it's like now, but when I was going to college in the early 80's, it was possible to get a quality education, very cheaply, in any of the multitude of community colleges that were scattered throughout the state. I'm pointing this out, because it's so easy to focus on one aspect of a place and forget about what else it has to offer.

  • Comment number 32.

    "Sarah's got my vote and she is definitely beautiful and not a dumb blonde.

    America's education is in save hands with her!"

    Ah, a case of 'Bad spellers of the world untie, you have nothing to lose except your dictionaries'.

    Aren't issues rather something to vote for rather than hair colour?

  • Comment number 33.

    Ah yes, let the America bashing begin.

    I lived in L.A. for three years. I've never been to England but I've lived in Europe for 12 years, mostly in Prague where I've had the chance to see plenty of British youth, most of it drunk and belligerent. I'd rather hang with a Californian, dude.

    As for economic liberalism, that is a concept going back to John Stuart Mill. It means a belief in free markets and free trade, the 'invisible hand'. A fiscal conservative believes in conservative fiscal spending by the government. The two concepts aren't antithetical.

    I wonder who is really showing their ignorance, the spunky L.A. girl or the bitter British commenters?

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm disgusted that the author of this piece is being paid by the BBC for such lazy, trivial journalism.

    The sad fact is that the UK voted 3 times for Blair, so we are in no position to criticise the Americans.

    Politics is a very dirty business worldwide.

    Republicans are very good at avoiding the real issues.

    As they say, if you're having to explain, then you're losing.

  • Comment number 35.

    I actually know Jordan - I left her in Cali 24 hours ago to return to London - the last thing this girl is is ignorant - she'd give the majority of people a run for their money, believe me.

    I think what's happened here - although it shouldn't really be the focus of this topic - is that Jordan's opinion has been edited and is being taken out of context. I haven't spoken to her - but I can pretty much guess that her "contradiction" is actually more of a misunderstanding - try "at times I'm a fiscal conservative and at others an economic liberal" - swinging between the two - and this starts to make more sense - its amazing how quickly one quote / opinion can create a stereotype, no?

    This should reduce the need for 'stupid blonde' comments and other such assumptions.

  • Comment number 36.

    #25. I think the invasion of Iraq was rather stupid actually but my best mate at work is iraqi and can tell you stories about Saddam that would turn your hair white. HE supports the invasion and I give an Iraqi's opinion far greater value than a european or americans.

    You also make the mistake of blaming all 100,000 casualties (some say the world is flat so I'm not justifying the 1M claim with a response) on the americans. When Al Qu'eda suicide bomb a market and kill 100 then 100 deaths are the responsibility of Al Qu'eda, not the US.

    Also Bush goes in November. If we hadn't gone into Iraq Saddam would have gone when he died, then his sons would have taken over. Don't forget that.

  • Comment number 37.

    Dude, thats like so Cal........

  • Comment number 38.

    "Republicans are very good at avoiding the real issues."

    You must have forgotten the day Clinton fired cruise missiles at Sudan and Afghanistan in order to bump Lewinski to 2nd spot on the news. If you think the democrats are any different to Republicans you're living in a fantasy world

  • Comment number 39.

    aboutbrooklyn wrote - 'John Kerry's attempts at discussing issues in a coherent way in the last election won him charges from the right that he was an intellectual elite who thinks that he is better than "you, the American voter." Here, likability, being flawed, speaking English poorly, shooting moose, going to church, and not being "a commie," are unfortunately still what is truly important.'

    If this is really, really the case? Then are we not all doomed?

    Is the Republican publicity machine (say it loud and say it long) really going to win out?

    Look beyond the facades, the lipstick (I dare say it), and the petty one upmanship and put your vote with the Democrats. As I said before, I think we are all ready for change. We have earned it.

    Come on Americans, think this one through. Remember the last election, grab all that is near and dear to you and run from the Republicans, run like the wind!

  • Comment number 40.

    its also worth highlighting that she said 'some of my friends lost family on 9/11' not that she did. Neither did she actually link 9/11 directly with Iraq.

    Too many people here can't read or choose to interpret things very strangely indeed.

  • Comment number 41.

    She obviously meant "fiscal conservative and social liberal."

  • Comment number 42.

    Actually you can be a fiscal conservative (low taxes) and an economic liberal if you support free trade, no unfair subsidies etc. You may believe that'll make you/ Uncle Sam more money. I might but domestic politics stops the Americans from being economically liberal. Maybe the blonde ain't so dumb after all.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment is to Scappers, comment #18. I am sick of how the Euro-press seek out the stereotypical "dumb" American to represent my country in order to make you feel better about becoming increasingly irrelevant on the world stage. If we are all dumb, just how did we become the #1 economic and military power in the world? I will debate you anytime and place on any subject and show you how "dumb" I am. Stop your stereotypes, it is getting old. Now go and get drunk, riot at a football game, and, for God's sake, see a dentist. I can stereotype too.

  • Comment number 44.

    So...when can I move to the UK? It was my impression that the United States was waking up, but I seem to be proved wrong on this point with frightening frequency.

  • Comment number 45.

    What does 9/11 have to do with Iraq?

  • Comment number 46.

    Although Dusablon already commented on it, I feel it somewhat necessary to defend California against... California.

    Being from Northern California, I'd argue to death the fact that Venice Beach is the measure of California and our respective culture. I grew up with sleds, snowboards and wakeboards, not surfboards. I grew up in a small foothilll town, not a sprawling coastal behemoth like LA. Is my hometown, which is strangely like countless other smaller Northern Cal towns, any less a part of California culture?

    I live now in Central Cal, right near the Salinas Valley. Being a major agricultural center, the absolute focus of the area is significantly different than Venice beach. Agriculture and the people that make it work are a huge part of this area, and a huge part of California too, regardless of what the idyllic stereotypes of California being one giant beach covered in hippies and liberal movie stars would have you believe.

    I've been to the UK before, but as it was on the very back end of backpacking across Europe and I had to get back to the States, I wasn't able to stay as long as I'd have liked, nor seen as much as I'd liked. Regardless, if I'd had my own blog and said something along the lines of "London is as Enlish as England gets.", how would people in Manchester take it? How would people in Gloucester like it?

    You do not only us, but the credibility of what you write a disservice when you attempt to generalize 35 million people in a state as diverse as any in the US into one section of a small and goofy beach in Los Angeles. I mean hell, if you were going to judge us all on one scale, might as well have hit the Castro in SF. I'd love to see how that reaction went over (for good or bad, I think it'd be awesome).

  • Comment number 47.

    Oh for goodness sake Kelly, edit the responses to your blog! Or we'll all end up posting the same unoriginal responses,

    i.e. 'How can she be fiscally conservative and economically liberal blah blah blah..' which kind of goes without saying.

  • Comment number 48.

    **Comment edited to remove a bad word and resubmitted. :/**

    Although Dusablon already commented on it, I feel it somewhat necessary to defend California against... California.

    Being from Northern California, I'd argue to death the fact that Venice Beach is the measure of California and our respective culture. I grew up with sleds, snowboards and wakeboards, not surfboards. I grew up in a small foothilll town, not a sprawling coastal behemoth like LA. Is my hometown, which is strangely like countless other smaller Northern Cal towns, any less a part of California culture?

    I live now in Central Cal, right near the Salinas Valley. Being a major agricultural center, the absolute focus of the area is significantly different than Venice beach. Agriculture and the people that make it work are a huge part of this area, and a huge part of California too, regardless of what the idyllic stereotypes of California being one giant beach covered in hippies and liberal movie stars would have you believe.

    I've been to the UK before, but as it was on the very back end of backpacking across Europe and I had to get back to the States, I wasn't able to stay as long as I'd have liked, nor seen as much as I'd liked. Regardless, if I'd had my own blog and said something along the lines of "London is as English as England gets.", how would people in Manchester take it? How would people in Gloucester like it? How would people in London itself like it if I took only one subculture and said it was indicative of everybody in the city?

    You do not only us, but the credibility of what you write a disservice when you attempt to generalize 35 million people in a state as diverse as any in the US into one section of a small and goofy beach in Los Angeles. If you were going to judge us all on one scale, might as well have hit the Castro in SF. I'd love to see how that reaction went over (for good or bad, I think it'd be awesome).

  • Comment number 49.

    @ #19:
    "America's education is in save hands with her!"

    -please note the irony in this exclamation.



  • Comment number 50.

    I see alot of people here are commenting on things that they only think they know about. When you use the word "conservitive" here in the US you are not always talking about a Republican. The republican party has long been full of RINO's that are really "American Liberals" which means they are for more taxation and less freedom. The more you listen to what Barrock Obomma has to say about his socalled "changes" he wants to make the more you reallise that socialism is what he is really peddling. Now don't think that I like Mccain that much either. His policies will just end up being a baby step towards socialism. Now I can't believe that I here so much about religian being such a bad thing. Just because you believe in God, Guns, And Guts to back it up is not a bad thing in my book! That is what the USA was founded on (and in that order). Now onto Iraq: You people seem to think we are there because of 9/11. Far from the truth that is. We ended up doing something about Saddam because the UN would'nt back up the resolutions that they passed. And once again the US, UK, and some others had to step up again to do what the UN should have done to begin with! I guess thats the kind of UN you get when you let dictators in to run the place. Sara Palin would also be the best thing that could happen to the US because she gets done what the people really need done.

  • Comment number 51.

    45. At 3:00pm on 11 Sep 2008, eladler wrote:
    What does 9/11 have to do with Iraq?

    The same people who masterminded 9/11 are behind the suicide bombings in Iraq. Iraq is the current battlefield for USA v Islamo-fascism.

    Nowhere in the girl's statement does she say anything like 'I lost family on 9/11 so I'm glad we bought Saddam to justice' etc.

  • Comment number 52.

    I find it sad that a person who thinks fiscal and economic have identical meanings can consider someone else a dumb blond.

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree with #38 Peter_Sym.

    When it comes to manipulating the American people through use of the media, all party affiliations blend into one category: politicians!

  • Comment number 54.

    Finally,

    we New Yorkers with our sarcasm, our great cultural scene, our phenomenal institutions of higher learning and our crazy streets are "real American" as anyone else. Today we are not celebrating a tragedy, but the day our city took it, swallowed hard, and got on with life without loosing its legendary tolerance for foreign cultures and religions.

    That's American!



  • Comment number 55.

    Economic liberal: I support progressive taxation, social programs, and government regulation of the excesses of capitalism.

    Fiscal conservative: I don't believe in running deficits or printing money in order to do the above.

    Now that wasn't too complicated, was it boys?

    Note for the future how arrogance and condescension have a more deleterious effect on intelligence than blonde hair and vajayjays.

  • Comment number 56.

    Hey everyone, lay off Jordan. It could just be poor editing that made this student of liberal conservatism appear stupid.

    Perhaps she actually said that she was liberal with the way she shared her somewhat economic, nevertheless insightful, conservative fiscal views, and that her words were mixed up in editing.

    Then again, perhaps not....




  • Comment number 57.

    To Jordan (if you ever read this) and your friends:

    As a UK citizen, I'd like to apologise for the comments on this blog from people who - because they didn't understand or agree with your point of view - made a series of remarks about you that are discourteous and unforgivable.

    To said commenters: shame on you. Our society is going nowhere fast if we can't rediscover how to discuss issues without trying to put down those we don't agree with.

  • Comment number 58.

    America has demonstrated the problem with democracy - dumb and uneducated people have the same vote as everyone else.

  • Comment number 59.

    #51

    Before the invasion of Iraq, what did 9/11 have to do with Iraq?

  • Comment number 60.

    To quote the excellent Harry Lockhart from 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'....

    "it's literally like someone took America by the East Coast and *shook* it, and all the normal girls managed to hang on."

  • Comment number 61.

    "As I gazed out at the shimmering Pacific for the first time in my life, the sun beating down on my face, I realised that I was looking at the American dream."

    Close, but you don't quite get it.

    That feeling you had was uniquely Californian. It has nothing to do with fame and fortune. Looking out over the beach in California is inspirational and it creates an overwhelmingly positive feeling. It's something you won't soon forget and it's something you'll want to experience again in your life.

    My guess is you already had the impression that Los Angeles was all about fame and fortune and you were looking to confirm that. But you don't go to Venice Beach to find examples of it. And you don't pick an Iraq War supporter from Georgia as an example of the people there.

  • Comment number 62.

    I find it funny that Europeans always say how dumb Americans are and try to tell them how to vote, yet they're the superpower and we aint.

    How about that?

  • Comment number 63.

    If Education is safe (save?) with Sarah Palin, I just hope to God she can spell ........ If the standard of spelling in the comments on this blog are representative, it would appear to be a good learning objective. Sad to say, but my opinion that successful US presidents have all at one time or another worked to garner votes from the unwashed masses has not yet been vanquished.

  • Comment number 64.

    use a dictionary/thesaurus, people....

    "I'm a fiscal conservative and an economic liberal."

    WHAT?

    fiscal: adjective
    figures for the past fiscal year show a trend of improvement budgetary; financial, economic, monetary, money. See note at financial .

    economic: adjective
    1 economic reform financial, monetary, budgetary, fiscal; commercial.
    2 an economic alternative to carpeting cheap, inexpensive, low-cost, economical, cut-rate, discount, bargain. antonym expensive.

    it's not rocket science...

  • Comment number 65.

    'with a CND logo-print dress'!! A big difference in the US is that logo is not political so if it made you think she had a strong political view on anything you were sadly mistaken.

  • Comment number 66.

    I trust that readers world-wide will accept this story line for what it is; journalism-lite. Your correspondent is off to a bad start with Venice, CA. Doesn’t everybody already know about our American clichés? The photographs he posted indicate he is in Santa Barbara. Before he stumbles into my town (San Francisco) someone should tell him that he’ll find Las Vegas if he takes the eastbound 101. When he is back on track he might want to stop in Riverside county and report on the thousands of vacant (foreclosed) houses and the true state of our union thanks to 8 years of President Shrub, soon to be 12 with the advent of President McBush.

  • Comment number 67.

    Good for Ms. Peagler. She appears to be consistant in her conservative views with most American women; certainly those of her home city of Savannah. However, now that we know Obama has a Freudian problem with women that probably goes back to his questionable childhood, wherever that was; now might be a good time to note the merits of Ms. Palin who appears to stand up well against any of the Democrats in this election.
    ==McCAIN*PALIN 08==

  • Comment number 68.

    re no 62

    ?

  • Comment number 69.

    I don't care what her political views are she is hot and I am therefore fully prepared to listen to them at great length and pretend to agree with them in order to get her our for a coffee, which is what I am assuming Jon was doing?

    Though looking at Jon's photo I don't think even the "cute British accent" thing is going to do it for you this time mate.

  • Comment number 70.

    And so it begins - the put down of America. Why did we think we could hope for better than this from you? You would have used different terms but her statement makes sense to us because we name things differently than you do. You think Jordon was talking in circles so let me explain. She is a fiscal conservative and an economic liberal. That means while she is willing to jump into funding more programs (liberal), she expects the government to balance the check book (conservative). Provide less or make sure you have the money to provide more. It is that simple. So UK/ EU get off your high horse. If your just involved in this blog to put us down, please move on and leave the space to those who really want to contribute something intelligent.

  • Comment number 71.

    You can't? Better to talk with an attractive idiot than an unattractive one, don't you think?

  • Comment number 72.

    You don't seem to understand how we go into IRaq. So let me explain. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. We know that so get over it. HOWEVER, after 9-11 we realized that the extremists would go to great lengths to kill as many innocent people has possible. Iraq had claimed to have WMDs. At the end of the first gulf war, the cease fire was made requiring Sadaam to meet certain benchmarks and curtail certain behavior in return for him being allowed to remain in power. If he failed to meet the requirements, he would be removed. He signed this agreement. He didn't meet ANY of them. After 9-11, the USA/UK were determined to inspect these WMDs to our satisfaction. We wanted to establish if he had them and if he did - where they currently were. We were worried they would fall into the hands of terrorists. In short, he had to comply with cease fire agreement or be removed. He refused, he was removed - THE END. I have explained this to my family in England many times. They were surprised about the terms of the cease fire with the exception of the military men. It seems you are not as informed and perfect as you think you are.

  • Comment number 73.

    has anyone checked.. this girl is a professional model/actress..

    http://jordanpeagler1.exploretalent.com/model_page.php?talentnum=1088076

    is there something we should be told?

  • Comment number 74.

    Wow...as an American and a blond, I have to say I'm so embarrased and ashamed.

    Really? Why choose her? It makes this story read as if it was written by a high school student. Could you not wait around for 10 more minutes and find someone who didn't like Palin simply because of her STYLE?
    Sure, of course she meant fiscally conservative and socially liberal...but she is a freaking idiot, so yeah, she screwed it up because she has no idea of politics or any handle on the English language.

    Also, not to be a bear, but the writer forgot to put and end quote of that sentence that could have possibly come out of Bush's mouth.

    Please, pathetically poor choice of interviewee, poorly written article. You fail.

  • Comment number 75.

    Mr Kelly, please keep up the good work. I guess its not hard to find Jordan Peagler's but its certainly makes for good entertainment and a lively discussion forum! Hoping you can find some some more locals to share their wisdom...

  • Comment number 76.

    well done jon,you are really enlightening us about what makes america tick,like i say,a farce of massive proportions,an undereducated middle class bbc employee travelling around,cocooned in a 750 thousand pound luxury coach telling it as it really is,beyond ALL COMPREHENSION!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    #50

    In the holy words of Virgin Mary, come again ?

  • Comment number 78.

    I am not quite sure I understand, she says:

    "But some of my friends lost members of their family on 9/11. That will weigh heavily on the decision I make, and I think that pulling all the troops out of Iraq at this time isn't the way to go right now."

    why is she saying this?
    The war in Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or terrorism.
    Terrorists responsible for 9/11 are believed to be in Afghanistan, not Iraq.
    Actually, forces utilized for the nonsense war in Iraq could have been used to fight terrorism instead !
    So I don't understand. People have opinions based on what?

  • Comment number 79.

    As a Los Angeles native I am exceedingly embarrassed by Ms. Peagler's statements. Clearly they make no sense and she sounds like an idiot (and, it should be noted, she is not actually from Los Angeles). I promise - not all people from L.A. are like this! A great deal of us happen to be highly educated and well informed on national and international issues. Thank you for reading.

  • Comment number 80.

    Here I am for a stereotype ... I am Mexican with a ton of family in California, LA mainly. Fruit of my granddad's 2nd marriage with a German lady. The result ... very blode, very tall Californians who speak only English or, Citizens of the United States of America.

    Just assume that I grew up in Cali too, OK ?

    I do believe that the average a citizen of the world's so much claimed #1 economy and lets not forget military, should be smarter or brighter than actually is. Fact is that most settle with high school diplomas and 50 KUSD/year dead-end jobs. Education is a big problem in the US, and here we have Jordan proving it. You will find Jordan in each town and state in the US so please stop trying to find sense in her words, there is non, just as there is no sense in Palin's words either.

    It is true that Palin's nomination was a big popularity seeking move by the GOP.

    As to those of you questioning why Jon approached Jordan, well if you are males I don't think you need an explanation ... I can make jokes too in this forum, right ??

    A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election.
    - Bill Vaughan

    PIECE, oh no wait ... PEACE !

  • Comment number 81.

    It's hard to believe that, McCain is even close at this point. He puts Palin on the ticket ,and people go nuts. It is truly sad people know nothing about her and they believe she can be second in commad. How scary is this, Plus the GOP is keeping her away from the media hmmmm. Please dont ask Sarah a question of any meaning, will keep slamming Obama with bullshit stuff, it will make us look good.


    PS...Jordan is on crack

  • Comment number 82.

    I want to know why all the people leaping to the defense of this girl who obviously doesn't know what she is talking about, can't seem to agree on the definition of what she said.

    Fiscal means involving financial matters.
    In this way she is a conservative.

    Economy is the distribution and consumption of wealth.

    They are antithetical. You can't be finally conservative whilst liberally distributing and consuming. It is not possible.

    She's tried to look intelligent and come off looking stupid. Shes linked 9/11 to Iraq, which is VERY Dick Cheney of her. I'm afraid there is no defending a woman who is wearing a CND dress, but out of her mouth a juxtaposed opinion forms.

  • Comment number 83.

    In America we only get one vote. This one vote every 4 years is a poor excuse to run around being opininated boors.
    People want to discredit Jordan Peagler as if she is running for office.
    Jordan is Beautiful, young and warm. She lives in a very cool city. I think the world is greatly improved by an abundance of such lovely people.
    Beautiful and young has already passed most of us by. Warm and rich may still be an option for the rest of us, so stay cheerful, take control of your life and GO GET EM' . Judging Jordan harshly will likely just continue your own personal losing streaks.

  • Comment number 84.

    #76

    rainlawrence, did Jon shoot your dog or something? Do try to have a bit of perspective, you'll give yourself a heart attack otherwise.

  • Comment number 85.

    #50
    Just because you believe in God, Guns, And Guts to back it up is not a bad thing in my book! That is what the USA was founded on.

    I don't disagree that it is a bad thing persay, its just the anti homosexuality, anti abortion, pro book burning censorial extremism that occurs that worrres me.

  • Comment number 86.

    According to Wikipedia, Jordan is correct, I quote:

    Fiscal conservatism (also known as economic conservatism) is a political phrase term used in North America to describe advocacy of lower governmental spending practices and a lower federal debt;

    Theories in support of economic liberalism were developed in the Enlightenment, and believed to be first fully formulated by Adam Smith which advocates minimal interference by government in the economy, though it does not necessarily oppose the state's provision of a few basic public goods.

    Her comments were very lucid for someone just interviewed on the sidewalk.

  • Comment number 87.

    I believe she either said or meant to say (not that I would ever doubt the accuracy of the quote as reported ;-) Socially conservative and Fiscally liberal or vice versa.....so she's either a penny-pinching anarchist tramp or a free-spending, pork-barreling prude....at least we know where she stands on the issues.

  • Comment number 88.

    "I like her style and manner"...

    Of course. Southern California is all about Style and Manner. That's why Arnold works well as their GOP Governor... and perhaps why Palin was such a delightfully strategic pick.

    While you're in Venice, be sure to check out the Roller Disco folks down by Gold's Gym. They're quite good.

  • Comment number 89.

    I find it MIND BOGGLING that after America has been raped by Geoge Bush and Dick Cheney, that any number of people at all would be able to get themselves into a state of denial so deep that they could even consider voting for John McCain. He not a bad guy but he has proven after 30 years in Washington that he represents the status quo--things exactly as they are and I don't know if your state of denial is so great that you have not noticed that the US is in a very bad place right now. If you think otherwise you are blind. If McCain wins I am leaving this country. I can't believe the ignorance that prevails here at times.

  • Comment number 90.

    A fine example of why Europeans find America so laughable.

    9/11 Ceremony in NY. Can someone tell me where I can find in the USA a ceremony remembering the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed in Iraq?

    If you do find one, is it on any News Channels ? I wonder?

  • Comment number 91.

    I luv teh economy itz lyk so kewl and junk

  • Comment number 92.

    MilkyWayBox....

    I think she said that because she is "undecided". She needs some more time in Venice, California and perhaps some San Francisco/Berkeley therapy time to draw the conclusion that the past 8 years the US has been a disaster for the rest of the world.

    Please send more of these types to California so they can be convereted, and the conservative right in the US defeated once and for all!

  • Comment number 93.

    I guess the irony is lost on that moronic blonde. You can't wear a dress with a gigantic peace symbol and be for the war in Iraq! Peace means peace under all circumstances regardless of friends family members that died in 9-11. Maybe she just likes the idea of peace. Every race and society has its bad apples and we would be hypocrites to proclaim our inoscence. The foreign policies of the US lead to 9-ll. Its a CIA term called blowback.

  • Comment number 94.

    true story, around the Bush's second election I was for business in Columbus, OH and while hitting on the beatiful bar tender ( BBT ), my French colleague had to unfortunatelly bring politics up ... ( we were almost there Flo !! ). Anyway :

    Flo : Are you voting Bush again ?
    BBT : Of course I am.
    SanMartin : What ?! Why ?!
    BBT : Because I think he will keep our country safe from further atacks, I like feeling safe.
    Flo : Safe in what way ?
    BBT : Like when I travel on planes and such.
    SanMartin : Do you travel a lot ?
    BBT : Not really. But I want to be safe when I do so.
    Flo : Have you been on long flights ?
    BBT : No.
    SanMartin : Have you been abroad ? Mexico or France maybe ?
    BBT : No I have never been away from Columbus.

    After a couple of minutes of LOLing, we went back to our hotel rooms ....... alone.

    One week later Diamond Darrel ( Pantera's guitar player ), was shot down to dead at a show in Columbus ...

    So much for safety huh .... The thing is that my BBT is pretty much Jordan but in OH. Voting, if so, for the least important reasons, like style.

  • Comment number 95.

    You should have interviewed Arthur. The former Bank of England whiz who dropped out and ended up reading Tarot cards on Venice Beach . You missed all of the oldies but goodies, Venice characters. They aren't that hard to find.

  • Comment number 96.

    See, if only John McCain's team had known about Jordan Peagler, they could have picked a running mate based on shrewd political insight and vision, rather than a crude appeal to that portion of the moronic electorate whose buttons McCain does not push.

    Incidentally, why is nobody asking Jon Kelly why he chose to interview Nicholas Omana? I think he has a thing for burly men in grey t-shirts.

  • Comment number 97.

    Well God bless Jordan. Her parents obviously raised her well. it's great to be pleasantly surprised by so fetching a young lady.

  • Comment number 98.

    I'd like to make a point about Malaka57's post (number 2).

    He/she claims that "The GOP has turned a budget surplus into a 8 TRILLION dollar deficit in 8 years. " Now, I have no sympathies for the republican administration of the last 8 years, but we should never be misleading. Malaka is using "deficit" and "national debt" interchangeably, and they are very different concepts.

    8 years ago, the national debt was $5.6 trillion, now it's about $9 trillion and rising. As a percent of GDP, it rose modestly from 35.1% to around 37%.

    8 years ago, the national surplus was 236 billion, while today the US has a deficit of 240 billion.

    Eventhough I agree with Malaka's statement that "The state of education in the US is in worse shape than I even thought...", he/she should check his/her own facts before being critical of somebody else's education.

  • Comment number 99.

    Jordan, Sarah Palin called, she wants her huntin' knife back.

    Once again another potential US voter proves they have no clue, what is going on in the world.

  • Comment number 100.

    In response to Davidwoolf's comment - I wouldn't read too much into that, pretty much everyone in LA is an aspiring model/actress/writer from what I have picked up from watching too much TV over the years.

 

Page 1 of 3

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC.co.uk