Doing the Apocalypse Rag


Nothing like a murderous natural disaster to get Southern Californians? latent self-Schadenfreude working in high gear. Here?s L.A. Times letter-writer Chris Cutter:

Though the homeowners are guilty of nothing more than wanting to live in a nice home, the developers are a different story. Honestly? The politically incorrect part of me is looking up to our desecrated mountains and saying "burn, baby, burn."

Cutter, ironically, was writing from the San Fernando Valley foothill community of Chatsworth, known mostly for being the porn capital of the world, but lately for being at the front lines of the Simi Valley fire. A Times account skillfully blends the two:

Asia Carrera, an adult film actress who lives in a Chatsworth townhome, fled with her two cats in her metallic blue Corvette. She packed some clothes and her computer because she also runs an online porn business.

She said she lived in Calabasas during the Calabasas-Malibu fire in 1993. "I've been through it before, but this is a lot bigger," she said. "I didn't sleep at all last night. I read all night. I sat by the window and looked at the sky glowing red."

And what of apocalyptic prophet Mike Davis, author of the seminal and factually stretched Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster (reviewed by Nick Gillespie here), which featured the classic chapter The Case for Letting Malibu Burn? He?s got a fire column up over at AlterNet, pointing out that, ?It is, of course, the right time of the year for the end of the world.? Then he dances an extended recall jig:

Fire ? is politically ironic. Right now, as I watch San Diego's wealthiest new suburb, Scripps Ranch, in flames, I recall the Schwarzenegger fund-raising parties hosted there a few weeks ago. This was an epicenter of the recent recall and gilded voices roared to the skies against the oppression of an out-of-control public sector. Now Arnold's wealthy supporters are screaming for fire engines, and "big government" is the only thing standing between their $3 million homes and the ash pile.

Halloween fires, of course, burn shacks as well as mansions, but Republicans tend to disproportionately concentrate themselves in the wrong altitudes and ecologies. Indeed it is striking to what extent the current fire map (Rancho Cucamonga, north Fontana, La Verne, Simi Valley, Vista, Ramona, Eucalyptus Hills, Scripps Ranch, and so on) recapitulates geographic patterns of heaviest voter support for the recall.