Politics, Pictures, and Place in Southern California

  • Presentation for the Graduate Student Conference in Historical Social Science at SUNY Binghamton (April 29, 2005)
In 2003, the FOX network began airing a television program called The O.C., and it became a cultural phenomenon. Now in its second season and averaging more than 8 million viewers a week, it has become a powerful marketing tool for the real Orange County as well as other media ventures. In fact, it made such an impact, that for a while there was even consideration by some county officials to rename Santa Ana’s John Wayne Airport to The O.C. Airport. However, the popularity of this television program as well as its deliberate use of Southern California’s very real spatial class divide has also upset people. This paper seeks to examine the syngergistic relationship between politics, pictures and place in Southern California via The O.C.. In particular it looks at the unequal development in regards to access to culture and the built environment.