Came into California yesterday. Passed through San Francisco airport en route to Orange County where the kids picked me up. Today is the perfect weather that is southern California besides the beach. We pulled out the bicycles, pumped the tires, raised the seats (for the boys have grown a year older and taller) and rode to the huge pool newly renovated with more palm trees. As the sun got hotter we retreated to the shade and then home to the PlayStation and the games left untouched since last summer.
I will spend a month here with the two oldest grandsons come from Iowa, pale as north Germans or Irish bred for the bogs and forests—-and the two California grandkids who are as brown as berries and reflect their paternal Russian Jewish origins.
Meanwhile I speculate on wealth and mining in California –which is no longer viable. And wonder how this state remains solvent. Maybe a movie can enlighten us: One is California Company Town. Reviewed thus:
Much of film is composed of static long takes of 14 West Coast towns including Darwin, McKittrick, Kaweah, Chester, Scotia, et al. Schmittnarrates the mini-histories of these places, which currently resemble ghost towns, while juxtaposing her shots with archival stills and footage of the busy, more “innocent” glory days when industry and labor first developed the territories. Sadly, according to Schmitt, greed and lack of true entrepreneurial spirit destroyed not only the environment but the lives of the workers, who were forced to leave when the mining and lumber jobs dried up.
I find this pathetic and sentimental nonsence. We have all left some place or other when jobs dried up. I fail to resonate with the concept that static, everlasting continuity is the only “good.” Who-ever, or what-ever fundamental law dictates that once a person is in a place, that place must persist unchanged forever? And if it fails to persist forever, what law says the non-persistence constitutes a human, social, and environmental failure?
I recommend a trip to the Galapogos Islands and a long enforced period of rest to read Darwin for these silly young ladies and gentlemen of the press who dream (at the age of twenty) of perpetual and continuous peace for the next sixty years. They are deluded—-no better than a tribe of ostrich with their heads in the sand. We are better off avoiding their movies, films, articles, and books. We are far better going back to the classics of Darwin and Verdi and seeing the unalloyed truth than perusing the idealistic nonsense put out by these modern-day unintelligensia.
My own kids are hide-bound by the California lies. They tell my over-aggressive and belligerent grandson whenever he misbehaves: “Bad choice.” The grandson’s choice is not bad—in fact it is an entirely rational choice if you are an aggressive little fellow with brains. He will fight and succeed in the tough world that is California. But first he will have to get over this silliness of the concept of good and bad choices as a basis for action. He will have to learn to recognize the difference between useful versus un-useful choice. He will have to learn to recognize the difference between successful versus un-successful choices. Good versus bad is too simple and simplistic for a smart little Californian kid.
I am certain none of the seven grandkids will study the history of California mining camps as the basis of understanding human nature and human societies. My guess is they will fight or negotiate their way to success in what-ever fields they choose. But maybe one, just one, of them will chance on this posting and twenty years hence recognize the day that gave rise to these thoughts and recognize how wonderfully lucky they were to grow up in California or Iowa and be an America.