Going to California

Just north of Bakersfield, CA. My dad worked in this dirt for many years.

Sometimes I really wonder about the whole notion of travel. There have been a bunch of shows on TV lately themed with that everpresent cliché “Going to California.” Hey, I was born and raised there, but have you ever wondered why three quarters of programs of this type spend most of their time on the trip across the middle of the country? Could it be that California, by itself, isn’t really all that interesting?

Okay, here is why I think that California holds such fascination. Imported things always have a much greater mystique than things that are native. As a California “native” the thing that always amazed me about the place was— nothing is native there. Virtually all the native plant and animal species were destroyed in the late 19th century, not to mention the native occupants. Most of what people think of as California came from somewhere else. Since everything is imported, everything is fascinating. Or maybe it’s because California has such great travel writers.

Booking Passage looks at several books concerning travel writing, with less than startling conclusions. Everyone craves adventure, and Nicolas Howe’s summary of The Best of American Travel Writing 2000 rings true:

One might also call this genre “testosterone travel” or “exploraporn.” For the testing of masculinity figures frequently in these pieces, as do seductive appeals to vicarious experience. These accounts are today’s versions of the adventure stories that ran thirty or fifty years ago in barbershop or cigar-store magazines such as Argosy: sagas of peril in the jungle or in the desert, for real men with hair on their chests and time on their hands.

The again, maybe California is such an attractive destination because it’s the capitol of porn. From softcore Hollywood, to hardcore, California has it all. In your dreams. The reality is far more oily and sooty.

There I go again. What is it about me, California, and Porn? Add stick figures and Shakespeare and you’ve pretty much summed up the month thus far. Tales for the L33T puts it all together in a flash animation. Romeo and Juliet with smutty dialogue in a long and tedious stick figure theater. Now this is really scary.

Of course, it’s even scarier that another link that showed up on Blogdex is findyourspot.com. This site purports to find the perfect place for you to live, if you take their quiz. Of course, they want to collect a bunch of marketing information. I’m sure blowme@spam.com is getting a big increase in traffic. The results? Every city it recommended to me was in the South, except one in Pennsylvania and one in North Carolina. Tennessee seemed to be the top pick. Hmm, maybe I’m not that far off from where I want to be.