Around the world, California is romanticised as a glamorous haven of luxury and sunshine. But the reality, as we have been finding out, is quite different: rubbish stacked in the streets, a homelessness crisis, and an exodus of disillusioned residents. One of these disillusioned residents is Bridget Phetasy, a comedian, writer, podcaster and YouTuber based in Los Angeles, who has grown increasingly frustrated with her home state. California is in a ‘premageddon’, she fears, and that’s not just because of Gavin Newsom’s (the California governor who is up for recall) poor Covid response:
It’s a process that’s been happening for some time and it’s been accelerated by the pandemic and the lockdowns. I’ve been describing it as ‘premageddon’…It’s a little bit pre-apocalyptic or dystopian: you’re seeing increasing homelessness, which is tragic. And it’s also filthy because there’s garbage everywhere. It’s definitely not the Los Angeles I moved to in 2007 when I came back.
On her vulnerability to Big Tech: 'I would rather be free than have to silo who I am, privately and publicly. But my biggest fear is when you see things like, for instance, what happened in the wake of the president being de-platformed from social media. He basically disappeared, almost like a technical mob hit…. That would be detrimental to me. I always joke that I’m just gonna keep talking until I can’t because I feel like you’re constantly avoiding like the Eye of Sauron.'
On identity: 'I don’t think it’s great that everybody is so invested in making their entire identity about these immutable characteristics, or, in some cases, mutable characteristics, which I can’t get my mind around. Your sex, your gender, your ethnicity — this is what you build your entire world around instead of what gives you meaning beyond the traits that you were just born with. It just feels like we’re going backwards.'
On the Left: 'The Left feels much more insidious to me than the Right, because it seems social… When I talk to people about why they’re self censoring, it’s because they feel like they can’t say certain things. And that’s not being enforced by the government yet, although we are headed in that direction in California. But it is being enforced socially…And then people are petrified of saying anything at work, and are being made to go to these kind of diversity and inclusion trainings, and they can’t say anything about whether or not they agree with the stuff.'
On vaccine passports: 'What’s so shocking to me is how many people are okay with this. I can’t figure out if it’s just because people like being told what to do, or need to be told what to do. And then there’s a sense of self righteousness that goes along with that. So you’re basically following the lead and then you get to be arrogant and take the moral high ground.'