Guess I should clarify that I did live in California as a kid, but only a very young one. We moved east when I was four. So…fiction, and kind of a lame attempt to pin this gag on California. In fact, I thought that part of the joke was such a weak link that I demoted it from punchline to premise, moving that narrative box from the very end to the very beginning.
I’ve heard an alternate theory on bullying. Bullying, say some social researchers, comes not from inappropriately low but inappropriately high self esteem. Bullies are people who think they are better than they actually are, so that they can’t let small slights pass without raising them to the level of dominance challenges.
The researchers extended the analogy to nations which act as bullies. Historically, when a nation which considers itself “great” suffers some degree of humiliation, they argued, it will typically start a war. Food for thought.
I wish I could track down that research, but perhaps someone could find it.