Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

San Andreas: ‘Not My Fault’

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San Andreas, explaining why the fault isn't really his.

San Andreas, explaining why the fault isn’t really his.

Millbrae, CA (AP) – Voicing his objections to being associated with earthquakes, the Apostle San Andreas – Spanish for St. Andrew – has disclaimed any connection with the geological phenomenon the San Andreas Fault, which runs along most of the length of California. The fault occurs where the North American Plate meets the Pacific Plate.

Andreas, brother of St. Peter and one of the first followers of Jesus, has inspired myriad tributes, and is credited by Christian tradition with the seismic shift of introducing the religion to much of Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The San Andreas Fault was first described in 1895, and takes its name from nearby San Andreas Lake, a reservoir. The lake, in turn, was originally a sag pond that abutted the campsite of several Spanish explorers, who named it the Laguna de San Andrès when they set up camp on November 30, 1769, Saint Andrew’s Feast Day.

However, the fault has been implicated in several disastrous earthquakes, notably the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake in which more than 3,000 people died. More recently, the fault’s activity has sparked major quakes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people since 1989 and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. Realizing that the connection with him was merely a weak association, St. Andrew felt few compunctions about disavowing the link.

“It would be one thing if someone had decided to bestow honor on a wonder of nature and evoked my name as an expression of reverence,” said the saint, who was martyred by crucifixion in Greece in the first century. “But this is a name given because it was near something else that was named after me only by virtue of the date of the naming,” he explained. The feast day itself the saint found arbitrary to begin with, as no actual contemporary records of the timing – or even the historicity – of his birth or death exist.

St. Andrew suggested a number of possible alternative names for the fault, including Eve, Serpent, Vespasian, Beelzebub and Balaam, even acceding that whatever name is eventually adopted could be rendered in Spanish in keeping with the area’s history.

This is not the first time St. Andrew’s name has been obliquely linked with unsavory phenomena. Andrew was said to be martyred on an X-shaped cross, insisting that he was unworthy of dying on an upright cross in the manner of his teacher and Savior. The St. Andrew’s cross became the basis for, among others, the National Flag of Scotland, the Russian Naval Ensign, the flag of the Russian Navy and the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America.

That last association, having been adopted by racist movements in the former Confederacy, makes Andrew uncomfortable, but has not led him to seek to disclaim it entirely. He acknowledges the complexities of the issue, noting that the vast majority of the soldiers who fought under that flag would not perforce subscribe to the bigoted vitriol that later became attached to it.



In a similar phenomenon, Eastern cultures have not seen fit to renounce use of the swastika despite its twentieth-century adoption by the Nazi movement and subsequent white supremacist groups. In fact the neolithic tribesmen of Ukraine in 10,000 BC, the earliest known users of the symbol, have not seen fit to comment on this development directly. When asked for a response, Oog McThag, a neolithic spokesman, recalled the urban legend about an American soldier during the Second World War named Adolf Hitler. A reporter asked him whether he considered changing his name, considering the circumstances; Hitler answered, “Let the other guy change his.”

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Written by Thag

December 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I thought California was a “no fault” state.

    Lorna's Voice

    December 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    • Sorry. Must have gotten carried away by my sense of the overdramatic, born of too many Michael Bay Area movies.


      December 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

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