With Charles Manson Gone, California Needs a New Villain

An Archetypal Bad Guy Could Unify the Golden State. Here Are Some Contenders.

It’s hard to find a villain who can bring Californians together these days.

That—more than any other factor—is why Charlie Manson’s death produced so many remembrances in California media. Manson was a murderer, but he also represented the time, a half-century ago, when people had enough in common to share certain experiences—like fear of the crazed killers of the Manson Family.

Today, it’s difficult to think of a villain we all have in common. Politically, we’re too polarized to agree on who is the bad guy. Academically, we’ve discredited the notion of …

More In: Silicon Valley

Is A/B Product Testing Turning Us into Silicon Valley’s Lab Rats?

The Tech Industry Says It's Helping Us Shape the Future, But Our Clicks Could Entrap Us

A:
Test me all night, baby.

No, really. Sign me up to be the subject of A/B testing. I’d even be willing to sign a blanket consent form, right now, …

All Aboard, Bay Area, on Your Fast Train to Wasco

This Kern County Town, a Conduit for High-Speed Rail, Has a Lot to Offer

Dear Bay Area,

Welcome to Wasco.

You may never have heard of this small city of 25,000 in the San Joaquin Valley. You probably can’t pronounce it (it’s WAW-skoh).

But you and …

Why It’s So Hard to Speak Silicon Valley

Rather Than Engage With California, Our Humorless Tech Overlords Hide Behind a Wall of Jargon

You can’t talk to people in Silicon Valley anymore. They don’t even speak our language.

By that, I’m not referencing Mark Zuckerberg’s mediocre Mandarin or the software code underlying so much …

The Sun Always Shines on the California Empire

The Golden State, Not the U.S., Is the Worthiest Successor to Britain’s Global Supremacy

The sun has set on the British Empire. Its successor, America, is showing signs of decline. But one empire still has plenty of battery life: California.

This is true even …

No City Is Immune From an Identity Crisis

Beware, Hollywood and Silicon Valley: If Bakersfield Can Lose Its Signature Industry, So Can You

Can you imagine Southern California without Hollywood? Or the Bay Area without Silicon Valley?

No? History suggests that the identities of cities and regions are more fragile, and their central industries …