The State of Garbo

Peter Laufer analyzed the secession movements in Oregon, California and Colorado in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times and High Country News.

In his book The Elusive State of Jefferson, Laufer offers an alternative to the southern Oregon and northern California secessionists:

I propose the Jeffersonians jettison Jefferson and call their place in the sun (and—maybe more often—the rain), Garbo. She is famous for wanting to be left alone. They want to be left alone, or so they say. They want to invent a new state. Greta Gustafs- son invented her name: Greta Garbo. Or director Mauritz Stiller invented it. The origin is unclear, just as is the origin of the state names Oregon and California.

Garbo. It has a nice look and ring to it. The typography is appeal- ing when it is attached to place names, as is the sound when the new state name is spoken in conjunction with its major cities. Klamath Falls, Garbo. Yreka, Garbo. Port Orford, Garbo. Add the zip code and it looks official: Ashland, Garbo 97520. Eureka, Garbo!

Garbo: enigmatic and private with a wry nod to celebrity. For a place where history —in fact and fancy—was created by the deft use of publicity, the name change to Garbo would put the former Jeffer- son (look how bland Jefferson already looks compared with Garbo!) in headlines around the world.

Garbo, an ideal name for a place that claims it just wants to be left alone.

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