I sent this email to Smithsonian Channel earlier today:
My wife and I are enjoying your Aerial American series but I have one issue with the episode on Northern California. The largest city in Northern California, San Jose, was not mentioned once. I find this astounding. Did you slight the largest city in any of the other state episodes? You mentioned various small towns around San Jose – Cupertino, Los Altos (where we live), Menlo Park, Palo Alto, etc. and ignored the elephant in the “room.” Why? San Jose has a rich history and is arguably the most important city in Northern California, too. As Wikipedia says it is “is the economic, cultural, and political center of Silicon Valley .” It was the state’s first capital (not mentioned in the show). It is the biggest employment center in the region. San Jose was once an agricultural town and bedroom community to San Francisco, but now the reverse is true. More people commute from San Francisco to Silicon Valley than the other way around. The show spent a great deal of time showing near-identical trees all over near-identical mountains and various hamlets yet ignored the country’s 10th largest city. San Jose is or was home to dozens of famous people including many Olympic gold Medalists (Peggy Fleming, Amy Chow, Bruce [now Caitlin] Jenner), NFL stars (Jim Plunkett, Jeff Garcia, Brent Jones, Bill Walsh), political leaders (Cesar Chavez, Norman Mineta), entertainers (Smothers Brothers, Doobie Brothers), artists, writers, scientists, and other notables too numerous to list here. There are many major corporations headquartered in San Jose including Cisco Systems, eBay, and Adobe Systems. It has one of the largest Japantowns in the western world and is one of the largest communities of Vietnamese outside Vietnam. Lick Observatory just outside San Jose was once the largest telescope in the world and has contributed greatly to astronomy. There is much more I could say, but I’m sure you get the point.
Can you provide any explanation for the oversight? It is not exceptionally scenic, I’ll grant you, but it has its landmarks and certainly many other towns and communities you showed were much less scenic (e.g. Steve Jobs’s house). In fact most of the large cities you have shown in other state episodes are less scenic so I won’t take aerial photography as the explanation.
I received this reply:
Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the courtesy of our fans and viewers who suggest ideas for our use. However, it has become necessary for us to adopt the general policy of not accepting any submissions via email.
Idiots! It wasn’t a suggestion.