October 22, 2007

The LA Apocalypse All Over Again

The weather conditions out here in LA are identical to those of exactly four years ago: a drought year and hot winds off the desert. So, the whole place is on fire once more. The end is nigh, which tends to make a lot of people, many of them Southern Californians, rather pleased. Here's a quote from my UPI article from October 30, 2003 on "Los Angeles and the Apocalyptic Imagination:"

According to journalist Mike Davis, who became L.A.'s favorite prophet of calamity with his foreboding local bestseller "Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster," Southern California is widely seen as "the doom capital of the universe."

He wrote in 1998, "The destruction of Los Angeles has been the central theme or dominating image in more than a hundred and fifty novels, short stories, and films." Davis counts 49 fictional local nuclear attacks, 28 earthquakes, six floods, and 10 hordes of invading creatures that have helped brand "the City of Angels as a theme park for Armageddon."

Davis himself can't resist trumpeting such alarming but trivial threats to residents as tornados, man-eating coyotes, and killer bees. [More]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

12 comments:

stencil said...

"The destruction of Los Angeles has been the central theme or dominating image in more than a hundred and fifty novels, short stories, and films."

yeah but how many got it right: a massive invasion of la raza reversing civilization as if in a ghastly time machine experiment.

Anonymous said...

The City of Angles is our modern day Sodom and Gomorrah so it’s understandable many interpret fender benders on the 405 as the opening salvo of God bringing fire and brimstone down from heaven.

A more powerful explanation is the gonorrheic somdomite creative class in LA and NY that produce books, screenplays, music and film where drama is set in their hometown or that of their rival.

Robert said...

After this, I hope that people in Southern California will stop hectoring me about the weather in my hometown of Chicago when I visit. Yes we may have snow and it is cold in January, but I have never had to evacuate my house because of Mother Nature. Earthquakes, mudslides, riots, overdevelopment, and every few years you have to leave your house and hope to God that it will be there when you finally are allowed back! I would rather shovel snow!

Fred said...

Steve,

Are you personally effected by these fires? Will you need to evacuate?

Steve Sailer said...

Nah, I live down in the plebian flats, surrounded by asphalt, far from any brush.

Natural disasters in SoCal (except for earthquakes) used to have a fun class angle, because brushfires, mudslides, and big waves disproportionately wiped out the homes of the rich, indeed of celebrities. Now, though, so many people have spilled out into the hills that they are more equal opportunity disasters.

Anonymous said...

That's a big "except," Steve. The Northridge quake of 1994 seemed to do the most damage to the endless line of crappy, stucco-sided apartment buildings running east-west through the center of the San Fernando Valley.

Steve Sailer said...

Right. The Northridge Quake devastated building that were built on top of old riverbeds. My dad plotted all the condemned buildings versus a map of the old river washes and found a very high correlation.

In the flat parts of Southern California, riverbeds tended (before they were encased in concrete) to be about a half mile wide, with a trickle of water down the middle, surrounded by sand and gravel and boulders dragged down by the erratic big floods. After the 1938 flood, the LA River and other rivers were encased in concrete, allowing people to build in floodplains that had previously been uninhabitable.

Unfortunately, "a house built on sand" takes a much worse shaking in an earthquake than one built on, say, clay.

Dennis Dale said...

yeah but how many got it right: a massive invasion of la raza reversing civilization as if in a ghastly time machine experiment.

Blade Runner comes to mind.

Nah, I live down in the plebian flats, surrounded by asphalt, far from any brush.

George Bush doesn't care about rich white people. He hasn't even yet ordered Air Force One to fly over the devastation so he can be photographed looking down on it.
How will SoCal contend without a presidential photo-op blitz a la New Orleans?

Anonymous said...

Although I'm somewhat disappointed that Matheson's "I am Legend" is being moved from LA to New York, I'm sure Will Smith will do Neville's character some fair amount of justice. You just can't do decent destruction like a good old "vampire-plague-run-rampant" film.

evil Neocon said...

For those of us born and raised in the LA area, this is home. The suburban sprawl, nondescript buildings, unique fall sunlight and dry air, it all means ... home.

I don't want to see LA destroyed. It's home.

green mamba said...

George Bush doesn't care about rich white people.

I've been wondering when someone would bring up this angle. The parallels and contrasts to the New Orleans disaster might be interesting to examine.

Lewyn said...

"The destruction of Los Angeles has been the central theme or dominating image in more than a hundred and fifty novels, short stories, and films."

Here's an hypothesis: residents of major national cities (in our country, New York and Los Angeles) feel more important if they think their city is either the best or the worst at everything. So if something's going wrong, it has to be a DISASTER, the WORST in America, maybe the WORST ever ... otherwise their city isn't so significant.

An analogy: Before Giuliani, New Yorkers I knew had to believe that their city was absolutely the MOST dangerous place in America, no matter how much statistical evidence I threw at them that even in the bad old days of Dinkins, their city was Sunnybrook Farm compared to such plebian places as Atlanta or the District of Columbia (let alone the real hellholes like Detroit or Gary, Indiana).

Similarly, some Los Angeles residents need to believe that their disasters are the worst in the world- to sustain their image of LA as a REALLY IMPORTANT place, it has to be either a tropical paradise or a complete dystopia. Mediocrity simply will not do.