February 22, 2008

The SoCal/NorCal Divide

Californians are like ... sooo stereotypical. Or so the average American is inclined to believe. And everyone seems to have their minds made up about those crazy west-coasters. But make no mistake, no single culturally infused image can lay claim to such a vast, diverse state. California is home to a plethora of stereotypes. But is there any truth in these perceptions? After all, one man's survey did find that "63 percent of Californians have actually hugged a tree". I'm not here to argue with such remarkable journalism, but I would like to shed some light on a critical component of Californian pseudo-reality ... the North/South divide.

Count me in.

I live in SOUTHERN California. The SOUTHERN is an important distinction. "SoCal" and "NorCal" are two completely different worlds. It's Los Angeles vs. San Francisco ... palm trees vs. redwoods ... Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. Southern California is the California of movies, valley girls, gang violence, and sunny beaches. Northern California is the land of academics and environmentalists, philosophy and nature. Take a camera and a passport if you travel north from LA, because it's a whole different experience. In fact, most Californian stereotypes can be broken down along geographic divisions and classified as either "NorCal" or "SoCal". For example ... the classic surfer image or the self-absorbed Hollywood star ... clearly "SoCal". And how about the geeky dot-com entrepreneur or the hemp-wearing, pot smoking, living in the trees naturalist ... most definitely, "NorCal".

SoCal Dave

NorCal Dave

Yes, "NorCal" and "SoCal" have there differences ... and the two don't always care much for each other. Google "NorCal vs. SoCal" and you're sure to find some heated online debate. But perhaps the heat is mostly coming from one direction ... in the form of "NorCal Rage." A UC Davis wiki points out that Southern Californians are subjected to much hatred from the North, including "mean-spirited, feverishly-pitched sermons against the practice of using the article 'the' in conjunction with freeway names." The Southerners, however, "are born, live, and die without Northern California's existence ever crossing their minds." Visiting Northerners are "treated with polite bemusement, as emissaries from a distant land that many believed mythical." Regardless of this apathy, many NorCal residents are concerned about a takeover from the south. And if we didn't already have a nice even 50 states, we'd probably be looking at a split.

Side note: In the event of a split, the big question would be what to do with all the rural desert communities and vast subsidized farmlands that lay in between. I'd say give 'em to the north. All those farms soak up the water reserves like Sponge Bob in a rainstorm, so let the "greens" figure that one out. The south has more pressing problems ... like Snoop Dogg's most recent conviction or the latest Britney meltdown.


Where's the love?

But in spite of our differences, there is one thing that unequivocally unites all Californians together ... a deep, heart felt belief that the world drops off into oblivion just beyond our state's border. Californian's LOVE California and, as such, maintain an apathetic disregard for all things non-Californian. Yes, we have our squabbles ... and yes, we are out of touch with the rest of America. But we're not concerned. Long live the Republic of California!

17 comments:

Jerry W said...

hahah. =) Dave, you're actually a really great writer. i enjoy reading your stuff.

Kristy said...

I really like the "the" in front of freeway numbers. I think I will take that one with me wherever I go.

This was quite funny and enlightening!

Ken said...

The "the" in front of the freeway numbers is actually very intriguing. I'm from nor cal and I go to school in so cal, so I know both trends. Its interesting becuz whenever I'm in so cal, I tend to automatically say "the 10", "the 60", etc. But when I'm back home in nor cal, I go back to saying "80", "280", etc. Seems like an adaptation thing, becuz saying things like "the 80" or just "10" both sound really weird to me.

Paul said...

There's "Nor Cal rage" because the thousands of So Cal natives that move to Nor Cal are bimbos and dilute our deep culture with their meaningless shallow half-brained attitudes. And who wants that? Duh.

Ed said...

great read! and I agree with paul!

turtle951 said...

haha nice article. I was born in San Diego, and have never left SoCal... I plan to die here.

Anonymous said...

People from Norcal grow all the crops and have all the water; LA especially could not survive without these "fruits" of the North.

joules said...

david! you're hilarious... you hugged a tree! LOL.

mrs-chriswilson said...

Haha, this is great! I'm from San Jose, I go to school in Santa Barbara, and my roommates are from San Diego and Bakersfield. San Diego and I were laughing through out the whole article, and Bakersfield was properly offended by the side note :)

natacat said...

I loved reading a post seeking to straighten out the stereotypes of CA... by riddling it with stereotypes xD

Loren said...

This is so great lol. Finally someone explains the differences in a way i could understand. At last! thanks.

Ryan from the City said...

I'm from San Francisco and I think you have it completely backwards in terms of who is oblivious to one another. Your correct that we've got all the Silicone Valley geeks and Santa Cruz hippies, and the surfer boy stereo type of So Cal is spot on. But the only time we really hear about or think about L.A. Is in the event of some natural catastrophe. The southland is home to a majority of Californians so your cities are bigger. But the bay area is a much more urban place and San Francisco is the only real 'true' metropolitan city in California. It's hilarious when my friends come to visit from L.A., they are confused and intimidated. Everybody I know says the 101 or the 880 so I don't know what your talking about 'the' for. We do say 'hella' a lot, and my SoCal friends don't so that about the only language difference. A better way to tell a so Cal from a Nor Cal native is the tans, or lack of and style. We dress slot more sophisticated, So Cal is way more laid back.

Dylan F. said...

Dave. I'm from SF. We got no hate for you Angelinos! When my friends visit from L.A. They are not looked down upon, they are just another visitor from another place, and are shown mad love. Our city by the bay is only 7 miles in each direction, weve got to get along here! We locals are much more concerned getting intruded upon by our friends from San Jose and Oakland, we don't mind you guys much. I don't feel much love when I visit L.A., I wore a sharks jersey to a ducks game on a recent visit and felt like I was going to get mobbed, and we all know we got no love at Dodger stadium. L.A. and San Diego are great places, but if we split, you guys can keep the farms and Bakersfield. All we need is Tahoe and were hella cool!

Anonymous said...

um in a way your right nor cal is full of hippies weed smokers and laid back people but we rarley think about the south and stuff this place aint full of nerds it all depends what part ur at mostly its gangbangers north siders vs southsiders its not exactly about the people in so cal and the ones in nor cal

Anonymous said...

all those "rural desert communities" feed both Socal and Norcal as well as the rest of the U.S so tread carefully

Anonymous said...

Every time somebody moves from SoCal to NorCal the average IQ of both regions is decreased.

Anonymous said...

Pretty accurate really i'm from San francisco and yes I favor Nor Cal I love the fog, the geeks, the wierdos, the cold summers and just everything about it but i have to say Socal beats anything thats not California
ps. who hasn't hugged a tree???