Tag: earthquake

Shakin’ All Over

Last week, for the second time this month, we had a significant temblor give our house a shake. We live in Los Angeles, so this kind of thing is not unexpected. Our one-year-old son, native Californian that he is, even slept through the last one.

But I’ve noticed something more than a little off-putting about the nation’s reaction to California earthquakes. Message boards and internet commentary usually light with people proclaiming their earnest wish that all of us out here in California, well, just die horrible deaths.

Some of the comments I saw included, “Too bad it wasn’t the Big One,” and “Waiting for California to slide into the ocean. Goodbye, weirdoes!” and “If only earth would finish the job and slide that festering leftist infection into the depths of the Pacific.”

It doesn’t seem to work the other way. When tornadoes hit Missouri, I don’t see commentators wishing that the entire state be blown away. And when hurricanes hit Florida, there is often an outpouring of goodwill and wishes for those in the storm’s path.

But California? Well, I guess we deserve to get swallowed up by the Earth.


Of course, a lot of the animosity is directed toward our state’s undocumented immigrants, which if you believe right-wing media, currently account for 90 percent of the population.

The rest of it seems to be a combination of petty jealousy over our good weather, disdain for Hollywood celebrities, and vitriol aimed at our state’s frequently liberal policies.

But regardless of your political viewpoint, I would add that if the thought of thousands, perhaps, millions of your fellow Americans meeting a sudden, violent death is something that fills you with glee or smug satisfaction, then there is very little difference between you and Al Quada.

In any case, we here in California are not pleading for you to stop picking on us. We would just like the haters to acknowledge their irrational anger and stop pretending to love America (while despising its largest state and wishing destruction upon all who live there).

And to be honest, we are concerned about the next big earthquake. We’re worried that all of you will drop off into the Atlantic.


An Interruption

You’ll have to trust me when I say that I had a witty and urbane post scheduled for today’s update. But I’m deviating from my usual set-in-stone, overly planned life to write a quick update on yet another devastating earthquake to hit Latin America. If you haven’t heard already, a monstrous 8.8 temblor nailed Chile early this morning.

This quake was hundreds of times more powerful than the one that devastated Haiti just a few weeks ago. Upwards of two hundred people are feared dead, and parts of the country are in ruins. This shift in tectonic plates was centered not far from the biggest earthquake ever recorded, a 9.5 horror that struck in 1960.

As you know, the focus of this blog is on Hispanic culture in the United States. However, when something this major happens in Latin America, it can’t help but affect Hispanics here. Indeed, I’m sure many Latinos with family in Chile are going to have very long days ahead of them.

And if I really want to push the American angle, it has crossed my mind that my new home state of California may be due for some major earthshaking soon. It seems to be a trend. In that case, many American Latinos, including yours truly, may be woken up in the middle of the night by a most unsettling feeling.

I’ve been through one significant earthquake, a 6.1 when I first lived in LA years ago. It’s not as fun as you might think. However, that tremor pales in comparison to what just hit Chile.

The country is  going to need some serious assistance. Once again, if you can help, please do.

Land of the Dead

I’ve written often about the difficulties of pinpointing exactly who is Latino and who is not. You’ll remember some of the familiar arguments (eg, Costa Ricans are Hispanic, Spaniards are not, Mexicans are Hispanic… unless they’re Chicanos who reject the label… wait…). In sum, it’s a messy process with no clear delineations.

In my most recent post, I mentioned that Sammy Sosa is Latino. Sosa is from the Dominican Republic, which is the only nation that shares a border with Haiti, one of several countries in the Caribbean that are not considered Hispanic.

When one thinks about it, this is rather arbitrary. Perhaps it is because Haiti has a French, rather than Spanish, cultural tradition. Or maybe there’s a racial element there.

In any case, the country’s non-Hispanic status was irrelevant to the cataclysmic earthquake that killed an estimated 100,000 people this week. Even before the disaster, the nation was the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. At this point, Haiti is so desperately miserable that one wonders if it would just be easier and more humane to ship the survivors to other countries and abandon that part of the island.

You don’t need me to urge you to donate to relief efforts. You will if you can or want to. Here are links to a few sites where you can make donations. Let’s hope that someday the country – indeed, no country – is so synonymous with human suffering.

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