Via the economist Tyler Cowen, I learned today that the artist Ed Ruscha is from Oklahoma.
When I mentioned this to Lissa, she wisely observed that many of the people we think are from California are not. That’s one of the central points of Carey McWilliams’ classic “California: The Great Exception”, which I am rereading. McWilliams’ snapshot in time is California’s enormous explosion in human energy and population in the decade of the 1940s. (The book was published in 1949.) The book is about California’s marvelous and chaotic talent for self-invention as one wave after another of population pours in and does new things.
My Mom is from California. My Dad was part of the same post-McWilliams wave as Ruscha. I’m not sure if I think of Dad as quintessentially Californian, whatever that means, except that he obviously was, one of those immigrants who made the place.