November 12, 2006


"[W]hat is perhaps most Californian about Hollywood films is not necessarily the specific representation of California locales or experiences but the very ability of the place, indoors or outdoors, to represent any experience whatever." — Dana Polan in "California Through The Lens of Hollywood” (in Barron, Bernstein and Fort's "Reading California").

I'd be more inclined to say it's also less to do with representing any experience whatever than with representing no experience whatever, in all the different nuances of the phrase.

(Polan — like so many others here — seems to assume that everyone grew up with an image of California (from movies or cartoons, or even (especially!) Disneyland), but I had no mental image whatever of California until I was an adult — it just wasn’t an explict part of my consciousness at all. It’s very Californian to assume it must have been….

To give it its due, Hollywood has a long rich tradition of dismantling its own myths in things like noir; but it’s also a very Californian exceptionalism thing to believe it’s important and necessary to do so…).

(Part of California).


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