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DC Quake: Fleeting Moment of Calif. Superiority



    People who came out on the street after an earthquake look up at a window that cracked during the quake on Market Street in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Admit it -- you felt it.

    That feeling of superiority as you watched East Coasters freak out over a relatively mild earthquake as though it were the end of the world. Heck, back in DC they evacuated the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon.

    For a mere 5.8? Wimps.

    For a day, at least, Californians could call or email or text their friends and relatives back that way and, patronizingly, dole out advice about coping.

    Because reacting to earthquakes is still something we know how to do better than just about anyone.

    Californian superiority was so much in evidence that the folks  at Gawker complained that we were being insufferable. (And if you read Gawker, you must admit that they are experts on insufferability).

    Of course, the bad feeling about California superiority is that it's something we don't feel much anymore.

    We don't have much to brag about.

    Our unemployment rate is the second worst in the country. Our budget is a mess. Our schools lag the country's in performance.

    Yes, we have great weather and most of the country's venture capital and the best looking people -- and those are three pretty darn important things.

    But it's rare these days that we get to do a touchdown dance.

    Californians of previous generations had that feeling of superiority all the time.

    They could brag about the finest public university system in the world, the most advanced infrastructure, a rocket-fueled economy. The fact that we need an earthquake on the other side of the country to feel a little superior these days.

    Well, it shows how far we've fallen.  

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