• Connecting California

    Why Californians Secretly Love Earthquakes

    While Destructive, Tremblers Have Been a Force for Progress and They Give Our Lives Meaning

    by Joe Mathews

    Of all the lies Californians tell ourselves, one of the biggest is that we hate earthquakes.
      The unspoken truth is that we love earthquakes, as well we should. ...

  • Essay

    How ‘Gangnam Style’ Saved My Life

    Growing Up in Seoul's Iconic Neighborhood in the ’90s, K-Pop Fantasies Were My Alternate Universe

    by So-Rim Lee

    I grew up in the section of Seoul known as Gangnam, long before Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became a worldwide K-pop hit by touting the neighborhood, its affluence, and the rise of Korea’s pop culture. Yet the seeds of Gangnam’s …

  • In the Green Room

    Journalist Sandy Banks

    I Try Not to Keep My Talents Hidden

    Sandy Banks is a veteran journalist and senior fellow with the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. She is best known for her Los Angeles Times columns, and she was also part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Before joining a Zócalo/Getty event titled “Did Truth …

New at Zócalo


Forget Girls and Guns, We Love James Bond Because He Always Triumphs Over Machines

The Suave Character Soothes Our Anxieties About the Power of Humans in an Increasingly Technological World

by André Millard

Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels have been enjoyed by a global audience since the 1950s, and the films constitute the longest running and most profitable franchise in the history of the movies. This fictional character is a global icon admired by millions.
  What explains 007’s enduring appeal?
  Adventure, guns, and girls, surely. But Bond’s long-standing popularity can’t be separated from our relationship with technology. The Bond character consistently embodies our ever-changing fears about the threat of new technology and assuages our anxieties about the decline of human agency in a world increasingly run by machines.
  Ian Fleming made Bond a modernizing hero, and the centrality of his gadgets in the films have established Bond, armed with watches capable of creating magnetic fields or Aston Martins ...


by Iker Saitua

One enduring myth of the American West is that people of Basque origins or ancestry came to dominate sheepherding because of the skills they brought with them from the old country.
  The real story is less about sheep and more about migration, desperation—and money.
  In the 1850s, some Basque families, including the Altubes and the Garats, arrived in California as its mining economy expanded. These early Basques had previously fled to South America during the problematic path of transition from the old regime to a liberal state in the early 19th century. But during the gold rush, these Basques set out again, eager to join the economic exploitation of California’s land and resources. Some stayed in the West, starting business ventures in livestock ranching and related products to feed the new state’s expanding population. Today, some Basque-Americans who inherited their immigrant fathers’ or even grandfathers’ stock businesses are still raising meat on the hoof. ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews