Sunday, October 12, 2008

Book Review: "Commie Girl in the OC"

Book Review: “Commie Girl in the OC”, by Rebecca Schocnkopf, 2008

Rebecca Schocnkopf got a nice blurb from Mike Davis, a real LA Marxist, on this book. This book is published by Verso, an English house which publishes a lot of left wing literature. And you gotta love that title! Makes us seem almost human.

Well, it is more like “Obama Girl in the OC” really. Even a liberal Democrat in Orange County comes across to the uber-conservative denizens of OC as a ‘communist.’ They can’t tell the difference. Think the black use of the word ‘nigger.’ I’ll take your insult and make it my own!

Schocnkopf works for the alternative “OC Weekly,” and the book reads like a series of newspaper columns. Orange County is the kind of place that gave birth to the John Birch Society, then went bankrupt in 1994 investing in risky and obscure Wall Street Securities because of their own lovable Proposition 13. Sound familiar? A place where television demands we pay attention – to their housewives or their choppers or their rich teenagers. Evidently, it’s cheaper to film there for Hollywood. A place that was the headquarters for the main mortgage companies involved in the sub-prime meltdown. Sick of these fucks yet? Schocnkopf, however, humanizes the place, at least showing us that not everyone in the OC is a reactionary Barbie doll with a giant house ready to burn down.

There are real people here and there, sandwiched between the upscale Republicans. And Schocnkopf is one of the more real, with her insecure self-image and crushes on lame politicians, her love of free journalist food, her strange child, and her commie mom. One of the most touching stories is that of the female owner of a local rock club, Linda’s Doll House, making the decision to close the place. The bar played a role in community- keeping people sane in a culturally inhospitable environment. Schocnkopf writes about porn stars, local politicians, Arnold and Sacramento, roller skating, women-drinking, NASCAR, American Idol, namedroppers and namedropping, OC comedians, embryos, homelessness, the War on Xmas, AIDs, anti-marijuana campaigns, local rock ‘stars’ and you get the idea. Liberal comedy over the culture wars, like Molly Ivins, but without the focus. Cultural studies majors should pay attention.

Schocnkopf only writes about workers once – drunk ones at the Doll House. Not much for a Marxist. She’ll have to work on that.

And I bought it at May Day Books!
Red Frog – 10/12/08

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