Rich Hall's California Stars
Rich Hall continues his cultural critique of American people and places.
California has always been an empty sales pitch. Its first settlements were borne of missionary zeal. It promised a haven from marauders, banditos and mercenaries. Since then it has wiled us with unlimited gold, boundless harvests, silver-screen stardom, dotcom salvation and hi-tech silicon marvels. It has always been a place that promises a good chance of success-if you're youthful or white. And if you're Mexican, it at least promises a decent chance of survival.
The California dream has always eclipsed its facts or its history. Most other US states are named after geographical place names or Indian tribes or British royalty - New York, Nebraska, Maryland. California was named for Calafia, a mythical Spanish queen, a kind of Spanish Snow White. At the California History Attraction in Anaheim she is portrayed in a 20-minute film narrated by Whoopi Goldberg.
And that's California in a nutshell - a place that instantly forgets its past so it can reinvent it for tourists and dreamers. True reality has never been good enough for Californians. They are always vaguely dissatisfied with themselves, their bodies, their spirituality, their government and their present car. Yet they still believe they shape both American culture and American character. And to a large degree, they have.
In his unique and sardonic way, Rich takes the viewer on a skewed but keenly eyed journey to the place built on a tectonic faultline that still deigns to call itself the Land of Dreams.
|Series Producer||John McCormack|