Erik Davis on California

California is remarkably resilient. I remain cautiously optimistic that the state will find some inventive and not entirely sucky ways to remake and reimagine itself once again, in the face of white decline, an income chasm, a 21st-century drought, and the brilliant idiocy of hyperactive technology. I also remain reliably irritated by the propensity of East Coast and European thinkers to reduce the cultural and metaphysical complexities of the state to some purported “California ideology.” While the Bay Area’s commingling of hippie libertarianism with hardcore corporate capitalism is indeed a peculiar and in many ways noxious brew, the tag is crude and parochial, a tired iteration of Old World superiority, and one that serves to cloak and deny the countless ways that California has been — and, to some degree, continues to be — a site of creative struggle, recombinant culture, embodied exploration, and social invention. I met Richard Barbrook shortly after he co-coined the phrase in the 1990s. He was a nice enough bloke, and I can’t begrudge anyone I share a spliff with, but when I told him I lived in San Francisco, he asked how I could stand living so far from civilization.

The rest of the brilliant interview here.

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