California after Arnold

California after Arnold

California after Arnold

California after Arnold

Excerpt

This book is about two global phenomena — Arnold Schwarzenegger and California — and their interaction with each other. Both are stars in their own right.

Arnold — as he is known around the world — is a bigger-than-life, top box office, Hollywood movie star. His every move is watched by legions of fans and movie star groupies everywhere. Two incidents that occurred during the writing of this book illustrate the scale of his notoriety. The first occurred on the grounds of the State Capitol in Sacramento. A group of young people was posing for photos at the bottom of the stairs, when one asked in Russian-accented English, “Is this where Arnold works?” It is a jarring question when one realizes that these people probably lived thousands of miles away on another continent and were now standing in front of a building that most Californians never visit. The second incident was even more amazing — “Schwarzenegger” is in MS Word spell-check. Can anyone conceive of the idea that such an agglomeration of consonants and vowels would be in spellcheck? Arnold is everywhere. Foreign newspapers track every burp and belch of the California state budget crisis because of him. Many of them asked the question “has Arnold’s legacy been tarnished” when his budget propositions failed in the May 2009 special election. While the impact of California’s financial crisis on the national and global economy would be significant by the very size of California’s economy, no doubt Arnold’s role in the drama has added to the stories and additional circulation to newspapers.

California is equally a star and has been one since long before Arnold. It is not only the most populous state in the United States; it is a state of mind. Indeed California, as the home of Hollywood and the movie industry, made Arnold, not the other way around. California has been many things to many people. Its geographic diversity is remarkable. Just about any geographic area that you can find elsewhere in the United States, you can find in California. California has in the space of 85 miles the highest point in the lower forty-eight states and the lowest point in North America.

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