Which region is the greater threat to humanity: Northern California or Southern California?
That’s the most urgent question raised by 2023’s great cinematic contest between Oppenheimer and Barbie.
Sure, these are entertaining films about a physicist and a doll. But both movies are also, in no small part, California-based stories about global nightmares, about the Earth-altering threat of bombs and bombshells alike.
Embedded in those nightmares are warnings about the damage that Northern and Southern California can do when we send our ideas out into the world.
Oppenheimer is the Northern California nightmare. While …