A People's Guide to Orange County, 4 ( People's Guide )
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"At first encounter, Orange County can resemble the incoherent sprawl that geographer James Howard Kunstler named The Geography of Nowhere: a car-dependent, seemingly bland space designed most of all for efficient capitalist consumption. But it is somewhere, too, and learning its stories helps it become more than its boosters' slogans. Writers Lisa Alvarez and Andrew Tonkovich, residents of Orange County's remote Modjeska Canyon, describe this whole county as "a much-constructed and -contrived locale, a pestered and paved landscape built and borne upon stories of human development... of destruction as well as, happily, of enduring wild places." In a similar vein, essayist D. J. Waldie, chronicler of the bordering suburb of Lakewood, asserts that "becoming Californian ... means locating yourself" in "habitats of memory" that connect ordinary, local areas with broader themes. Moving beyond sentimentality, nostalgia, and so many sales pitches that omit far too much, Waldie echoes Michel de Certeau's call to "awaken the stories that sleep in the streets." That is the goal of this book. Inspired by Laura Pulido, Laura Barraclough, and Wendy Cheng's A People's Guide to Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2012), as well as the People's Guides to Boston and San Francisco that have followed it, we offer this guidebook for locals, tourists, students, and everyone who wants to understand where they really are. This book is organized with regional chapters, sorted roughly north to south by community. Within each city, sites are listed alphabetically. After the group of entries for each city, we recommend nearby restaurants as well as other sites of interest for visitors. Readers may explore this book geographically or use the thematic tours in the appendix to consider environmental politics, Cold War legacies, the politics of housing, LGBTQ spaces, or Orange County's carceral state. The appendix also contains suggestions for teachers using this book, engaging students in cognitive mapping, close reading, popular-culture analysis, and creating additional entries of people's history. While many local histories tend to focus on a few white settlers, this book places attention on the people, especially the subaltern ones who are hierarchically under others, including workers, people of color, youth, and LGBTQ individuals. No single book can represent an entire county, so we have chosen to concentrate on the lesser-known power struggles that have happened here and influenced the landscape that we all share. We could not include everyone, of course. We are mindful that other groups are currently creating more people's history on this landscape that we hope our readers will continue to explore. In Orange County, excavating the diverse past can be frowned upon or actively repressed by those invested in selling Orange County in the style of its booster Anglo settlers from 150 years ago. This book tells the diverse political history beyond the bucolic imagery of orange-crate labels. We hope it will inspire readers to further explore Orange County and reflect on even more sites that could be included in the ordinary, extraordinary landscape here"