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I wanna live in los angeles, but not the one in los angeles
October 16, 2007 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Los Angeles Uber Alles. A passionate argument (by mefi's own bldblog, no less) for why Los Angeles is the greatest city in America. Dissenters, please see the more inside:

A: You're wrong.
posted by jonson (284 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Word.
posted by dhammond at 2:13 PM on October 16, 2007


I agree with everything he says. He sums up precisely why I despise Los Angeles.
posted by vacapinta at 2:15 PM on October 16, 2007 [11 favorites]


"The whole thing is ridiculous. It's the most ridiculous city in the world - but everyone who lives there knows that. No one thinks that L.A. 'works,' or that it's well-designed, or that it's perfectly functional, or even that it makes sense to have put it there in the first place; they just think it's interesting. And they have fun there. And the huge irony is that Southern California is where you can actually do what you want to do; you can just relax and be ridiculous. In L.A. you don't have to be embarrassed by yourself."
I bet these New Yorkers have something to say about this.
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on October 16, 2007


lolLA!

And what vacapinta said.
posted by trip and a half at 2:17 PM on October 16, 2007


Eventually every other major city will be enough like LA that I'll only despise it for being that way first.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2007


That was a nice riff. I can appreciate the "you could be standing next to x and nobody fucking cares, you're alone in what you make of it."

But I'd still rather live in Vancouver, where I can speak to the guy dumpster diving behind my apartment as a fellow hoser who happens to be down on his luck.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2007


Yeeeeeecccccch. That is all.
posted by spitbull at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2007


Also, I would like to live in the other city of angels, AKA Bangkok, but only for a year or so.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:21 PM on October 16, 2007


Sounds like someone got into LA's massive coke stash.
posted by mullingitover at 2:23 PM on October 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Good weather is like beer goggles for cities. When its 70 degrees and sunny 300 days a year, any old hell-hole seems like Shangri-La.
posted by googly at 2:24 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I would sooner hit my dick with a hammer than return to L.A., my birthplace.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:25 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Only place I've ever seen that needs razor wire on it's highway signs. Must have a crazy squirrel problem.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:26 PM on October 16, 2007


Looks like some of you losers didn't read the [more inside]. Suck it, haters, L.A. is much better than whatever craphole you're living in now, trust me.
posted by jonson at 2:27 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I fucking hate LA. It loosk like a circuit board and smells and tastes of petrol. It can't burn itself to the ground in a riot or be destroyed by Lex Luthors real estate plans soon enough IMHO.
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've never been to LA, but I've flown over it. It made me queasy just looking at it.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:28 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Steve Martin wrote a very nice defense of LA in his book Pure Drivel. I'm moving there from New York next year and I'm cheered to see somebody speak nicely about what must be the most hated city in America.

(but this guy somehow thinks that Chicago is better than New York, which is plain stupid.)
posted by Bookhouse at 2:29 PM on October 16, 2007


Metafilter: I would sooner hit my dick with a hammer than...
posted by scrump at 2:29 PM on October 16, 2007


This is where someone interjects and says, "Your favorite city sucks," and a few people chuckle while most everyone else groans as the joke is crushed further into the dirt and given a little twist under the jokester's heel...

But seriously, L.A. sucks.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 2:29 PM on October 16, 2007


I haven't had enough plastic surgery, asymmetrical dyed haircuts, STDs or hours in traffic (without pulling a gun on somebody) to qualify to live in LA. But it's fun to visit... on business trips, where my $12 can of beer and $27.50 organic vegan free-range breakfast might get reimbursed. I do agree the weather's nice!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:30 PM on October 16, 2007


jonson, no one cares.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:31 PM on October 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


Whacked-out, self-important, talentless celebrities are beer goggles for cities. When they get busted for DUI, are involved in crazy sexcapades and pose for paparazzi outside of Mr. Chow's any old hell-hole seems like Shangri-La.

Err. What?
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on October 16, 2007


''I'll have a decaf coffee.''

''I'll have a decaf espresso.''

''I'll have a double decaf cappuccino.''

''Do you have any decaffeinated coffee ice cream?''

''I'll have a double decaf, half caf, with a twist of lemon.''
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


L.A. is much better than whatever craphole you're living in now, trust me.

Um, you've lost my trust there, jonson.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:34 PM on October 16, 2007


LA remains the most wonderfully absurd place I've been, which is precisely what I love and miss about living there. Nice to see someone else articulate that sentiment better than I ever could. Thanks jonson, great post.
posted by joedan at 2:36 PM on October 16, 2007


Hilversum is quite horrible too.

...

*silent murmur of the bytes flowing through the intertubes*
posted by jouke at 2:39 PM on October 16, 2007


The article hits a great point, which is that the feeling of freedom you get by living in LA has a lot to do with the fact that the city isn't a community. There is no center you're imagining your life in relation to, no cultural gatekeepers or other authority figures you're obeying or rebelling against. You're just there.

That said, there are thousands of smaller communities within LA.
posted by lbergstr at 2:39 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ah, I miss LA... I'm living in the SF area now and it's just not the same. Should have moved back to LA before the house prices there got as fucked up as they are here (around 2000, LA house prices were still reasonable by California standards, thanks to the 90's aerospace implosion, but they've caught up to SF now).

Seriously, LA is awesome. I've lived a lot of places but nowhere with the diversity and energy I got from LA.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:40 PM on October 16, 2007


pahrmee there jonson, where is this LA you are speaking of? Is it a town on Lung Island? Or maybe Noo Joisey?
posted by carmina at 2:41 PM on October 16, 2007


Thirding, your favorite city sucks.

And p.s. So does your more inside.

But here's a smiley to break up the bad news.


:)
posted by Atreides at 2:45 PM on October 16, 2007


I wanted to like LA. I really, really wanted to. But it was kind of like seeing someone across the room, managing to get introduced, then being blown back by the most evil, gut wrenching, foul, toxic bad breath imaginable. There aint no mints for that.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:49 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I interviewed for a job in LA once. I had plans to meet some friends at a restaurant three miles from my hotel. Knowing LA traffic is bad, I left 30 minutes early. But the drive took me an hour and I was 30 minutes late.

I took a job in New York.
posted by brain_drain at 2:50 PM on October 16, 2007


SFW
posted by caddis at 2:50 PM on October 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


Suck it, haters, [my present geographic location] is much better than whatever [geographic location] you're living in now, trust me.

Whatever.
posted by MikeMc at 2:50 PM on October 16, 2007


I visited someone in LA once. He took me to a strip mall, and I was completely and totally surprised to hear KRS-1 talking with a small group of people, a few tables over. After listening to him for about an hour, I was still uncertain whether he was starting up a new record company, or if he had decided to switch gears and begin selling cell phones. Whatever his new venture was, he was so damn serious that first things first, they had to have, like, $800 cell phones. Top of the line shit. Not just him, but everybody there. If they could make that happen, then everything else would fall into place.

In LA, no one cares that you're KRS-1. You still gotta sell 'em on the top dollar phones.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:51 PM on October 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


When did some j.o. hack jonson's account?
posted by puke & cry at 2:53 PM on October 16, 2007


Or is this some joke I'm not getting?
posted by puke & cry at 2:54 PM on October 16, 2007


lbergstr: The article hits a great point, which is that the feeling of freedom you get by living in LA has a lot to do with the fact that the city isn't a community. There is no center you're imagining your life in relation to, no cultural gatekeepers or other authority figures you're obeying or rebelling against. You're just there.

So it's the suburbs plus carjackings and smog. Thanks, but no thanks.
posted by spaltavian at 2:55 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


"When it's 110 degrees in New York City, it's 70 degrees in LA. When it's -10 degrees in New York City, it's 70 degrees in LA. There are millions of interesting people in New York City. About 70 in LA."

-Woody Allen

No wonder no one cares about anyone else.
posted by Freen at 2:59 PM on October 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


I don't get it man, he says LA is nice because nobody cares about each other? Sounds kind of weird.
posted by delmoi at 2:59 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


To be fair L.A. really is an interesting place. I had a place there for a few years and found it intriguing and so different from most any place else in the U.S.

Like any where L.A. is subject to its stereotypes. But, guess what? Not every one is part of "The Industry." Bloods and Crips don't carjack you at the gas station. Beverly Hills and Hollywood hardly define the place. Just check out Venice Beach on a weekend afternoon and you will see a fascinating mix of people -- ethnicities, socio-economics, cultures and lifestyles. It's a place crammed full of creative people. Great live entertainment. Great food -- from the corner taco stands to world-class cuisine. And don't get me started on the quality of food and esepcially fruit and produce at the Farmer's Market, at Ralph's, Vons and Pavilions.

You can choose to be as much a part of the city as you want -- or, to stay 'close-to-home,' as in any major metropolitan area. And -- heck -- other than the rain in January and February, you can't beat the weather. That being said, as a New Englander from birth and 'at heart,' I found myself compelled to be outside all of the time because of the great weather. It was difficult to sit still and stay in on a Sunday morning/afternoon for breakfast/brunch at home and read the Sunday New York Times (by far the best newspaper in the U.S. and leaps-and-bounds ahead of the L.A. Times for substance, writing and reporting). I felt guilty staying in -- for as in New England you always take advantage of the rare days of fine weather -- most confined to days in May - September.
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on October 16, 2007


I've lived all up and down the West Coast, and I've visited around the world, and with the exception of San Francisco (a city that I would put deep in the running for the title of "Greatest City on Earth") there's nowhere that I'd rather live than Los Angeles.

Yeah, sure, the weather is nice. You know what else is nice? Selling smoothies to Annette Benning. Bumping crystal at 3 in the morning on the spot where they put down Biggie. Meeting a beautiful Portugese tourist on the beach, sharing a brief, drunken kiss, and thinking about her from time to time for the next six years. Standing at the top of the hill at night and looking down at the glittering city, with no stars visible above you, and feeling as though the earth and sky have inverted. Noticing that the woman sitting next to you on the Red Line looks an awful lot like someone you saw in a porno the other night, and seeing her nod in affirmation when she notices that you're looking. Having your crazy cholo neighbors threaten to kill you one day and invite you to a barbecue the next. Knowing that earthquakes, fires, mudslides, riots, insane housing costs, air pollution, gangs, celebrity circuses and traffic are not actually as big a set of problems as people who don't live here imagine, and that real life happens here in all its messy glory every single day.

I don't claim that Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth, but I've lived here for years, and there's not a spot to which you can point in this city where something remarkable hasn't happened. Anyone who thinks it's all plastic bodies and empty heads clearly hasn't spent much time on the ground in this town.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:59 PM on October 16, 2007 [27 favorites]


I don't think LA is the best place to visit, but I am a former east coaster who really loves living here. I can hop on a plane and get to San Francisco in an hour or get in my car and be in Mexico in less than 3. Add to that the amazing sushi, endless types of food (does your city have a Little Ethiopia?) and relentless sunshine and it really is a magical place. But above all, one of my favorite things about LA is that not only do we not have an NFL team, we don't care in the slightest.

P.S. Nice tags, jonson.
posted by dhammond at 3:02 PM on October 16, 2007


I had plans to meet some friends at a restaurant three miles from my hotel. Knowing LA traffic is bad, I left 30 minutes early. But the drive took me an hour and I was 30 minutes late.

I'd totally agree with what this guy wrote, if it weren't for traffic.

In Los Angeles you can be standing next to another human being but you may as well be standing next to a geological formation.

Except that geological formation is in a car and it's clogging up the fucking freeway.
posted by mullacc at 3:03 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was completely and totally surprised to hear KRS-1 talking with a small group of people...

I had no idea who KRS-1 was until I "Googled" him. I thought maybe it was some robot from a movie or an old Tandy computer model with which I wasn't familiar.

Hey sonny -- get offa my fuckin' lawn before I turn on the sprinklers!
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on October 16, 2007


To be fair:

Pollution in LA isn't that bad, really it's not. Since catalytic converters, the place has cleaned up drastically. Traffic isn't much worse than other major urban centers in the US. The aggravating factor with traffic is that LA is so spread out. LA isn't a city so much as it's a region (I generally refer to everything in Los Angeles county, and then some, as 'LA'), and so to get to something you often need to drive to an entirely different city and, depending on the time of day, through some pretty awful jams. However, it's not much different than any urban center. If you're shocked by LA's traffic you really need to get out more.

If you want legit gripes about the city, start with the vapid, millimeter-deep culture. The culture is very transplant-centric; almost no one is a 'native,' and everyone brings their own idea of what LA should be like and tries to implement it. The LA Weekly is, I'm completely certain, funded entirely by ads for plastic surgery. Hordes of LA's denizens watch television with deep fervor. It's practically the city-state's religion. I could expound on this further, but instead I'll just refer you to almost every melancholy pop ballad about the place.
posted by mullingitover at 3:04 PM on October 16, 2007


I don't claim that Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth

I agree with Parasite Unseen except for that part of that sentence.
posted by jonson at 3:05 PM on October 16, 2007


That article pretty much nailed it.

Looking at these comments, I love reading about how much people hate LA. They don't realize that LA is cooler than they are.

Also, LA is a shitty place to visit, but a wonderful place to live. Sorry you got rocked in traffic, brain_drain. You would have known what to do if you lived here. Maybe in 35 years or so our Metro system will actually be capable of taking you somewhere you want to go, or maybe it won't.

It's 70F today, clean air, breezy, with blue skies. I Love LA
posted by redteam at 3:06 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


“No matter what you do in L.A., your behavior is appropriate for the city.”
Yeah, can you imagine growing a beard...in Chicago? No way! dude! You’d be, there’s, that’d be some kind of, y’know? Wow.
Beard. Hot pretzels. In Chicago. People would care all over you. They’d be up your ass for growing a beard and renting Hot Fuzz or eating a pretzel. You just can’t do it. I f’ing dare you to eat a hot pretzel in Chicago. No. F’ing. Way.

Blows my mind what you can do in L.A. Anything goes man! Anything!

So...how’s that water situation working out for ya?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:07 PM on October 16, 2007 [17 favorites]


Hey -- where else can you be drinking beer on Tuesday in a bar that faces a giant car wash, getting a good buzz and peeling the labels from bottles of Bud? All while having some fun until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard.
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on October 16, 2007


spaltavian: might wanna read the last sentence of my post. Point is there are communities, but you get to choose. You can ignore all of them if you want. Or (and this is where it's different than the suburbs) you can take part in a fabulously rich set of communities and experiences. It's up to you. Nobody gives a shit ... if you don't want them to.

People! Get off the highway and drive around randomly! Get your car washed and drink your boba in a sun-induced stupor! Get some pastrami at Canter's! Be not afraid of the sprawl!
posted by lbergstr at 3:10 PM on October 16, 2007


I had no idea who KRS-1 was until I "Googled" him...

Hey sonny -- get offa my fuckin' lawn before I turn on the sprinklers!


I dont understand this comment. KRS-1 was biggest in the 80's from the beginnings of rap. I dont think enough young kids know who he is...
posted by vacapinta at 3:11 PM on October 16, 2007


I know several cool people who live and like LA, so I don't think it's all plastic bodies and empty heads.

It is, however, all cars, all the time. The weather is nice, but no thanks. I like to walk.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:12 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I lived in LA for a while and I have to admit that I've been plenty of places that are better. People who are as apeshit over LA as jonson is have generally never lived anywhere else, or moved there from some place so abysmal that LA looks like a Shining Metropolis of Pleasure. I'm not saying that jonson did that, just that I've seen this scenario played out a lot.

Granted, LA is better than lots of places, too. But, like anything, 'better' is a relative measure.

My dad lived in LA for 50 years. When people there used to tell him they were actors, he always asked them, "Really? What restaurant?"



See, there are so many wanna-be actors LA that they all have to be waiters while they wait for the Big Break that will likely never come. Soul crushing.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:13 PM on October 16, 2007


So this is where the renaissance has led to
And we will be the only ones to know
So take a drive and breathe the air of ashes
That is, if you need a place to go
If you have to beg or steal or borrow
Welcome to Los Angeles, city of tomorrow


Phil Ochs, The World Began In Eden And Ended In Los Angeles
posted by pombe at 3:13 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Next week I'm leaving Los Angeles for midtown Manhattan. It's been five years here, and I've just fucking had it.

I've sublimated my hatred for this place for so long I thought it had disappeared. Then my new wife said, "Let's move to New York." and she may as well have said open sesame. The floodgates flew open and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make it seven more days.

L.A. has been very, VERY good to my career, but it's the so-called "people" here that just drain the life out of you.

I had a ten paragraph rant about the blandness and inanity that is this "city," but I deleted it for fear of coming off bitter.

Bookhouse, you can have my spot.
posted by quite unimportant at 3:15 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a former Southern Californian, I gained a little perspective on my last visit there.

Sun is setting, beautiful people, beautiful vistas. Temperature hits sixty-five degrees. Everyone LOSES THEIR MINDS. As if some sort of internal thermostat had suddenly clicked over to "HELL IS COLD!" or something. Conversation stops. Everyone rushes inside.

Couple of minutes everyone returns, bundled up in sweats, hoodies and fuzzy slippers, leaving me in shorts and silk shirt.

Next day, temperature hits a high of 90, quite unusual for that time of year. Again, everyone LOSES THEIR MINDS, complains that there's no air conditioning, goes inside. This time they don't return. Leaving me in the same shorts and silk shirt, screaming TOUGHEN THE FUCK UP!!!!

My conclusion? Live in paradise long enough and you become completely unable to adapt to anything else.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:15 PM on October 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Also, the coolest and smartest people I met in LA were at a Metafilter meetup.
posted by quite unimportant at 3:16 PM on October 16, 2007


I would love to get a good NorCal/SoCal fight brewing... I can't for the life of me think of anything better about LA than the Bay. Same total area, less to offer.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:16 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I sat next to Chuck Norris in a sushi bar in LA.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:17 PM on October 16, 2007


Los Angeles is everything bad about the US rolled into one along with a smattering of its best aspects. It's a fun place to visit for that reason. Living there...can't imagine it.

Anyone who thinks it's all plastic bodies and empty heads clearly hasn't spent much time on the ground in this town.

After two weeks I thought to myself, this place can't be this superficial on every level, can it? Yes, yes it can.
posted by MillMan at 3:18 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You guys wouldn't be so quick to judge Los Angeles if you knew that both Radiohead & Apple Computer got their start here*




*note: this may not be true.
posted by jonson at 3:19 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


See, there are so many wanna-be actors LA that they all have to be waiters while they wait for the Big Break that will likely never come. Soul crushing.

Or parking cars and pumping gas!
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on October 16, 2007


"I sat next to Chuck Norris in a sushi bar in LA."
His hair was perfect.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:21 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


The bile directed at Los Angeles always amazes me - especially since I've moved to North Carolina. New York is a filthy overpriced wasteland for yuppies and bankers, and San Francisco has "burners." I'm sure Chicago is great, but it seems to be a place you fly over from time to time. Los Angeles is precisely as it is described in the blog; i.e., free. You do what you want, nobody cares. Of course the smog, poor city services, and car culture is a problem. But nothing's perfect.
posted by Raoul de Noget at 3:22 PM on October 16, 2007


Niiiice, Smedleyman!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:24 PM on October 16, 2007


does your city have a Little Ethiopia?
Actually mine (New York) does. But then New York has a little (any ethnic neighborhood) but so does LA.

Someone once said to me New York is Europe wannabe whereas LA is what Americans secretly wished they could be if they went wild. Hence the dichotomy between the two.

I used to hate, hate, hate, LA with a passion, you know, the typical New York exclamation - "New Jersey with nice weather."

I've come to not compare it with New York or other international cities and have come to love it for its own anarchic self. As New York becomes more and more like the rest of the country (You can't even hear a New York accent in Manhattan any more - they ought to teach the dialect as "official" in schools) LA will remain the only outlier, even if it is America even more so.
posted by xetere at 3:24 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, now, I like LA. But I moved here from Kansas, so it's all about perspective.
posted by katillathehun at 3:25 PM on October 16, 2007


So, if I understand this right, if someone nuked LA, nobody would notice the difference?
posted by evilangela at 3:25 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Apple Computer got their start here*

*note: this may not be true.


Not true. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple in 1976 in the Bay Area.
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on October 16, 2007


LA is one of those cities where you can't wait to leave, then once you've left can't wait to get back.

I remember seeing a PBS documentary on LA and it really changed my whole vision of the city. It wiped away all the glitz and glamour and really got down to the root of what defines a city - its people. The argument is that LA truly does transcend the stereotypes. It is essentially just a city filled with ordinary, boring people, immigrants, families, industrial workers, field pickers, etc. People just trying to get by with monotonous daily routines, just like the rest of the world. Essentially a ton of cultures, beliefs, and economies smashed together into one giant pseudo-culture that you can't really find anywhere else.

What you see on TV is the iceberg floating above the surface. The true soul of LA lies beneath.

Unfortunately only the natives that see it that way.
posted by afx114 at 3:27 PM on October 16, 2007


You do what you want, nobody cares.

Your experience in this regard will not vary much in any major US city. Let's say, the 20 largest.
posted by MillMan at 3:27 PM on October 16, 2007


You do what you want, nobody cares.

Your experience in this regard will not vary much in any major US city. Let's say, the 20 largest


Really? I was in the largest (population wise) and every restaurant I tried to eat at required me to dress nicer than I would have otherwise wanted to. What are you talking about?
posted by jonson at 3:29 PM on October 16, 2007


So, if I understand this right, if someone nuked LA, nobody would notice the difference?

It might take a little longer for the next Transformers movie to come out. No great loss.
posted by Artw at 3:30 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


My memories of LA involve seeing crippling poverty in front of $100,000 cars, heroin junkies stealing things from other junkies, getting tips from hookers to watch for undercover cops when I was 10, gorgeous sunsets that indicated my lungs were stewing in absolute garbage and doing line reads with soap stars for pocket change. It was an amazing experience, but from a distance, feels like a combination of mass hysteria, a collective fear of commitment and a psychological experiment gone ridiculously awry. But perhaps it's changed completely since the late '80s and isn't a lush dystopian nightmare anymore.

My parents -- on moving from Chicago to LA -- would constantly say that the country takes the top 1% of assholes and ships them to LA for safekeeping. (Yes, my parents belonged there.)

So, I'll just say, "Your favorite city is a beautifully horrifying dichotomy that's scarred me for life, but you enjoy it and I'll visit occasionally to remember why I left."
posted by Gucky at 3:30 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


L.A?

I would rather be in Baghdad wearing a large Texas cowboy hat, and a cape made out of the star spangle banner, strangling an innoncent Iraqi child with my left hand, reading the bible in my right hand, in a t-shirt that says: I heart Bush.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 3:30 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


The bile directed at Los Angeles always amazes me - especially since I've moved to North Carolina. New York is a filthy overpriced wasteland for yuppies and bankers, and San Francisco has "burners." I'm sure Chicago is great, but it seems to be a place you fly over from time to time.

Gee, I wonder why you get "bile" from people.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:31 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The piece certainly captures one truth about the city: Los Angeles is bigger than you are.

In winter you can drive from the beach to a ski slope in 2-3 hours. And the highest point in the city of Los Angeles has a greater elevation than the highest points of 28 states.
posted by Slothrup at 3:32 PM on October 16, 2007


I can't see myself living in LA, but I have to say, when I visit it, especially the seedier parts, that I am always pleasantly surprised. Sure it's wall to wall douchebags everywhere else, but my favorite New York era was the 70's through the early 90's when pretty much everyone was weird and the yuppies stayed in their designated areas, hell even the yuppies were kind of weird. I got that same feeling in many parts of LA, plus I kinda like to drive (since I don't have to do it on a daily basis). I do so dearly love a good weirdo. As soon as I went to the part of LA that everybody hates I knew why God gave us the Claymore mine.

I'm here to tell you that there are good things and bad things about almost any place you can go, there's always a reason to love it and hate it. Personally, I'm ready to leave to leave New York.

Here's my plan: Take all the people from Chicago, displace, kindly but firmly, the population of San Francisco and there you go, a perfect city.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:32 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why does everyone have to live in "the best city in America?" Nothing's more tiring than this crap.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:34 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm 4th generation native Southern Californian. LA is a weird microcosm, but to me it's not some caricatured place, it's my family heritage. My grandfather & great grandfather painted murals at Charlie Chaplin's house. My great-great uncle had the first miniature golf course on the west coast there. I was an LA tourguide for years. I can tell you about history and... yes, depth... of that town that you would never expect. Yeah, I know it's convenient and fun to believe the place is completely shallow so it can be properly despised. But the interesting thing is, many people living there (or hating it from elsewhere) are actively living and thriving in their IMAGE of what LA is, for better or worse. It will be what you want it to be, as you create in your mind. That's what Los Angeles offers people: fantasy as reality. It's a place where you can believe anything, both good and bad, can be possible.

I actually have learned more about what L.A. really is by leaving it. When I moved away, I was burned out after 18 years of hard work there. But after seeing what life is like out in the "real world" and then going back, I can see it with different eyes. I realize that while yes, there's negative stuff, I was blessed to have had the opportunities and life experiences that the city offered me that I could've gotten nowhere else. I learned from an early age that my fantasies CAN be made real, and I'm so thankful for that because I know it inspired me to do a lot of stuff I'd never have thought possible otherwise. In LA, you aren't supposed to believe things are ever impossible if you work hard enough. It's a manic depressive town: no matter how bad things get when you live there, people so often feel like something super great could be right around the corner (even if it's a delusion). You'll sell that screenplay or whatever. There's something to be said for that hopefulness, as long as you don't fall for everything it tells you. Now that I'm not living there, I must say I truly can appreciate a town of people that encourages people to strive for their craziest dreams... Hell at least they're trying. I have to admire that passion.

And I do agree that people are more accepting of eachother down there in a way that they aren't elsewhere. When I first moved away, it really bothered me that I kept finding myself talking to people I barely knew who would suddenly start trying to overanalyze me. I didn't take it very well. One of my friends told me that it was normal human behavior, that a lot of people need to categorize others, that it makes them feel comfortable. I just didn't relate to it, I kept wondering why these people weren't worrying more about themselves. Then I realized that's something 18 years in LA did for me.

Fact is, you are not your brother's keeper there. You are 100% responsible for your own salvation. And if you ask me, that's not always such a bad thing to believe.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:36 PM on October 16, 2007 [9 favorites]


And yeah, LA air sucks. I will not argue with anyone on that.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:36 PM on October 16, 2007


In New York, I met a lovely French girl visiting the states. She said she wanted to visit New York, Chicago and L.A. on her trip. I said "Do you realize there is no L.A?" She thought I was kidding. When she passed back through New York, she had discovered that for her self and wished she hadn't wasted that time.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:39 PM on October 16, 2007


P.S. props for the Frank Black reference.
posted by afx114 at 3:39 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Do you realize there is no L.A?"

I really do not have a clue what that is supposed to actually mean. Unless it's just you trying to sound kinda obnoxious.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:44 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


L.A. is fine. I wouldn’t live there, but y’know, tastes differ. For me the town where you’re truly free - given the terms of this thing - is Reykjavik. No one cares - but really. “Michel Jordan...basketball right? Yow.” *keeps drinking/talking fishing* You gotta love Icelanders.

(Wouldn’t that be great to visit an alternate earth where everyone who is famous here is doing whatever their fall back was there? So Harrison Ford is your carpenter. Here’s material test scientist Jim Carrey. There’s petty officer MC Hammer. Russell Crowe trains horses. This is Brad Pitt reporting.)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:45 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I live in NYC.

I visited my friends in LA.

LA is all about traffic jams and parking lots with signs.

I left the midwest to get away from these things.

I was unimpressed by LA.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:46 PM on October 16, 2007


I went to college in LA (well, Eagle Rock, if you want to get technical, but the fact that "LA" encompasses as many polities as the Holy Roman Empire is part of its silliness) and thoroughly enjoyed some aspects of it, but I'd never live there again. It's true that no one cares—about anything—and that gets old after a while. I'll take my urban nightmares with less glitz and more angst and mass transit, please. (But yeah, the weather is great.)
posted by languagehat at 3:46 PM on October 16, 2007


When I lived in LA, I used to tell visiting friends that it was the only city where you could go surfing in the morning and snow boarding later that day, not that I have even done either.

And yeah, the weather is great.
posted by cazoo at 3:48 PM on October 16, 2007


B: you're wrong.

LA loves douches and douches love LA, so there you have it.
posted by buzby36 at 3:51 PM on October 16, 2007


"Do you realize there is no L.A?"

I wish I could remember who said it, but one of the best lines I've heard about LA is that it's "3 of the best cities in the country and 5 of the worst."
posted by mullacc at 3:52 PM on October 16, 2007


When I lived in LA, I used to tell visiting friends that it was the only city where you could go surfing in the morning and snow boarding later that day, not that I have even done either.

I'm sure there are other cities. San Francisco qualifies as well.
posted by vacapinta at 3:52 PM on October 16, 2007


Overseas Angeleno here - I'm living in Riga, Latvia, teaching English this year.

I've lived in Poland, Indonesia, Ghana, and the US. I've visited thirty countries. I've been to Dakar, New York, Singapore, Krakow.

And I would move back to LA in a minute. When I find someone I want to spend the rest of my life with, I want to settle down and raise my kids there. That article captures the freedom my parents and I - all transplants to LA from elsewhere - felt perfectly.

Here in Riga, certain neighborhoods are - just are - Russian-speaking or Latvian-speaking. You can't walk on the grass in the parks. You can't buy beer after 10. You can't get a bus home after 11:30. Things are a little less insular than they were before Latvia joined the EU in 2004, but living in a place with real history and real social rifts that have been around for decades is, coming from LA, just draining. It's tough to create your own world when the very real world of Kaiserwald, Stalinist architectural "gifts" and Ribbentrop and Molotov is right there, looming over you. I don't want to insult the history of the people and the culture I'm a guest in, but it's definitely a less open, less free, less do-your-own-thing kind of place than LA seemed to be when I was there. Things just seem less possible here, I guess.

I mean, my little corner of LA was open land until 1970. Riga turned 800 in 2001.
posted by mdonley at 3:54 PM on October 16, 2007


I sat next to Chuck Norris in a sushi bar in LA.

In LA, Chuck Norris sits next to YOU.
posted by veggieboy at 3:54 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


And by the way, when people in SF go on about how much they despise LA (which hundreds of people have felt the need to do for me ever since I moved here), I always laugh when I ask why and they say "The traffic!"

Swear to GOD I've spent more time stopped in my car while waiting for traffic on freeways and to get over bridges in the Bay area than I EVER did in LA. The people who get stuck in traffic in LA are the people who are clueless about the side streets and shortcuts. Most of my commutes involved driving through one of the canyons, which honestly is a very, very pretty commute compared to the ones I've had since.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:54 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I live in Southern California, and I hate it. Every part of it. Some parts are less crappy than others, but it's all a big pile of dog shit, as far as I'm concerned. Now, I live inthe Inland Empire, which is admittedly the lowest rung on a very ugly old ladder, but everywhere else in SoCal I've visited sucks too. Just not as much.

Here are my gripes, in order. 1-The whole point of the article, that no one fucking cares, is such a lie. Everyone here cares. I agree that they don't care about you, they just care about how cool they can make you think they are. If people really didn't care, they wouldn't spend so much fucking money on their looks, car, and house. Bullfuckingshit. 2- People in SoCal are vapid. I really feel a general anti-intellectualism here. Of course there are cool, interesting, intelligent people here, but the concentration of them is vastly lower than in other places, like Boston, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. 3-The traffic is hellacious, and the city is so spread out, that the cool parts of it are separated by at least 6 blocks, usually much more, of nasty urban wasteland. 4-The smog. All of SoCal is significantly smoggier than other places I have lived. Gross. 5-The weather really isn't that great. In fact, I miss having weather, at all. I miss the snow, rain, cold, and overcast days of my youth.

Let me say that this rant excepts the comapny of the charming people (including jonson, scody, bone, and others) I met at a mefi meetup at some dive bar, and then Jumbo's Clown Room. Lots of fun, interesting people.

But really, I hate this place, and I can hardly wait to finish my MS and get the fuck outta dodge.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 3:54 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really do not have a clue what that is supposed to actually mean. Unless it's just you trying to sound kinda obnoxious.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:44 PM on October 16


i think I understand what he means. There is no real "center" the way there is to almost every other city in the planet. The phrase "downtown" does not mean the same thing as...almost every other city on the planet. The center, where life happens, where the entire city in all its diversity come together as a community, with tourists intermingled.

That one place (compare to SF downtown or Chicago downtown or Manhattan or Boston around the Commons) doesn't exist in LA.
posted by vacapinta at 3:56 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


In love with celebrity? Not remotely intellectual? Enjoy pointless fads? Narcissistic? HAVE I GOT THE TOWN FOR YOU!
posted by gorgor_balabala at 3:56 PM on October 16, 2007


Also, the car culture in Los Angeles drives me insane.

When I visit my mother there, I get stared at for walking.
posted by veggieboy at 3:56 PM on October 16, 2007


Los Angeles is a black, soulless expanse of asphalt, smoke and shining car hoods that usually smells like burning urine. It's a place where everyone is jaded and empty and looking for the next thing to fill up that hole with. It's lonely and disconnected and when you're young things can get really scary really really fast. Everyone has a hard look for you when you pass. Every waiter is an actor. Every barista has a band. It's James Ellroy and Blade Runner. It's The Hills. Every corner is a gang-infested strip mall.

Or at least that's what television taught me. Never seen that city and I've lived here my entire life.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:57 PM on October 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


Actually, douches usually just like making blanket statements about cities that take up 4,084 square miles and are inhabited by 9,948,081 people.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:58 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


And by the way, when people in SF go on about how much they despise LA (which hundreds of people have felt the need to do for me ever since I moved here), I always laugh when I ask why and they say "The traffic!"


My reply is "cultural wasteland." I grew up in Southern California, in one of the most enviable parts of it (San Diego north coast) and I was still happy to get out of there.

If you want to avoid the traffic in the Bay area there are more options for doing so. In SF or NYC you dont have to get in a car to "go across town." In LA, you do.
posted by vacapinta at 3:59 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fatburger
In-n-out Burger
Tommy's

3 of the unhealthiest reasons I miss LA.
posted by cazoo at 4:00 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


It has been said that Los Angeles is a bunch of suburbs without a city. And that's true.

There is no center, here. At least, not really.

And what's more, I find it curious that both the boosters and the haters don't quite get that (greater) LA is practically a state, and more populous than an awful lot of countries -- so any blanket statement is necessarily going to just fall flat on its face. Except for one -- LA, the conurbation, is big.

Big enough that you can catch a commuter plane from one end of it to the other every day.

I'm a native of the region (born in the nearby southern suburbs, went to UCLA, lived on the westside, and now in the far northern suburbs), and have found enough to love and hate about the city. Only major world-cities like New York, London and Tokyo have anything like the population, the size, the variety.

Moving around the region is a chore, but just about everything can be found here, if you know where to look.
posted by chimaera at 4:01 PM on October 16, 2007


Rather than waste my time, let me just add this post as a symbolic 'favorite' on any other post emphasizing what a nasty, festering hole LA is.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 4:01 PM on October 16, 2007


I went to LA in 2005 and took some pictures.

Enjoyed the article. BLDBLG is solid.
posted by fake at 4:02 PM on October 16, 2007


I just moved to LA 3 weeks ago. So far it's alright, but I can't find a restaurant that'll 1. make me a truly great burrito and 2. deep fry it. I do like the 'whatever, do what you want' attitude though. It's 'anything is possible' with a sneer.
posted by carsonb at 4:02 PM on October 16, 2007


This pretty much summarizes LA for me. A quote from the aforementioned documentary:

Its easy in this amazingly international multicultural city to wake up in your own little bubble, get into this moving bubble, go to the office, arrive in another bubble, and do that for days and weeks on end. And so I’m not sure how much direct engagement there is with the other in Los Angeles even though the other is around us on every side.
posted by afx114 at 4:03 PM on October 16, 2007


All of my knowledge and opinions about Las Angles are derived from the film Escape from LA, so all my views of the city are based on the assumption that I might get caught on the street by roving gangs of surgery addicts, or that I might be put into a caged basketball court to shoot hoops for my life, or god-forbid, have to surf a tidal wave.

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Fortunately all of these things have also brought me more in touch with my inner Plissken.
posted by quin at 4:04 PM on October 16, 2007


it's interesting that l.a. is still all about cars considering they have one of the best public transit systems in the country. in fact mta l.a. was just ranked third behind mta new york and new jersey transit corp.
also, donald shoup decides that l.a. beats the bay area in terms of parking in the high cost of free parking.

despite all of that, i wouldn't want to live there, but it's ok to visit once in a while.
posted by kendrak at 4:08 PM on October 16, 2007


People are so adamant to either love or hate the place to extremes, and it's so fucking tiresome. Like anywhere, it has good points and bad points. It's not perfect nor is it the root of all evil. I have had more than enough of this "LA SUCKS ON ANY AND ALL LEVELS" bullshit directed at me since moving to San Francisco simply in response to me saying that's where I moved from.

Always such a pleasant conversation for me:
"Where are you from?"
"I'm from San Diego but I lived in Los Angeles for 18 years."
"I hate Los Angeles."
"Yes, it's nice to meet you too. Thank you for sharing."

Or here's one from my mechanic:
"I had a great mechanic in LA, so I'm looking for someone I can trust."
"You lived in LA?"
"Yes."
"Well, I won't hold that against you. You're in God's country now."
"Would you just fix my car, please?"

Honestly, it's like if you are totally annoyed by your brother but then find yourself in a situation where everyone goes out of their way to tell you how much they hate his guts. After a while you're just like, "Shut the fuck up. He's my brother, you asshole."

Moral of the story? I'm done with this thread. I don't need to hear more tales of why everyone hates the city and that anyone who doesn't must be a horrible person. It's bullshit.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:09 PM on October 16, 2007 [12 favorites]


When I lived in LA, I used to tell visiting friends that it was the only city where you could go surfing in the morning and snow boarding later that day, not that I have even done either.

Out of curosity I checked, and plenty of cities have indoor ski resorts (in fact a whole lot more than I would of thought). As long as they are next to a half decent beach....you get both.

Also there are a couple of good places in NZ where you can easily surf and snowboard a decent mountain in the same day.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 4:11 PM on October 16, 2007


They say the fucking smog is the fucking reason you have such beautiful fucking sunsets.
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 4:17 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The people who get stuck in traffic in LA are the people who are clueless about the side streets and shortcuts.

Like the taxi drivers. Uh-huh. (I could believe that taxi drivers are clueless, but he didn't seem like it.)

vacapinta hit it. there is no other option in L.A. yes, i have taken buses. they get stuck in traffic too.

I get stared at for walking.

I have had the same experience. It's bizarre to be walking about beautiful neighborhoods in Beverly Hills and *no one* is traveling on the sidewalk.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:17 PM on October 16, 2007


Also there are a couple of good places in NZ where you can easily surf and snowboard a decent mountain in the same day.

also: portland
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 4:18 PM on October 16, 2007


I have had more than enough of this "LA SUCKS ON ANY AND ALL LEVELS" bullshit directed at me since moving to San Francisco simply in response to me saying that's where I moved from.

We're just busting your balls. Nobody (worth bothering with) would prejudice someone by their geographic preferences.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:20 PM on October 16, 2007


Like me just speak for all the Angelenos and say "thank you."

we love all these tired, painfully cliched, not-even-marginally-related-to-reality stereotypes.

There are too many people here already, and they help keep the morons out.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:23 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


LA loves douches and douches love LA, so there you have it.

Douches love having good health and a home, too. Your point is?
posted by katillathehun at 4:24 PM on October 16, 2007


I think Los Angeles is more about the feeling of possibility like mdonley mentions. Part of the sense of freedom is available in any large city in the U.S, but perhaps because of "Hollywood," a relatively short cultural history, etc., it somehow feels more expansive, hopeful. Manifest Destiny really kind of landed in the place.
posted by Raoul de Noget at 4:24 PM on October 16, 2007


Aside from three years in the east coast (and Asia), I've lived in Los Angeles since 1986.

While a great many people despise LA, and a large number of them live or have lived in LA. And true to the BLDG post, I could not care less. I live here, I love living here, and it being hated on by some stereotype you've decided for yourself to represent this city is completely on you.
posted by linux at 4:29 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


And there should be no While at the start of my comment.
posted by linux at 4:30 PM on October 16, 2007


You can't buy beer after 10. You can't get a bus home after 11:30.

I didn't know Riga was in Boston.

Seriously, the funniest thing about LA is how the news will devote half of it's broadcast to STORM WATCH 2007 if they're predicting some drizzle. LA in the rain is hilarious, and I'm not joking.

they have one of the best public transit systems in the country

That's simply not true. I spent nearly two years relying on mass transit here and, while the buses and trains are nice, there are a lot of places they don't go and even when they do, it takes forever. The rankings you linked only refer to size of fleet. LA gets ranked that high just based on the sheer size of the place.
posted by dhammond at 4:31 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would love to get a good NorCal/SoCal fight brewing... I can't for the life of me think of anything better about LA than the Bay. Same total area, less to offer.

Ah, that whole thing. When I was at UCSC, I always thought that the NorCal bumper stickers were the funniest thing. That whole NorCal/SoCal rivalry is all in NorCal's collective head. There has got to be some sort of deep insecurity that compels the Bay Area to pick a fight with SoCal.

Southern California, of course, is too self-involved to even notice that California extends beyond Santa Barbara. (And poor San Diego. Everyone forgets it exists, even though it's a pretty awesome town)
posted by Weebot at 4:32 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I get stared at for walking.

I've lived in Los Angeles for years, I don't drive, and no one stares at me for walking. Until recently, I walked 16 miles a day, and the only people who seemed to think that there was anything strange about it were the cops (which might have something to do with the fact that I dress all in black and the first 8 mile stretch was between the hours of 3 and 6 AM). Maybe I'm just oblivious to the reactions of others, but this this idea that people will point and take pictures if they see someone on foot strikes me as posters pandering to one of the most ridiculous (and yet strangely enduring) stereotypes about people in Los Angeles.

It's bizarre to be walking about beautiful neighborhoods in Beverly Hills and *no one* is traveling on the sidewalk.

Actually, I see tons of people walking around in Beverly Hills. It's just that none of them live there, all of them work there, and none of them are white. Generally speaking, they're some of the friendliest people in Los Angeles, and if you can speak Spanish, they're more than happy to help out if you get lost and/or need to find someplace selling cheap eats nearby.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:33 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who cares if you can't identify with Los Angeles? It doesn't need to be made human. It's better than that.

So, to recap: Los Angeles is the Cylon of cities. No arguments there.
posted by brain cloud at 4:34 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like visiting LA every once in a while--there are a lot of cool things to do there--but I'm very grateful for the existence of Camp Pendleton, and I hope the mililitary never closes that base.

There is a definite zone of awesomeness in LA that even a hater like me couldn't bear to get rid of: it runs from downtown west to the ocean in a strip about a mile or two wide. Other areas have their perks and points of interest, but just about everything worthwhile about the place is contained within that zone.
posted by LionIndex at 4:35 PM on October 16, 2007


Dug the hell out of the article. I was transplanted from the midwest to LA roughly ten years ago, and have decided that LA is a terrible city, but it's an incredible place to live.

Los Angeles is where you confront the objective fact that you mean nothing; You don't matter. You're free.

Damn straight. Now let's get ruthless high and drive to the beach.
posted by Curry at 4:37 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


LA is Miami for losers.
posted by oddman at 4:37 PM on October 16, 2007


I was born in Pasadena, and didn't live there much, but spent a lot of time visiting friends of the family, visiting my brother when he lived there, and on road trips when I was in college. I grew up in Northern CA which perhaps taints my view. I don't hate LA, and I also don't think it's the greatest city in the USA. Honestly I don't know what that's supposed to mean. The blog piece linked here seems pretty one dimensional, kind of like how so many people view LA. It has it's good points, and it's bad points like just about anywhere else. So gee, you can wear a jock strap with a tutu on your head when you go out to dinner. That's supposed to make it a great city? Quite honestly I prefer a City like Toronto, Vancouver, or San Francisco. Whether any of them are the greatest city in the USA, I dunno, and I don't care really. I just like them. As was mentioned above, LA isn't really a city at all, but a region. I'll leave you with a Michelle Shocked lyric:

kicked in his door at 5 AM
"I've come for my bike" I told the repo man
My 920's gonna take me far today
You can travel for miles and never leave L.A.

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

I drive by the Plaza where the gay boys pose
Stand in their windows wearing no clothes
I heard the screams of the dying dark
Through the sweet green icing of MacArthur Park
And then I crossed the river into East L.A.
Pescado mojado me encontre
And I've given up on rock 'n roll
And I'm saving up for norteno
The river she runs by the railroad tracks
I swear I'll never take it back
A train, she cries on the midnight hour
All along the Watts Tower
Ohhhhhhhhhhh

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

I gunned it down to San Pedro Bay
Watched my ship sail in, watched her sail away
The sun was sinking into the sea
But a ball of fire inside of me
Was burning my motor and driving me hard
Past the big hair on the Boulevard
And up Mulholland where I made the scene
Like the one that took little Jimmy Dean
And then I shimmied up Wilshire like a little silk worm
Past the rodeo and the pachyderm
And then I stopped for coffee at an art cafe
I saw the repo man and made my getaway
Doing the Eagle Rock
Heading for the hills
Oh try to let my engines cool
And it is not my fault that this town shakes
I saw the falling rock and I hit my brakes

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.

Now you tow it to the repo man's front door
And you give him these keys, I don't need them no more
You tow it to the repo man's front door
And you give him these keys, I don't need them no more

I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.
I've come a long way
I've come a long way
I've gone 500 miles today
I've come a long way
I've come along way
And never even left L.A.
And never even left L.A.
And never even left L.A.
posted by Eekacat at 4:37 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know how the 11 o'clock news is really terrible, as in the fear/fluff non-news + ads that is advertised as news? No where on earth is the 11 o'clock news more fucking retarded than in LA.

I still remember being in bars where somebody would flip to helicopter coverage of a live freeway car chase and everyone would gather around and cheer the chased.

I miss the food and occasionally the weather. I do not miss Fry's or the beach or the full auto weapons fire over on the next block. I thank the gods daily that I don't have to deal with the attitude anymore.

Oddly,I would agree with nearly everything the author says about the city except for his conclusion. That "apocalyptic" is a desirable trait for your surroundings is baffling. It's fun to go back and visit but life lived there became too much about active daily combat with the city for a basic quality of life that other cities render freely.
posted by well_balanced at 4:37 PM on October 16, 2007


By USA I meant North America above. No shit I know Vancouver and Toronto are in Canada.
posted by Eekacat at 4:39 PM on October 16, 2007


Pollution in LA isn't that bad, really it's not.

When I lived in Pasadena, we used to say there was a thirty-percent chance of mountains. People would visit for a week and only discover the HUGE MOUNTAIN RANGE to the north when the smog lifted on the last day.
posted by Upton O'Good at 4:41 PM on October 16, 2007


I told a corrections officer that I couldn't do his job because I'd get tired of people hating me all day. He told me he was used to it because he was from LA.

That said, I'd like to try Roscoe's chicken and waffles.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:42 PM on October 16, 2007


Oh, man... I had Roscoe's last week and I'm still salivating after reading that.
posted by linux at 4:46 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm back.

First off... Camp Pendleton is in Oceanside, which is North County San Diego. My senior prom was in the NCO club there (which we were not too happy about when every other school got the Sea World Pavilion, let me tell you), so I'm pretty familiar with it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Los Angeles.

Secondly, people only forget San Diego because they're trying to pretend that Orange County doesn't exist. And you have to acknowledge Orange County to get to San Diego.

Also, I LURVE me some STORMWATCH action. Even better? How every single little thing has potential to become a giant horrible thing that could kill you in a local LA news story. I remember one time there was a radio commercial for a story about how frozen yogurt places weren't always cleaning their machines enough... it played up a scenario where a parent brought their child into a yogurt store that went something like this:

*Bell sound effect, implying someone just walked into a shop*
"So Timmy, what kind of frozen yogurt do you want?"
"I don't know mom. It all looks good! What flavors do you have, Mister?"
"We have vanilla... chocolate... and... BACTERIA!!!!!


I laughed so hard. Because ummm, isn't yogurt kind of full of bacteria already?
posted by miss lynnster at 4:50 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hated LA, but I'm from Baltimore, which isn't really ever hated but pitied.
posted by spaltavian at 4:50 PM on October 16, 2007


Roscoe's is somewhat overrated.
posted by Weebot at 4:52 PM on October 16, 2007


I kind of like Baltimore. Or at least the Italian bakery I went to last time I was there.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:53 PM on October 16, 2007


Weebot: As a SoCal native and a NorCal resident, (Santa Cruz, woo woo, my idea of the best town, only missing the people I love, sadly.) it's in my head, and everyone else's whose lived both places. And NorCal stickers aren't funny, they're just ads for a skate brand often used to denote white power.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:53 PM on October 16, 2007


The air is bad compared to where I live now, but fyi it's a LOT better than it was when I first moved to Pasadena in 1987. The air quality has improved DRAMATICALLY. You can actually see the mountains more often than not nowadays from my experience. Well, an outline at least. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 4:54 PM on October 16, 2007


Weebot writes "Roscoe's is somewhat overrated."

The chicken's a bit dry, really.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:57 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fyi, meta
posted by jonson at 4:58 PM on October 16, 2007


I was making my way up to Yellowstone with my wife over the Labor Day weekend when we stopped in a tiny town which I won't name in the middle of Wyoming. An old biker-dude-looking guy in a trucker cap was serving ice cream in a gas station which had been expanded to house an impromptu jackalope museum. We both ordered ice cream, and as he put the scoops in the cones, we chatted about where we were from. We mentioned we were up from Colorado, and he nodded, smiling: "Colorado's really nice. I've been down there a lot." I asked where he was from, and he said, "well, I started off in Wyoming. I've been a lot of places, but... well. I guess I'll just say that I'm glad to be back here."

I will always live in the West. I will probably always hate the coastal cities, although I'd rather be in LA than any other. And I will always be drawn, like a moth to the glow of a candle, to the open spaces, broad landscapes, high mountains, and golden valleys here.

But I guess there's not much parking.
posted by koeselitz at 5:00 PM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


There are two places in Los Angeles where the air is really bad. One is Pasadena in the summer. The other is San Pedro any time of the year. San Pedro gets a free pass, though, because it's a great place to drink too much and pretend to be Bukowski.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:01 PM on October 16, 2007


Secondly, people only forget San Diego because they're trying to pretend that Orange County doesn't exist. And you have to acknowledge Orange County to get to San Diego.

I somehow feel the need to defend Orange County, but I can't really muster up anything noteworthy to say. Asides from Little Saigon, I got nothing. Some of the beach towns are awesome, but that's par for Southern California.
posted by Weebot at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2007


I have very little opinion about LA. I really don't. Like many of the people who live there, apparently, I don't care.

That said, one thing alone informs my opinion of the place: The point of a city, as far as I'm concerned, is that you get to not have a car, or at least get to use one sparingly. By all accounts, this metric alone means that LA is not the place for me.

I take no issue at all with people who may prefer it for other reasons.

Actually, not entirely true. The weather would drive me mad. I can't imagine living somewhere where it never gets properly cold. I loves me some new england weather. Doesn't stay cold for long at a time, but at least it gets down there occasionally. This also informs my opinion of whether I would want to live there.
posted by Arturus at 5:09 PM on October 16, 2007


I think I can best respond to the LA haters with this link.

There are lots of annoying people here, but a lot of them came here from wherever you are. Traffic is bad, it's expensive, air quality sucks and lots of other stuff. I tried moving away and I came back after a year. This city is what you make it. I can deal with it, but I can see why people can't.
posted by lazymonster at 5:12 PM on October 16, 2007


Suck it, haters, L.A. is much better than whatever craphole you're living in now, trust me.

You're so wrong it's utterly redonkulous.

I'm a Los Angeles native. My family has been in California for at least 5 generations, if not 6 - well before it was incorporated as a state in the Union. My grandfather helped work on the Mulholland water projects, my grandma worked in the aircraft plants during WW2 - later my dad worked on the same water-ways and flood-control projects as a safety engineer - IE, the poor bastards that clean the trash out of said flood channels and tunnels so LA doesn't flood every year. It is, indeed, built on one hugenormous floodplain.

Of my family, I'm the only one left of my generation in the State. They've all fled to greener, cheaper pastures. My mom and my dad remain in LA, perhaps because they know nothing else, perhaps because they're unable to escape, perhaps because they actually like it.

I was born near Glendale. I mostly grew up to the south in Orange County, but spent plenty of my youth in LA. The Museum of Science and Industry. La Brea Tarpits. Griffith Park. Los Angeles National Forest. Mt. Baldy. Venice Beach.

As I grew up, I escaped the gentrified, conservative white hell that is Orange County for various points in LA. Arlington Heights. Washington Heights. Echo Park. Pasadena. Glendale. Never, ever the Valley. There's really no there, there - even in LA.

I know Los Angeles like I know my own skin. I know Pico, I know Figueroa. I know Venice and Crenshaw. Olympic. Chevy Chase Drive. Mulholland. Pacific Crest. The 5, the 10, the 405, the 101, the 710, the 105, the 605, the 22, 55, 110...

I know LA from Antelope Valley to Long Beach, from Silverlake to Echo Park, from Compton to Rodeo and Wilshire, from the peaks of Malibu Canyons to the deserts of Indio and Victorville.

I grew up in the oceans. I grew up on the mountains. I grew up in an ocean of concrete and asphalt. I teethed off the last of my baby fat in clubs like The Whiskey A-Gogo, The Palace, and The Roxy.

I've eaten at Pink's, at Canter's, at Phillipe's and The Pantry. Too many times. I've eaten thousands of roadside tacos, I've had "date shakes" on the cliffs of Laguna Beach and in the palmaries of Indio. I've had bacon-wrapped death-dogs from carts beneath any given freeway overpass at 3 and 4 and the morning.

I watched Huell Howser's "Videolog" series on KCET before it became "California's Gold".

I've surfed "earthquakes". I've been through many of them. Wildfires, quakes, killer bees, driveby shootings, freeway shootings, the Hillside Strangler, the OJ Simpson trials, the Rodney King riots - I've been there for all of them. My mom remembers the Watts riots. My grandpa remembers the Pacific Electric streetcars, and when Glendale was a sleepy, rural town.

There is much to love about LA. There's a lot of history, and a lot of detail, and a lot of culture. Real culture, not Hollywood's onanistic drivel and drippings. There's art and music, there's concerts in the Bowl, there's opera at the Pavilion or - now - at Disney hall. I visiting The Brewery back when it was ghetto, I was at the Spruce Goose dome for Techno Flight and 808 State, way back. I've been in warehouses and hangers for parties and art shows all over LA.

There's lots going on - if you can find it. And in a concrete jungle composed of several thousand square miles of roads and strip malls - that's a really big "if".

Much of what utterly sucks about LA is outlined in the linked article. No one walks in LA. Everyone is a stranger - and thereby, often, an asshole.

Right. So no one cares. Well, untill you step out of line and try to break through the thin, crackled veneer of perfection - so transparant a facade on the grit of dirty concrete and endless sprawl and filth. Until you rock the boat, or be uncool by way of being earnest.

LA hates earnestness. And positivity. LA hates it when you're "uncool" or ethusiastic about anything. That affected disorder of a continual state of non-surprise? Fuck that shit.

The world is too vast and humans too puny for any of that to be valid, at all.

Much of what makes LA suck isn't the natives - many of whom are long, long gone - but the recent arrivals. So many. Too many. The wannabe stars, the suburban home-buying, SUV driving transplants from points elsewhere - Phoenix, Chicago, Des Moines - all those teeming millions that buy right into that shitty hyperconsumerist LA lifestyle. People who go there to "invest" in a home, people who go there just for the weather... Drive, work, drive, buy, drive, consume, drive, die. Repeat until dead.

Somehow, it changes people - for the worse, maybe. Some sort of infection, a mental virus. Perhaps people come to LA with too many expectations, or too much defensiveness and fear about the enduring myths of LA. Perhaps its the smog, or the countless hours on the freeways, or the total lack of any center of any sort at all. But it changes people.

LA taught me not to drive - for life. That I never, ever wanted to partake in that culture of madness - that I would stubbornly try to survive without a car in LA for nearly a decade. LA taught me how to wait an hour for a bus that you'd be on for an hour, or more. LA taught me how to manage 6 hours of commuting on top of an 8-10 hour workday.

LA taught me perspective, and patience by being the example of how to do it wrong.

LA taught me not to be cool. To be cool is to be dead, lifeless - without interest or interests. To be cool is to miss out on so many good things in life, to studiously, intentfully fail to enjoy anything at all.

No, I'm not too good to learn new tricks, to admit to having not heard of something. No, I'm not too good for LA, either - but it often felt like LA was too good for me, only in the worst way.

In the end, "Los Angeles" isn't even "Los Angeles", as has been noted here, there, and everywhere.

It's not a true "place", but rather a cherry-picked amalgam of different places. Disneyland? Not in Los Angeles - it's in Anaheim, in Orange County. Hollywood? Not technically in Los Angeles, the City, either. Surf City? That's not Malibu, nor Venice - but in Huntington Beach, also in Orange County. LA natives know this one - when visitors come in to LA from out of town for the first time and they want to "see it all", or even simply just Hollywood and Disneyland in the same day, or even the same week - and the natives just sort of cringe and sigh and think about all the goddamn driving they're going to have to do, and how they're going to explain how none of this is physically possible without chartering a helicopter... Would they think it possible to see Philadelphia, Washington DC and Manhattan all in the same day? No? It's about the same distances. With more traffic and people, even. All one, long sprawling scab of concrete and asphalt.

I could go on and on, but I bet you get the point.

I don't miss LA. I really don't. I miss some friends down there, but not enough to want to move back.

Conversely, SF is a joy, to me. People walk, here. There's transportation, and art, and great food, and none of it is ever very far away. People actually do care, here - but will maintain a safe and sane distance, a sort of Londoner's "None of my damn business!", until a rapport is established. Friendly, but not falsely or overly so. I experience surprisingly little idle chit-chat in SF, and I'm always pleasantly surprised by how easily people are enthusiastic and earnest about what they love, and how readily they share it.

SF isn't for everyone. It's topsy turvy, and truly weird, which doesn't confuse me at all - it just feels like a long, lost home. And since my ancestors were here and in NorCal, too, from the beginning, that's probably fitting.

California itself is deep, deep in my blood - by right of heritage, by way of the adventurous nature of my ancestors who trekked here on foot - and as a whole, I love every last inch of California. When I leave California, I get terribly homesick for all of the extremes and variations it has to offer, from Heaven itself to the deepest bowels of Hell, it's here.

But, for me? LA isn't it. It never has been, and never will. I'm way, way too weird and intense and earnest for LA, and SF has been the first place I've ever felt 'normal' - or, at least - not unusual.

You can have it, jonson. I'm done with it. There's nothing there for me but ghosts and leftovers.
posted by loquacious at 5:14 PM on October 16, 2007 [97 favorites]


First off... Camp Pendleton is in Oceanside, which is North County San Diego. My senior prom was in the NCO club there (which we were not too happy about when every other school got the Sea World Pavilion, let me tell you), so I'm pretty familiar with it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Los Angeles.

It separates the LA megalopolis from San Diego. I live in San Diego. As far as I'm concerned "LA" starts around Mission Viejo, and I'm convinced that Pendleton is the only thing that really keeps LA and SD from merging into one completely ungodly mess of a city.
posted by LionIndex at 5:16 PM on October 16, 2007


A driver and a non-driving pedestrian will have very different answers.

I am a non-driving pedestrian. I lived for six years in New York City and for one in L.A. The lower density urban space of L.A. is not meant to be appreciated on foot, except in some denser areas (Downtown, various shopping streets, some residential). I spent great spans of time walking from here to there, or taking the bus -- granted, most spend great spans of time in traffic jams on the freeways.

The sky was beautiful, I'll admit that. In Manhattan you hardly see the sky.

I'll admit emotional components: I associate the high urban density of Manhattan with the semi-mania of writing my dissertation, the low density of L.A. with my depression after completing it. I've concluded that I need urban density.

I am speaking of the landscape, not the people; the most stereotypically "New York" people (in the sense of Artists in Black) I, in person, saw were the students at Columbia University's School of Architecture, many of whom must have come from elsewhere.

The most stereotypically "Los Angeles people" (in the sense of Francesca Lia Block novels) I, in person, ever saw were the Sunday morning diners at the Mustard Seed Café in East Hollywood, who had dressed even their children as mini-me hipsters in thrift-shop clothes. They, too, may have come from elsewhere.
posted by bad grammar at 5:17 PM on October 16, 2007


Blaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.

If people are going to hate on LA, can they at least be marginally less pedestrian?

I veto the following:

*"People in LA order funny coffee drinks!"

*"Some people in LA have had plastic surgery!"

*"Los Angeles: it's poorly-planned and has smog!"

*"I'm too smart for LA, that's why I didn't fit in."
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:26 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


YMMV, but I totally disagree about the earnestness part though, Loquacious. If anything, upon leaving I've found that I'm too earnest for the rest of the world sometimes, and that I really underestimated the depth of the people I met there when I was there. I've found SF to be just as, if not more superficial than LA but just in a different flavor. Earnestness from a stranger often throws people here off guard, I've found. They aren't sure how to take it. And to be honest, there are people I worked with for a week in 1992 who are still active friends of mine... I've gone to their weddings, I know all about their lives and they know all about mine. Yet most of the people I worked with for 3 years at the job that brought me here haven't let their guard down for me to consider any of them to be anything more than acquaintances. Especially when a few of them still refer to me as "that girl from LA." Which doesn't help me want to be their friends. (As I said... fuckin' enough already. I've been here 3 years. Don't keep trying to bust my balls. If you were observant you'd realize that I don't have any and just because I'm from Los Angeles doesn't mean I am not a good person who deserves for people to show me respect and kindness, tyvm.)
posted by miss lynnster at 5:32 PM on October 16, 2007


Yeah... you're kinda wrong. But that's ok. There's a Hell of a lot of other things in between the dreaded megalopolis and the glory of America's Finest City.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:39 PM on October 16, 2007


I like LA. It surprised me.

I used to buy into all the negative shit about the place, then I spent a good amount of time there fully expecting to hate it - and I loved it.

The people were great. The food was great. Lot's to do. Plenty of culture.

I can't say the same about other many, many, other cities. Pittsburgh is awful. Orlando... a terrible waste. Dallas the biggest shit hole I have ever had this misfortune to be stuck in for a couple of months.

LA maybe fucked up the surrounding environment with some really poor urban planning... but you know they are trying hard to change all that.

You have to spend some time there to give it fair hearing.
posted by tkchrist at 5:43 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Upton O'Good writes "People would visit for a week and only discover the HUGE MOUNTAIN RANGE to the north when the smog lifted on the last day."

95% of the time, that 'smog' is marine layer. Catalytic converters worked wonders on this place. Granted, in late summer it can be pretty smoggy, but so is pretty much every major city. Portland, Oregon gets downright nasty in august.
posted by mullingitover at 5:44 PM on October 16, 2007


I didn't even bother to read the article. The first picture on the page is reason enough to want nothing to do with Los Angeles.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:56 PM on October 16, 2007


I would like to say one thing in defense of Los Angelenos:

They know how to drive. If you plan on moving there LEARN TO FUCKING MERGE ONTO THE FREEWAY. You will hate it a lot less. And we will hate you a lot less too.

I would love to get a good NorCal/SoCal fight brewing... I can't for the life of me think of anything better about LA than the Bay.

Northern CA starts somewhere around Willits so you'd be out of luck on that one.
posted by fshgrl at 6:01 PM on October 16, 2007


i'm totally with loquacious here. grew up in LA... hate it. the SF bay area is much better, for every reason given above. LA is a hellacious sprawl - at least here in the bay area growth is somewhat constrained by the geography.

if i'm not mistaken, the freeways in LA are gridlocked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week now. nice.
posted by joeblough at 6:04 PM on October 16, 2007


It's James Ellroy and Blade Runner.

Everything I know about vile, corrupt, twisted, perverted L.A. I learned from James Ellroy. Ellroy is God among men.
posted by MikeMc at 6:11 PM on October 16, 2007


if i'm not mistaken, the freeways in LA are gridlocked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week now. nice.

You're mistaken, although our rush hours are insanely long (approximately 6am - 11am and 3pm - 9pm). One of my favorite things to do in LA is drive on the 101 through the San Fernando Valley pretty much anytime after midnight. It's wide open and a wonderful drive.
posted by dhammond at 6:11 PM on October 16, 2007


Also, as previously mentioned... who needs to stay on the freeway? That's what side street and canyon shortcuts are for.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:17 PM on October 16, 2007


And NorCal stickers aren't funny, they're just ads for a skate brand often used to denote white power.

That's neither here nor there; it's still identity branding that plays into that whole rivalry.

As a SoCal native and a NorCal resident, (Santa Cruz, woo woo, my idea of the best town, only missing the people I love, sadly.) it's in my head, and everyone else's whose lived both places.

I have same geographical credentials as you and it's certainly not in my head. I never got the impression that Angelenos ever really had anything bad to say about the Bay Area. "It's a nice area" is the general sentiment. Talk to Bay Area residents, though, and the responses you'd get would be about the same tenor as this thread. I'm in agreement with miss lynnster on this one: most of the time, these anti-Los Angeles tirades that New Yorkers and San Francisco natives go on are beyond obnoxious.

Surf City? That's not Malibu, nor Venice - but in Huntington Beach, also in Orange County.

As far as North/South rivalry goes, however, I'd be totally up in arms about Huntington Beach vying to take Santa Cruz's title as Surf City.
posted by Weebot at 6:18 PM on October 16, 2007


loquacious writes "LA hates earnestness. And positivity. LA hates it when you're 'uncool' or ethusiastic about anything. That affected disorder of a continual state of non-surprise? Fuck that shit. "

Funny, most of the people I've met in LA have been cheerful and outgoing, to the point that people from NYC comment on it. The hypothesis I've heard comparing the abundant assholes in New York to the friendly people here is that in LA, everyone is trying to network.

loquacious writes "Never, ever the Valley."

*Sigh* There's nothing wrong with the Valley. North Hollywood is a great little artsy-fartsy neighborhood. We had an awesome gunfight here.

loquacious writes "No one walks in LA."

Interesting hypothesis. Data point: I didn't own a car for the first ten months I live here. I walk to work every day. I walk to the grocery store. I could get rid of my car tomorrow and it wouldn't make much of a difference in my day-to-day. I'm far less car-dependent than I was in Portland.

Trying to generalize about this place is pretty pointless. You can have a great time or an awful time in any given city in the world, depending on the circumstances.
posted by mullingitover at 6:20 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hate LA. I lived there for 10 years (actually in the San Fernando Valley) and I'm glad to get out.

LA isn't even a real city. It's a collection of suburbs with nothing holding them together.

Vancouver, on the other hand, is my favorite city. It works. There's a real downtown where you can actually walk around, and there are lots of livable areas in the city and nearby.
posted by mike3k at 6:22 PM on October 16, 2007


I lived in LA for six years.

I think this essay captures lots of the energy and the vibe of LA--maybe better than I've ever heard explicated.

And I love the fact that "No matter what you do in L.A., your behavior is appropriate for the city" . . . I think that's one of the great things about the place. Oh, and the Mexican food.

But ultimately, I also agree with the claim that "No one cares. You're alone in the world." I both existentially agree with it and agree that that is a theme of Los Angeles.

And it's also why I have no desire to live there again. Maybe I am really, truly, ultimately alone in the world. But I don't like living in a place that operates on that assumption and reinforces it with an urban layout that requires you to isolate yourself in your car to do, well, pretty much anything.

At some point in my tenure their I realized that pretty much the only encounters I had with strangers were moments when I changed lanes or was involved in a monetary transaction.

When I visit LA now I'm fortunate to see friends who inhabit these very cool pockets of creativity in the city where there does seem to be more of a sense of community than I ever felt when I was living there.

But, in general, I find it an isolating and atomizing place. There's a reason the dystopia of Blade Runner was set in LA.
posted by donovan at 6:27 PM on October 16, 2007


YMMV, but I totally disagree about the earnestness part though, Loquacious.

I think we run in different circles. I've never been given any shit for being from LA, but then, I usually defuse it right off the bat by (honestly) disavowing any real love for the place. I self-deprecate well.

Also, my peer group is weird, and unconcerned less by these things and more so by where the next 40-and-a-spliff is at, or where the next party is, or art-happening, etc.

And lastly, I seem to fit in here rather well. I've met folks of varied walks, ages, and means from all over San Francisco (SF itself, not the Bay Area in general) and I've been quite accepted by the natives.

And I mean true blue natives, and a few notables of the city and it's culture. I would be shameless enough to namedrop, but I'm too wise and old for that, now, and I value the connections, as well as the friendship of said folks, so you'd just have to take my word for it that they're rather well-known and well-liked folks from behind the scenes in the arts/culture of SF.

One of my first experiences in the city was being offered a nice, err, smoke from a rather nice lady in her late 60s. At a bus stop in Haight. At three in the frickin' morning. If you listened closely, you could hear the cognitive dissonance on that one shattering like a giant glass dome over the city.

Suddenly it actually felt like home. Not a fiction, not an imagined dreaming - but like home. I feel that way all over the city, from Presidio Park to the urban-industrial cruft of Bayshore.

I've been in multi-million dollar homes up on Russian Hill and Twin Peaks and in totally overcrowded HUD flats, and they've all felt like home. Never felt like that in LA.

For someone as socially awkward and intense as I am, it's damn important, and deeply appreciated.

I wonder why it's different for you and I?
posted by loquacious at 6:31 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I live in Culver City right now and it's a great little hideway with a small but awesome downtown. I lived in South Los Angeles (formerly known as South Central) for school but moved in May after graduation. Since we're all going to post song lyrics about LA, let me throw Mid-City's finest in to the mix.

"L.A." by Murs:

I'm from L dot A dot Californ-I-A hot
Days got shade let me take you 'round the way
Lot of out-of-towners can't handle this city
Where you wear the wrong color and it can get tricky
But that was eighty-six and, things done changed
We a lot mo' evolved with the way that we bang
Not the rips and the dawgs, man the smog might kill ya
But you ain't gotta worry if you stayin North of Wilshire
Don't be scared of Crenshaw, the Slausson super-mall
Or Earl's Hot Dogs man you gotta do it y'all, c'mon
Come to the hood where we do the most good
Magic Johnson be ownin everything like he should
Lynnwood, Long Beach, Hawthorne, Gazine
From the towers in Watts, to the hills of Pasadena
The home of the traffic and that gangbang culture
And I hope the way we do the damn thang don't insult ya

I'm from L.A. (ahh) Southern California
Fool the West coast, where everybody is somebody
And the game is fame, do everythang with a bang
And everybody wanna know, what set you claim

The land where the six-fo's, hop up and get low
Your favorite rapper gettin jacked for more than his sick flows
Home of the pornos, we mess up award shows
The weather's always warm so the women wear short clothes
Our beaches ain't the cleanest but the {ahh} is the greenest
And we got the blonde bombshells and sick Latinas
Then mix in the dark-skinned light-skinned sisters
Where you never have to wear your triple goose on Christmas
You can miss us with the blizzards and the winters
The hurricanes unless it's in some glasses with some actresses
Perfect frame, silicone or real it don't matter if she paid for it
Every single trend you can probably thank L.A. for it
Bandanas, facelifts, quick trips to Vegas
White t-shirt, Chuck Taylors or them K-Swiss
Poplockin, Crip walkin, chronic blunts, G-Funk
A place that everybody hate, but you gotta see once
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:36 PM on October 16, 2007


just realized this the best transcription of his lyrics, should read "Gardena," not "Gazine" (whatever the hell that is)
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:41 PM on October 16, 2007


After I moved to L.A. I made the acquaintance of the guy who played Skippy on Family Ties.

No other city in the world can match that.

L.A. has everything. Beats unincorporated northern Colorado hands-down.

All you haters just need to start wearing contact lenses so the smog won't burn your eyes. And learn to use the bike lane at intersections to pass on the right & cut everyone off when the light changes.
posted by univac at 6:41 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


We takes ze money, Lebowski.
posted by mullingitover at 6:43 PM on October 16, 2007


I don't think I truly "got" LA until I saw Fritz Haeg (whose website might resize your browser) speak at my school in San Francisco. The talk just consisted of him quickly flipping through his digital photographs and making comments about them. The weird, cluttered art happenings he threw at his weird, cluttered house, all funded by the weird, cluttered buildings he was designing for weird, cluttered rich people. At some point I just thought, "Why yes, I could live there."
posted by roll truck roll at 6:45 PM on October 16, 2007


As far as North/South rivalry goes, however, I'd be totally up in arms about Huntington Beach vying to take Santa Cruz's title as Surf City.

Whatever, man. There's a reason they hold the OP Pro there. That place has more rideable days - and more of them killer offshore days with monster tubes - than any other spot in California, bar none. The weather is a near perfect 60-70, year round. The water hardly ever gets colder than 50 degrees, if that. You can surf most of the year without a wetsuit, and rarely do you want hoods and booties. The beaches are almost entirely sand - there's one spot with cliffs and rocks, and the rest of it is some of the widest all-sand beach in the world.

The breaks are consistant. You can take your pick of a solid left and a solid right within a mile of each other, depending on the direction of the swell. HB also is also able to capture hurricane swells from Australia, Hawaii, Baja, South America, New Zealand, Tahiti and just about any point in the Pacific.


Santa Cruz? Ok, the surf's alright there. But it's cold. Oh, and there's sharks. Big ones. Great, white ones, if you will.

Now, Huntington Beach itself? Eh, ever since they "remodeled" downtown, it's even more of a corporate shithole of a bedroom community. There's too many deeply closted, angry homosexuals with "NO FEAR!" stickers on their very large trucks.

But the surf? The surf is excellent. I've surfed much of CA, from Trestles to Ocean Beach, including Santa Cruz - but HB has some of the best, most consistant waves and rides anywhere on the frickin' planet, day-in and day-out.
posted by loquacious at 6:51 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't believe California actually exists. It's a fictional universe where everyone is blond, tan and healthy and the ghetto has palm trees. Thus LA does not exist.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 PM on October 16, 2007


I have had more than enough of this "LA SUCKS ON ANY AND ALL LEVELS" bullshit directed at me since moving to San Francisco simply in response to me saying that's where I moved from.

Don't you live in Burlingame? That doesn't count as San Francisco, and never has. I would never say the culture of Burlingame represents the culture of the City, any more than I would say the culture of Glendale represents Downey, or Culver City, or Hollywood... I'm just saying, if you're talking about Peninsula people giving you a hard time, I can understand where you're coming from; you're living in the crappy, insular, self satisfied suburbs. San Francisco people usually have better things to do than give people crap about where they come from because everyone in the City is from somewhere else, which pretty much makes it the height of hypocrisy; and because they generally have much more interesting things to say. I'm sorry you've felt kind of put upon since coming up here, but I really don't think you can say you've truly experienced SF and it's culture and how great or lousy it is unless you've lived in the City. From my perspective of living here in the Bay Area all my life, the only real animosity towards LA is entirely baseball centered (and we can blame the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers for that). Then again, maybe I just run across fewer jackasses than you do, somehow.

Disclaimer: I'm a fourth generation Californian on my Mom's side (great-grandma was born in Redlands) and a fifth on my Dad's (great-great grampa was born in St Helena).
posted by oneirodynia at 7:15 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have lived in and visited countless cities around the world. The one place I have not been is L.A. I have always regretted not making more of an effort to spend some time there and for many reasons this post has made me yearn for that experience. For people commenting that have not been there, please fuck off. Any place that can generate so much passion is a place I want to visit. By the way, johnson, your previous posts concerning L.A. have been outstanding, giving me continuous motivation for peeling my wife away from the not so great city of Chicago.
posted by repoman at 7:25 PM on October 16, 2007


Wait, your nick is "repoman", and you've never lived in LA? That seems wrong, somehow. You should probably fix it.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:34 PM on October 16, 2007


(as in, you should probably go there.)
posted by oneirodynia at 7:35 PM on October 16, 2007


Good weather is kind of like patriotism ... it is the fallback position.

Nice weather is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:38 PM on October 16, 2007


Um. Can I just mention that this FPP, the subject of which is one of the biggest and most storied cities in the world, is a single link to a blog entry? That obviously hasn't stood in the way of a burgeoning conversation, but seriously -- given the wealth of material that must be out there, this is lazy as fuck.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:49 PM on October 16, 2007


This thread is giving me a headache. I just don't get it, I don't get it at all. I wanted to, but now I'm just tired.

WHO CARES?

Who cares about being cool? Who cares what city you live in? Who cares about the ins and outs of LA or New York City? Or San Francisco? People accuse Mefi of being USA-centric, but this is just ridiculous. If your city is truly great, you wouldn't have to sell it or defend it so hard. And you wouldn't need to spend so much time hating on another city. You'd just LIVE in it and be happy. There are so many great cities in this world, and so many other places that aren't cities at all but are wonderful.

I feel like I'm from another planet when I read threads like this. "LA is great because you don't matter, you're truly free when no one cares about you". Okay then. What I don't get is why this is seen as a selling-point. But okay.

"You can sit next to Chuck Norris and serve smoothies to Annette Bening". SO? I assume if you live there then you don't care. Only those obsessed with celebrity would care. And tourists. So why is this so great?

I have nothing against LA or New York or San Francisco or Boston. I'm just sick of all the prejudice and generalizations and jingoism. So anti-universal. I'm scared of these big cities because I don't want any "place" to be my be all and end all. Where-ever I go, there I am. I and those I love and those who love me and people, wonderful awful humanity. Who cares what it's called or how long it's been there.

This thread is stressing me out.
posted by Danila at 7:58 PM on October 16, 2007


"Can I just mention that this FPP, the subject of which is one of the biggest and most storied cities in the world, is a single link to a blog entry?"

Can I just mention that if you want to make this (incorrect) argument that you should do it it MetaTalk?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:03 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's a fictional universe where...the ghetto has palm trees.

Palm trees are ghetto trees. There were plenty of them were I grew up--fucking cockroach and pigeon motels, those things.
posted by mullacc at 8:04 PM on October 16, 2007


Dammit. Forgot to quote the entire post. Ah, well. C'est la vie.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:04 PM on October 16, 2007


I'm with miss lynster on this one; Some of the comments people make about Los Angeles are offensive in a way that hardly anyone would stand for in any other context. It's like someone constantly telling you they hope your mom gets cancer. I mean, what the hell people?

I've lived in a bunch of places. Los Angeles stands apart from all of them.

Other great places: Chicago, NYC, Boston.

Dishonorable mentions: Indianapolis, anywhere in Texas or Florida save Miami.
posted by Justinian at 8:10 PM on October 16, 2007


but my favorite New York era was the 70's through the early 90's when pretty much everyone was weird and the yuppies stayed in their designated areas

Sniff, don't remind me. As a native New Yorker with the accent to prove it I am daily depressed by the homogeneity of the city - even the so called hip places. There are Goddamned Quizno's sub hero shops and Pizza Huts on every block now. just like back in Mesa or Plano. New York is over. It breaks my heart every day. I feel like an outsider in my own city The city that birthed the Velvet Underground, Punk, Woody Allen movies, Red diaper babies, and hip-Hop will not be birthing much any more unless it is an over bred baby who is on the fast track to a "competitive pre-k."

Also, the car culture in Los Angeles drives me insane.

When I visit my mother there, I get stared at for walking.

That is most of the States to be sure. I did it in Florida and the same thing. Plus I almost died from the heat and humidity.

Funny this thread has lead me to believe that MOST cities are getting more and more homogenized and perhaps the best coolest thing one could do is live under the radar in the 'burbs. After all, the one joint I was offered by an oldster was from a conservative libertarian Christian in Sewanee Tennessee.
posted by xetere at 8:15 PM on October 16, 2007


Can I just mention that if you want to make this (incorrect) argument that you should do it it MetaTalk?

The...argument that it's a single link to a blog? Okay, if you include the link to someone's user info, I guess my argument is invalid...? If you mean the argument that it's lazy...sorry, but it's lazy. I'm pretty sure one or two links that corroborate or piss upon the notion that LA is awesome and we should all live there could have been dug up from somewhere. As it stands, this is a GYOFB post, except that the FB has already done been G-en, just not by jonson. If you'd like to move that into Meta, go for it; I don't have anything else to say about it, personally.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:20 PM on October 16, 2007


jonmc: "I don't believe California actually exists. It's a fictional universe where everyone is blond, tan and healthy and the ghetto has palm trees. Thus LA does not exist."

I told my wife that before the first time I went out there to see her folks (Bay Area not LA). As far as I was concerned California was OZ, a fictional construct not really a place that real people lived in. As it turns out it does exist (and oranges grow on trees! Who knew?) but I can't ever see moving there. Too many cars and too much sunlight and no rain. I can't stand the sun and cloudless skies, they make me feel like a bug right after you turn the kitchen lights on. I want run underneath something and hide until that horrible burning thing goes away.
posted by octothorpe at 8:36 PM on October 16, 2007


So far, I have stayed for extended periods in San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas, Chicago, Baltimore, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Moscow, Paris, London, Almaty, Bishkek, and Tashkent. I have lived in Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, Beijing, and Baghdad.

After that last one, I decided that I was happy living anywhere where children were not being shot on a daily basis, and that getting uppity and / or defensive about what city you are / are not from indicates a dire need to get the fuck out of the United States once in a while.
posted by xthlc at 8:43 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


kittens for breakfast - as someone who has posted over 550 times as many front page posts as you have, believe me when I tell you that a single link to a single post somewhere else is not only perfectly acceptable, it's in many cases highly preferable. I'm not writing an essay here, I'm just linking to an essay someone else wrote. Lazy or not, single link posts are absolutely part of Metafilter. As is complaining about them, but polite folk usually go do that in Metatalk.
posted by jonson at 8:47 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Justinian writes "I'm with miss lynster on this one; Some of the comments people make about Los Angeles are offensive in a way that hardly anyone would stand for in any other context. It's like someone constantly telling you they hope your mom gets cancer. I mean, what the hell people?"

LA is sort of like Texas. Sort of. A lot of people from there get the same treatment. Mostly people tell them how much they hate it. And Texans are proud, like people from LA, just in a different way. I'm not from Texas, believe me. Not really fond of most of it nor LA. I can see the appeal, just doesn't do it for me, particularly the endless heat.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:04 PM on October 16, 2007


Can I just mention that if you want to make this (incorrect) argument that you should do it it MetaTalk?

BOOOOOOOO! MetaTalk died in 2000. Let's not bring up fresh wounds.

Metatalk is dead. Los Angeles meetup? Let's figure it out here.

Now let's get ruthless high and drive to the beach.

This talk is what I don't understand. You can get high and drive to the beach in 2,000 other cities. L.A. is not even in the top 10. I'd rather hang out in Jenner.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:06 PM on October 16, 2007


Lazy or not, single link posts are absolutely part of Metafilter.

hear, hear. It's not laziness, it's called fucking quality - get back to me when you have a decent link
posted by mrgrimm at 9:07 PM on October 16, 2007


I mean, what the hell people?"

I mean, what the hell, people.

Fixed that for you.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:08 PM on October 16, 2007


LA is one of those places that I can't imagine actually living. I've been there, I've walked around, and the place just disturbed me on a very fundamental level. I didn't quite realize it until I was flying over the Rockies on the way back, but I was uncomfortable the whole time I was there. There was something about the sheer size of it, the endless sprawl, that made me claustrophobic in a way that Boston and NYC never have. Atlanta is a little close but not nearly as bad. I think it's the feeling of being in an ocean of city with no way to get out of it quickly.

But I'm glad the people that live there like it. Really. I want nothing more than for the people who live in cities to enjoy themselves and stay there.

Me? Personally I think human society goes downhill fast once you get above one person per acre. Or at least it becomes something I just don't understand and will never be comfortable in.

But I'm glad some people like it, because I realize there's not enough space for everyone to live like I want to. Since somebody has to live in the cities, I'm glad it's people who can enjoy it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:11 PM on October 16, 2007


Jonson -- It's great that you've posted more than I have, but that doesn't change the fact that posting a link to a blog entry on a subject that's hardly undocumented elsewhere seems lame. It...well...seems better-suited to a blog. MetaFilter decorum is in my observation chimerical to say the least, and I don't pretend to speak on behalf of the site, just for myself. As for this:

but polite folk usually go do that in Metatalk.

My experience of Meta is that it's anything but polite, and that people move their issues there in hopes of making capital cases of them. That may not be its intent, but it sure seems to be the reality. It seemed, and seems, more polite to post my quite genuine WTF reaction to this post here in the thread. Like I said, though, anyone else who feels that this needs to be in Meta is welcome to post it there.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2007


*"People in LA order funny coffee drinks!"

*"Some people in LA have had plastic surgery!"

*"Los Angeles: it's poorly-planned and has smog!"

*"I'm too smart for LA, that's why I didn't fit in."


I like to walk.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:38 PM on October 16, 2007


that doesn't change the fact that posting a link to a blog entry on a subject that's hardly undocumented elsewhere seems lame

extremely lame, and begging for attention.

I like open threads as much as the next guy, but that's not what MeFi is. This was a lame ass post.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:39 PM on October 16, 2007


I sort of can't be bothered to read all this anymore, but FYI, Huntington Beach won, legally, the rights to "Surf City USA." There was much local brouhaha made of this here in Santa Cruz. I don't care, we have other things to recommend the area than the surfing.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:56 PM on October 16, 2007


I'm originally from LA. An odd place.

I do wonder what's going to happen to it after peak oil.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:38 PM on October 16, 2007


I spent the majority of my childhood there, and I have very strong feelings about Los Angeles. Mostly I hate the place. But my memories of growing up there are fond and I truly attribute my much-valued eclecticism to my youth there.

As much as I despise the city, hating it because of some worn out stereotype about plastic surgery or struggling actors, is akin to hating airline travel because of some comedian's tired riff about tiny bags of peanuts.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:41 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hollywood is still part of the city....my grandfather ran the top bookstore in LA there for 30 years (and my Susan Sontag story involves this). I grew up in the Valley Village part of North Hollywood (the 91607 post office has always been called so) and took the public bus to a magnet school in Reseda between the 9th and 12th grade. I don't EVER remember the driver refusing to stop when it had space available--unlike SF 3 years ago.

There are things I miss about LA, but I feel most at home in New England (though I live in NYC now).
posted by brujita at 10:59 PM on October 16, 2007


brujita: Dutton's? The loss of that place (the NoHo location) tears my heart out almost daily. So many treasures, so much digging, what a wonderful crowd...
posted by maryh at 11:36 PM on October 16, 2007


See, as a transplant to LA (been here slightly over 4 years now), the one thing I hate is the weather. I don't want this much sunlight. Rain is important for my sanity. But as others have said, there's a lot to love and hate about this city, as I'm sure it is for most cities. I don't plan on staying here forever, but everyone complaining about LA based on a couple visits really does not understand the city, just as I would be wrong in making big claims about Chicago and New York based on my short visits there (and I loved both cities, but they have their problems too). Once you get past all the superficiality of the weather, the traffic, etc., it's just a bunch of people living their lives how they feel comfortable. No different from any other city.
posted by fishmasta at 11:41 PM on October 16, 2007


No...the Pickwick (Grampa sold it to what's now Target the year I was born because my father didn't want to take over by himself--he wanted my uncle to join him but my uncle is an astrophysicist) though that was my neighborhood bookstore as I grew up. Sadly missed-- as are Midnight Special and the Sisterhood bookshop.
posted by brujita at 11:47 PM on October 16, 2007


My cousin told me Dave writes articles for AAA's southern CA edition.
posted by brujita at 11:48 PM on October 16, 2007


"Actually, douches usually just like making blanket statements about cities that take up 4,084 square miles and are inhabited by 9,948,081 people."

ok.. let me rephrase that for you.

La loves douchebags and douchebags love La.

for a more wordy, yet eloquent, phrasing of that, read loquacious post.
posted by buzby36 at 11:57 PM on October 16, 2007


See, as a transplant to LA (been here slightly over 4 years now), the one thing I hate is the weather. I don't want this much sunlight.

My husband used to refer to the sun out here as a happy, happy clown who won't ever stop trying to entertain you, no matter how many times you tell him to fuck off.
posted by maryh at 12:13 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The amazing thing about LA is not how many people hate it, but how many people who are from LA hate it.
posted by grouse at 12:42 AM on October 17, 2007


Oh, I don't really hate LA.

I just hate most of the people in it. Well, their cars, mostly.

That and the sprawl, and the two are inter-related explicitly.

There's lots and lots of parts of LA I love.

The food, the world-class museums, the amazing views and geographic eye-candy. You always know any major music tour is going to stop there. You can get anything, any food, any snack, any gadget - very nearly anything - in LA, because so much of the overseas products first arrive here.

I love the quirks of LA. The huge flood control channels, like concrete oceans, quiet and submerged from the entire city - some of the quietest spots in LA aren't in libraries or churches, but in the concrete cathedrals of "Water Control", both freshwater and wastewater.

I love the parks and mountains, the earthquakes, and sometimes I even love the long, straight, flat streets of the main basins, so easy to bike long distances over.

Sometimes I think back to 1984, a mythical, never-existing Golden Age of Los Angeles somewhere in the diffuse fogs of my childhood. The Summer Olympics. Civic pride fanned all over the city - things seemed so shiny, then, even in the smog. I can only remember the year as though it were all golden-sepia, cutscenes from some movie.

And even some of my memories of LA are yours - from countless movies, TV shows and commercials filmed on the streets. Except sometimes I see streets or scenes I know, evoking memories or breaking the illusion that they're actually somewhere else.

It's amazing how quickly that all crumbled and faded - how quickly the newly refurbished LA Coliseum became threadbare, how the Musuem of Science and Industry looked began showing its age, how quickly the last open spaces of strawberry fields and orange groves turned to blocks and blocks of ugly, cookie-cutter apartments - and how we spilled out of the basins into the canyons, climbing the mountains themselves to the deserts beyond - sprawl, sprawl and ever more sprawl. Even now I can replay the images in my mind like a flip-book, a snuff-film of land and space - of birth, growth and death all rapid-fire and warped out of time.

And see? Even when setting out to talk about the things I love about LA, they're all tangled up in there with the bad things - all one and the same.


...Californians invented the concept of lifestyle. This alone warrants their doom...
posted by loquacious at 1:51 AM on October 17, 2007


I didn't read this before, but it made me laugh.

I mean, with all due respect... you actually want anyone to take your LA rant seriously when you end it by saying that the most charming and intelligent people that you have found in the entire 4,000 square mile radius of Los Angeles are the patrons of Jumbo's Clown Room!?!!!? (NSFW photo) WTF?

Because I lived a half a block from Jumbo's (1800 block of Winona) for 4 years. I went there once for a birthday party and while the girls were very depressing I didn't have a bad time, but I also had neighbors who drank there regularly and used to tell me their sordid tales. All I can really say is that in the 4 years that Jumbo's was my neighbor, I drove past more scary ugliness, police activity, tweaker drama, and violence in that parking lot than anyone would want to live a half a block from. To quote one of the yelp reviews: "This is where you'll end up after you've spent the evening getting drunk for free at a nearby art show and meet some random dude who just got out of jail (for meth) who decides to pick a fight with a stripper's boyfriend outside and diffuses the situation by taking off his pants."

So yeah... if someone I knew was truly wanting to bond with and meet quality, smart, well-adjusted people in Los Angeles, I'm pretty sure Jumbo's wouldn't be on my radar of suggestions for places to bond with peers. So I'm thinking you're right and that you should move out of LA asap... it's pretty obvious that your glass is never going to be half full as long as you're there.

You're determined to loathe the city you're living in, which is your right. That's fine, you don't have to like it. But honestly... if you truly believe that Jumbo's is the cream of the crop that Los Angeles has to offer you? You're clearly oblivous to how much there is to explore in the vast cornfield. And that's not the cornfield's fault... it's yours. It's so big, LA has something to offer EVERYONE if they are actually interested.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:50 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


And for the record let me just say this... people who like to use the word douchebag? Are douchebags.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:53 AM on October 17, 2007


Jumbos is now women-owned.
posted by brujita at 3:01 AM on October 17, 2007


If I ever get my hands on a time machine, LA in the mid 60's is a prime target for time-tourism, from me. A native friend one day, while driving in from the west, told how most of the area we traveled had been orange groves, in his youth. Wow. This would have been in the days of the wild beaches you used to see in older movies. Wow.

I haven't been to LA in 11 years, and back then, I wasn't living in LA but in San Bernardino and Orange counties (Huntington Beach, to be exact, and I loved it). I lived in LA in the late 80's, and mostly didn't like it. (I'm a Michigan native, and New Yorker by temperament, and love San Francisco).
posted by Goofyy at 3:30 AM on October 17, 2007


Some of you are certainly taking all this personally. So the hometown you love so much is getting her ass kicked a little -- it's a good thing you're not from the midwest and have to listen to everyone laugh at how provincial you are and suspect you of goatfucking, or worse yet, voting Republican.

I don't have strong feelings about it myself, but I always loved this bit from Marilyn Monroe: "If I close my eyes, and picture LA, all I see is one big varicose vein." That's how you insult a town, people.
posted by melissa may at 3:45 AM on October 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Do you realize there is no L.A?"

I really do not have a clue what that is supposed to actually mean.


It means that the stamps are a twenty minute drive away from the envelopes, and "I know of another party, follow me" can mean a seventy minute drive as if it were nothing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:27 AM on October 17, 2007


cities that take up 4,084 square

The word city does not mean what you think it does.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:29 AM on October 17, 2007


Jonson is going to be so embarrased when he comes down in a couple of days and logs back in.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:52 AM on October 17, 2007


jonson, I love you, man, you're a great poster, but this post is not up to your usual quality. As you probably know (since I've been vocal about it), I have no problem with single-link posts, but this is not a very good one. You read the blog, you loved it, you wanted to post it, I understand, but you shouldn't be so defensive about it. Nobody bats 1.000.

miss lynnster: You're way, way too invested in this. You said you were done and then came back and kept moderating the thread as though it was your baby being attacked by dingos. Surely you have better things to do than defend the soiled, sordid Honor of Los Angeles for days on end?

loquacious: I slurped up every drop of your delicious verbiage and licked the bowl clean. You should really write a memoir of your life in LA; you clearly know the place well and needless to say you can write.

I'm with miss lynster on this one; Some of the comments people make about Los Angeles are offensive in a way that hardly anyone would stand for in any other context. It's like someone constantly telling you they hope your mom gets cancer.

See, this is completely insane. Attacking a city is like "someone constantly telling you they hope your mom gets cancer"? All you're doing is reinforcing the idea that Angelenos are kooks. Have some of that great orange juice, go to the beach, chill out and forget the haters. Remember, if we all flocked to LA, your mellow would be harshed!

Love,

  An Ex-Angeleno
posted by languagehat at 6:01 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's a really fun place to visit, I always get a kick out of L.A.; as for living there all year round, even if that would mean living in the same city as the awesome scody and that's a huge plus, I'm not so sure. I love deserts, and that's a big plus when it comes to my view of L.A., the desert (the ocean, funnily enough, I don't really care much about). what makes me wary, when it comes to L.A., is that peculiar sense of isolation that many (admittedly, ex) Angelenos have told me about; the absence of seasons, for people accustomed to them, must indeed be creepy (and I say this as someone who hates cold weather). I love the blinding, golden quality of the light, though -- it is indeed unique, and L.A. sunsets are priceless (not as out-of-this-world as subsaharan Africa dawns, but nothing is)

and again, the overwhelming presence of the Hollywood film industry in the city's life may or may not be a plus -- the fact that most people have a screenplay they want to sell is kind of grating. obviously earthquakes and race riots are not a unique Los Angeles phenomenon, but boy were they scary to watch on TV -- I can only imagine how horrible would it be be living there when the riots happened. and even the blase attitude of Angelenos re: earthquakes may hide a little fear, too, maybe, I don't know.

something else that strikes me as odd -- of course L.A. has culture but whenever you tell people that, say, Arnold Schonberg lived there for many years, they're kinda amazed -- they wouldn't be if you told them that Schonberg lived in New York -- L.A. seems to suffer from a culture deficit that way, in people's perceptions. but the LACMA is excellent, many movie theatres are first class, Amoeba is the best music store in the galaxy, and as long as Salonen is still conducting there (2009?), the LA Phil rocks (Dudamel, I'm not so sure). for me, the lack of a real world class opera house is a huge minus -- SF, instead, can rightfully brag about her most excellent opera house. I'd hate to have to board on a plane -- or drive for a day -- every time I want to hear some good music.

and then, the LAPD is to me much, much scarier than the not-very-nice NYC cops (and this is spoken as a clean-shaven, well-dressed white guy who always drives very carefully and whose immigration documents are perfectly fine -- I know I certainly wouldn't like dealing with them if I were black).


this post is not up to your usual quality

I strongly disagree, I found it unusually readable, and the moderation is priceless.


Have some of that great orange juice,

I'm sure the guy who has posted over 550 times as many front page posts as other losers will soon post a "California orange juice is sweeter than Florida's" fpp, so we'll be able to discuss orange juice, too.
posted by matteo at 7:05 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find myself agreeing with languagehat here. If LA is sooooo great, then who cares if it's disparaged online? Are these comments really going to affect the city *at all*? It's like the US writ large - if you're really #1, why does it make you so over the top nuts when anyone suggests otherwise?

Also: I would be shameless enough to namedrop, but I'm too wise and old for that, now...

Heh.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:57 AM on October 17, 2007


It totally is, there's not debating.
posted by jonson at 8:02 AM on October 17, 2007


Dude, give it up. You're basically defending a giant stripmall full of cokeheads.
posted by Artw at 8:11 AM on October 17, 2007


I've often made a similar argument to people, usually ineffectively. Los Angeles is the true contemporary American city. It's not a city for the wealthy, like New York; it's not an historical theme park, like Boston; it's not a "boutique" city, like San Francisco. It is real. It's anarchic and un-self regarding. LA doesn't have complexes, and it doesn't secretly wish it were a European city. It is what it is.

It's the birthplace and home of what's arguably America's greatest cultural contribution over the past century, and the source of much of American's (and hence, the world's) pop culture. Much of America's iconography from the past century comes directly from Southern California, from Hollywood and beach/surf culture, to vast shopping malls and the ranch homes of the Brady Bunch. Its vernacular architecture is some of the most interesting around (Googie, anyone?). In general, it's a city that is much less constrained by its past and ideas of what it "should" be, and more forward-looking, than most other American or European cities. It's crazy and bizarre and ephemeral in the way that America has always been.

Not that any of this means LA is the greatest place in the country to live. It mostly certainly isn't. But most interesting? Very likely.
posted by decoherence at 8:15 AM on October 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


as someone who has posted over 550 times as many front page posts as you

My what a big posting penis you have!

Los Angeles is the true contemporary American city. .. It is real.

As opposed to all of the fake American cities? What makes LA anymore "real" than St. Louis or Houston or any one of a hundred other cities?

...the source of much of American's (and hence, the world's) pop culture.

Is that really something to crow about?

I don't hate LA but the "Greatest City in America"? That's kinds like proclaiming Miller to be the best domestic beer, it's so subjective as to be absolutely meaningless.
posted by MikeMc at 8:45 AM on October 17, 2007


I like Portland.
posted by everichon at 8:58 AM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


*can't decide whose tour of LA sounds more appealing: Lynnster's or loquacious'*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:22 AM on October 17, 2007


The reference to how many posts I've made is just a nod to anyone who feels like giving me advice about what is and is not appropriate post material. I've been here six years, I've made more metafilter posts than all but maybe three or four users, I'm pretty clear on what the community standards for an appropriate post are. As for this post in particular, if it's not of interest to the community, why are there hundreds of comments? If it's not in line with community standards, why did mathowie mark it as a favorite? My posts aren't to everyone's tastes, which is fine, but it seems like nothing can get posted these days without someone taking potshots as to the "appropriateness" of the post, which will eventually lead to a giant blue wall of empty.
posted by jonson at 9:22 AM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Last year, I drove from Indianapolis to LA to visit friends. I had a new car which I wanted to show off to these friends, and as you can imagine, it was quite dusty after driving ~2000 miles. So I drove around the LA exurbs looking for a car wash.

Here in the midwest, we have automatic car washes. Some associated with gas stations, some entirely independent businesses. In these, the driver stays in the car, puts the car in neutral, and a belt pulls the car through the automated wash-and-dry process. Some will have a person to spray off your front grill and windshield before hand, but it's still 95% automated, and the whole thing takes no more than 3 minutes.

Drove around for at least half an hour looking for something of this ilk. I saw a lot of car washes, but the only ones I found were ones where the driver had to get out of the car, a car wash employee drives it through the wash, then there's this whole hand-drying/buffing/polishing thing afterwards. I eventually gave up and went to one of these, where it took 15-20 minutes to wash my car. Not to mention that the person who took my car through had apparently never seen a hybrid before (in California? really??); after leaving the car with him and going inside, he came back in to me saying that the car wouldn't start, and I had to explain to him that the engine didn't necessarily start when you turned the car on, but you could still drive it.

So, are there really no fully automatic car washes in LA? Or was I just looking in the wrong places?

Overall, I neither hated nor particularly liked LA. Larger than most cities I've been to, but I didn't find the atmosphere that much different than most large American cities. (The only two US cities I've been to that I find have a noticeably different feel to them are New York and New Orleans. The rest are more or less interchangeable as far as I'm concerned.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:31 AM on October 17, 2007


DA, I've not seen many of these in L.A., and now that I think about it, the last ones I do remember seeing were when I was a kid, so they may be out of business by now.
posted by jonson at 9:35 AM on October 17, 2007


I live in Burbank and work in LA proper. When I sit down in the cafeteria to have lunch with my friends, it's just as likely as not that each one of us was born in a different country. I don't think LA lacks culture- perhaps it just has too much of it, but spread out a lot.

Also, from my home I can walk to a mountain, a bookstore, a movie theater, 3 grocery stores, and restaurants that serve food from dozens of different cuisines.

One time, I was walking down the street, and I saw a man in a superhero costume walking down the opposite side of the street. I didn't look twice. Rock on, superdude.
posted by kamikazegopher at 10:30 AM on October 17, 2007


The reference to how many posts I've made is just a nod to anyone who feels like giving me advice about what is and is not appropriate post material. I've been here six years, I've made more metafilter posts than all but maybe three or four users, I'm pretty clear on what the community standards for an appropriate post are. As for this post in particular, if it's not of interest to the community, why are there hundreds of comments? If it's not in line with community standards, why did mathowie mark it as a favorite? My posts aren't to everyone's tastes, which is fine, but it seems like nothing can get posted these days without someone taking potshots as to the "appropriateness" of the post, which will eventually lead to a giant blue wall of empty.

Jesus, jonson, talk about defensive! If all that was aimed in part at me, I certainly didn't say or think it was a crappy post or (god knows) "not appropriate post material," I just said it wasn't "up to your usual quality." It was an acceptable post, but the reason it's gotten hundreds of comments is (obviously) that it's a hot-button subject. If not for the Rules of MeFi, you could have just posted "LA is the best city, amirite?" with no link at all and gotten 300 comments. But you know that. What I can't figure out is why you (and miss lynnster, who didn't even post the sucker) are so appalled that people are making comments about why they don't like LA. Did you think everyone in the universe loves the city as much as you do? I doubt it. Did you think those who disagreed would just keep quiet about it out of respect to jonson and his magnificent posting history? I doubt that too. I don't get it. Why not watch the firefight with the same detached amusement with which you watch the car chases on local news? Is it not enough to be one of the most popular posters in MeFi history—you want universal love and total acceptance too? Watch out: next step is wanting a month named after your mother!

Seriously: "mathowie marked me as a favorite, nyaah nyaah"? Dude!
posted by languagehat at 10:52 AM on October 17, 2007


FWIW, there's an automatic car wash just minutes away from me in Echo Park.

That and a now-closed one in Sherman Oaks are the only two I've seen here in 11 years.
posted by Kloryne at 10:58 AM on October 17, 2007


loquacious, I respect the depth of your experience of LA and your ability to write about it. But it's just bizarre how little our experiences jibe. LA is where I finally allowed myself to be weird, and passionate, and I've found nothing but support from all quarters. And if I have a complaint about attitude, it's about a surplus of positivity. I'm glad you've found a home in SF though.
posted by lbergstr at 11:04 AM on October 17, 2007


Also, from my home I can walk to a mountain, a bookstore, a movie theater, 3 grocery stores, and restaurants that serve food from dozens of different cuisines.

*takes the bait*

walkable within 30 minutes:
two indie movie theaters, one of which is 70 years old, an indie video rental shop, 2 big indie book shops, at least seven different nationalities of cuisine, gelato as well as froyo, a redwood forest, a duck pond, 2 miles of varied beaches, a giant arcade, a bowling alley, a 100 year old wooden rollercoaster, a 150 year old cemetery, a wharf replete with sea lions, thrift stores, a fashionable shopping area, grocery stores, hippie food stores, and a university, with a cave. Also, these are really pretty walks.

30 minutes to San Jose or Big Basin, 1 hour to Monterey, Big Sur or SF, 5 to Tahoe, Yosemite or LA.

30 minutes from LA most places is still LA. I get restless in a place that sprawly. Small, centrally located towns FTW.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:26 AM on October 17, 2007


lh - none of it was aimed at you in particular. I'm just tired of people who've been here six months or posted one or two posts telling people who've been here for years what is or isn't in line with community standards. I'm not bragging that matt favorited the post, I reference that point to make the point that if the guy who created the site is okay with the post, the guy who has been here since April should probably mind his own business, or just use the flagging system.

As for the LA defensiveness, you know me better than that. Would a literal attempt to convince others that this city rocks include the lyrics from I Love LA in the tags? Would it include the phrase "Suck it, haters, L.A. is much better than whatever craphole you're living in now, trust me." I like LA, I like New York, I like Denver, Portland (OR), Chicago & Seattle. I really have no serious dog in the fight other than the fact that a rabid pro-Los Angeles stance seemed like an amusing one to take.
posted by jonson at 11:34 AM on October 17, 2007


lh - none of it was aimed at you in particular. I'm just tired of people who've been here six months or posted one or two posts telling people who've been here for years what is or isn't in line with community standards. I'm not bragging that matt favorited the post, I reference that point to make the point that if the guy who created the site is okay with the post, the guy who has been here since April should probably mind his own business, or just use the flagging system.

Oh, fuck off. With this attitude, are you really surprised that people would miss the "irony" of your tags? Unless this petulant child routine is all irony, too. Anyway, you've been here six years, I'm the champion fooseball player in my entire county; are we even now?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:38 AM on October 17, 2007


That depends, am I critiquing your fooseball playing?
posted by jonson at 12:07 PM on October 17, 2007


And no, this petulant child routine is me being genuinely annoyed by jackass noobs who have nothing more to contribute to a discussion than "this post needs more links!"

Flag it, take it to metatalk, keep it to your own damn self, whatever.
posted by jonson at 12:09 PM on October 17, 2007


Well, ARE you??
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:09 PM on October 17, 2007


No, I'm pretty sure your fooseball playing is above reproach. Certainly better than mine.
posted by jonson at 12:15 PM on October 17, 2007


Jackass noobs...seriously? D00d, I will so frag u for that!!! I'm sorry, I had no idea what a crucial and enormous component of your self-worth was your apparent status as MetaFilter royalty. In any event, as much as I would love to afford you the opportunity to continue painting yourself as a complete doucherocket for the amusement of the three people still reading this, I'm going to have to ask you to email me if we're to continue down this path of no doubt testosterone-heightening bullshit...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:15 PM on October 17, 2007


Why would I email you? Seriously, who the hell are you that I would care enough to email you about your comments on a website?
posted by jonson at 12:17 PM on October 17, 2007


jonson and kittens it pains me to see the both of you involved in this.
Please let it go.
posted by jouke at 12:18 PM on October 17, 2007


You two realize that everyone who commented on this has the extreme joy of seeing your witty back and forth in their Recent Activity, right?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:18 PM on October 17, 2007


Quit it, guys, or we'll airdrop you both over some hellish wasteland where you can fight without damaging anything worthwhile. Like LA, for example.
posted by brain_drain at 12:18 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, from my home I can walk to a mountain, a bookstore, a movie theater, 3 grocery stores, and restaurants that serve food from dozens of different cuisines.

I can do all of those with the exception a mountain. On the other hand, I can walk to 2 movie theaters, an art museum, a science museum, I live on a river and my rent is less than the cost of an iPhone. No mountains though.
posted by drezdn at 12:19 PM on October 17, 2007


Why would I email you? Seriously, who the hell are you that I would care enough to email you about your comments on a website?

Is this...all advanced irony or something? If you want to continue arguing with me, as you apparently do, I'm saying use the clicky by which you determined my inferior noob status (!) to find my email address and send me nasty spam links or something, so as to spare innocent bystanders our witty repartee. Barring that, shut up.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:22 PM on October 17, 2007


Plus, my city's small size makes my penis look bigger.
posted by drezdn at 12:23 PM on October 17, 2007


Great post jonson...

I moved to LA about 6 months after leaving the rainbow gathering in Upper Peninsula Michigan...the massive cultural shift definitely was difficult to adapt to for a little bit of course but...
i discovered metafilter while i was there, i rediscovered the awesome joyousness of pinball, i learned to surf...i found out that south central is not nearly as scary as it is 'supposed' to be. ...watched classic movies in a cemetery!

I ate so much good food, i learned alot about real estate, lived in an orthodox jewish community (where i could walk to anything i wanted in less than 15 minutes)

I got to see my STL cardinals beat the Dodgers...I had my first 'real' job...

Ate sushi next to Topher Grace and seitan next to zooey deschanel...served food to countless other celebrities...met mark cuban and michael moore. Got to know the Dresden Dolls personally...hung out somewhat regularly with a pro skater....and i don't really care, it doesn't make me a better person...it doesn't make me cooler than you.

But it is true that you can't truly appreciate LA until you live there...then you can learn the shortcuts and secret awesomeness that you would never find on a a short visit without a knowing guide....

LA is amazing...and i love it. It isn't the only city i love though...
posted by schyler523 at 12:25 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is the city. Los Angeles, California. Every 60 seconds a crime is committed in Los Angeles. In the Los Angeles Police Department's communication center, the telephone rings every 20 seconds, 24 hours a day. Of the three million people* who live in Los Angeles, 35,000 of them are known rapists, murderers, and thieves. They outnumber the police force, seven to one.
*2003 estimate: 3,819,951.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:31 PM on October 17, 2007


Plus, my city's small size makes my penis look bigger.

Now I'm afraid to leave Milwaukee lest I be stricken with big coastal city shrinkage.

Ate sushi next to Topher Grace

That anecdote would be so much sweeter if it ended "and then I kicked his ass."
posted by MikeMc at 12:34 PM on October 17, 2007


Ate sushi next to Topher Grace

That anecdote would be so much sweeter if it ended "and then I kicked his ass."


he was actually very nice...and funny too.
posted by schyler523 at 12:38 PM on October 17, 2007


People defending LA like to deny its shallow celebrity culture but most posts here defending it also include stuff like "...and eat at the same place as [washed-up celebrity]" including the linked post.

I once ate at the same sushi restaurant in NYC as Robert DeNiro. But I never bring that up when explaining why NYC is great. That would be kind of weak.
posted by vacapinta at 1:28 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


As for the LA defensiveness, you know me better than that.

I thought I did, and now I know I was right. Goody!

I like LA, I like New York, I like Denver, Portland (OR), Chicago & Seattle. I really have no serious dog in the fight other than the fact that a rabid pro-Los Angeles stance seemed like an amusing one to take.

OK, cool.
*recalibrates jonson meter*

Wait, that didn't come out right...
posted by languagehat at 1:40 PM on October 17, 2007


kirkaracha quotes "Every 60 seconds a crime is committed in Los Angeles."

If you count smoking weed and/or speeding, a crime is being committed here constantly.
posted by mullingitover at 1:41 PM on October 17, 2007


kittens for breakfast, you're not taking jonson seriously, are you? 'Cause that's usually a bad idea (see above). If you're both batting the Ironic Mock-Antagonism ball back and forth, great act! I just don't want to see any kittens hurt in the making of this trainwreck.
posted by languagehat at 1:41 PM on October 17, 2007


kittens for breakfast, you're not taking jonson seriously, are you? 'Cause that's usually a bad idea (see above). If you're both batting the Ironic Mock-Antagonism ball back and forth, great act! I just don't want to see any kittens hurt in the making of this trainwreck.

It's so difficult to keep up! We bourgeois northerners simple, God-fearing flyover state folk* just tend to shoot from the hip, you know. We don't hearken kindly to this whole irony thing. No sir, we do not. Not atall, not atall. Why, if you can't trust a man to speak his mind, what can you trust about him? Not much, I say, which is why these slick Los Angelenos might not take too well to OUR America. Mmm-hmmm.**

*Okay, technically, I guess I'm a southerner now -- or, more accurately, a scumbag yuppie native of the Metro DC area -- but I'll always be a Clevelander on the inside, at least as long as our teams keep winning and I don't actually have to live there...I kid you, Cleveland, I kid you!

**I'm...pretty sure this is mock antagonism? I can't really imagine jonson could be serious -- or could he? Could I? Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me? The only thing I am definitely, 100% serious about is that I think this is a lame post, but really...how can I complain about it now? This has kept me entertained all afternoon!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:58 PM on October 17, 2007


Well, all righty then! On with the Games, and may the best ironist "win"!
posted by languagehat at 2:01 PM on October 17, 2007


"Yay!"
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:03 PM on October 17, 2007


Okay serious question - where is the "Is that you John Wayne" quote from? I saw it referenced in a comic book once (Badger, a weird indie comic from the 80's) and I can't believe the reference is that obscure.
posted by jonson at 2:54 PM on October 17, 2007


Okay serious question - where is the "Is that you John Wayne" quote from?


The movie "Full Metal Jacket" IIRC.
posted by MikeMc at 2:57 PM on October 17, 2007


Wait, never mind - Google answered.
posted by jonson at 2:57 PM on October 17, 2007


Metafilter: a giant blue wall of empty.
Metafilter: genuinely annoyed by jackass noobs
Metafilter: the guy who has been here since April should probably mind his own business

“So...how’s that water situation working out for ya?”

259 comments re: rox/sux & ME > you

Yeah, s’what I thought.

So, nice place, perhaps magical even, but on the edge of death.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:00 PM on October 17, 2007


Metafilter: smedleyman should probably learn some html
posted by Smedleyman at 3:04 PM on October 17, 2007


There ARE seasons...look closely.
posted by brujita at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2007


*Well, all righty then! On with the Games, and may the best ironist Cleveland Indians not "win" tomorrow night!*
posted by ericb at 3:17 PM on October 17, 2007


There ARE seasons...look closely.

We have the same ones in San Diego: Rainy, Dry, and Fire.
posted by LionIndex at 3:26 PM on October 17, 2007


*Well, all righty then! On with the Games, and may the best ironist Cleveland Indians not "win" tomorrow night!*

OH HELL NO YOU DIDN'T
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:41 PM on October 17, 2007


In San Diego it's different though. Even in summer you often can't accurately predict what the day's weather is going to be until after noon because often it's overcast until then and suddenly the weather will turn gorgeous. (Generally I predicted weather based upon whether the sunset was gorgeous & red the night before.) And you also forgot fog season, which gets so thick in places like Del Mar that you can't see your own hand in front of your face.

Anyhow, so are we ready for the epilogue part of this post now? You know, the part where everybody holds hands and admits that LA may well kick their city's ass? Because it probably does?
posted by miss lynnster at 3:49 PM on October 17, 2007


miss lynnster: You're way, way too invested in this. You said you were done and then came back and kept moderating the thread as though it was your baby being attacked by dingos. Surely you have better things to do than defend the soiled, sordid Honor of Los Angeles for days on end?

Well, if it puts your judgment into perspective? I had a root canal on monday afternoon and was lying around high on Percoset all day yesterday. So I think you're taking my investment FAR too seriously. I was just entertaining myself. So ya don't need to be all assy about it.

And yes... when you tell people where you are from and the first thing they say is "I hate that place" instead of getting to know you? After a while it IS TIRESOME and obnoxious and rude. If someone from London came to you and introduced themselves to you, would you immediately say, "I hate Britain" in response and feel it wasn't rude? See, in other contexts it is clearly obnoxious. But when you're talking to someone from LA everyone assumes it's totally acceptable to openly express their nasty hate to you.

It's really not. And shouldn't be.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:57 PM on October 17, 2007


We have the same ones in San Diego: Rainy, Dry, and Fire.

You totally forgot "Earthquake".

Actually, LA's weather should go something like: Sunny, Rainy, Windy-with-Fire, Brown Haze, Hot, Earthquake and possibly also Rioting-with-Fire.

Most weather conditions are a combination of the above.

However, there should also probably be some weather modifiers: "Full Moon", "Fuckin' DEA/HSA busted a truckload of Mexican brickweed and the city is going crazy", "New crack shipment", "Welfare check day - winos going apeshit", and possibly even "Bad 'Cheese' and/or 'Shabu' shipment - watch out for detoxing, homicidal Yuppies"

There's also the microclimates. "Traffic", which, in summer, can be excruciating with 100+ temps on the freeways - heavy on the carbon monoxide. Which is actually a macroclimate to the micro-microclimate of "Car", which has it's own bewildering variety of environmental variables from such as "rancid coffee", "fast food trash" and "broken radio and/or air conditioner". "Mall", which features unnaturally cool temperaturs and a blindingly painful variety of smells. "Strip Mall", which is outdoors and subject to weather-mixing with all of the above, as well as the added variables of "unidentified boozy vomit", "sticky armor plating of chewing gum and road scuzz", "extremely angry ethnic corner-store owner with illicit sawed-off shotgun pointed at your nethers at all times beneath the counter who shouts at you in something other than English" and "mentally unstable smelly guy trying to bum not just a quarter but a whole fiver so he can get a rock"
posted by loquacious at 4:50 PM on October 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the FPP and the resulting comments turned out to be a lot more interesting than I expected. Interesting as in entertaining, funny, annoying, infuriating, educational, and even profound in some cases.

Incidentally, it's also interesting that the rift between northern and southern California has extended to the Iranian immigrant communities of both regions, mainly in the form of NorCal Persians looking down their nose at "Tehrangelinos".
posted by Devils Slide at 7:42 PM on October 17, 2007


This is still going? Didn't we all agree that Miami is like LA, but pretty much better in every way?
posted by oddman at 8:19 PM on October 17, 2007


If someone from London came to you and introduced themselves to you, would you immediately say, "I hate Britain" in response and feel it wasn't rude? See, in other contexts it is clearly obnoxious. But when you're talking to someone from LA everyone assumes it's totally acceptable to openly express their nasty hate to you.

Sure, but here it's just people saying "I hate LA" in the context of a conversation about how great LA is. Try being from Texas, where people just randomly vomit out "BLEAGH I HATE TEXAS" for reasons other than some Texan started bragging on his home state.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:48 AM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, I'm actually not talking about in a conversation where people are talking about how great LA is. I'm talking about simple introductions that occurred regularly upon my moving to the San Francisco area. (See tirade above.) For a while there I was so tired of hearing it that I would say, "Hi, I'm Lynn. I'm from Los Angeles and it's not my fault." That often inspired an appreciative chuckle from people, but I stopped doing that because it really didn't feel very good about it myself. I'm proud of who I am and where I'm from. Feels wrong to belittle LA just to get in good graces with people, even though it apparently works.

Honestly, when I moved to the Bay area I was hating LA, I was so burned out and turned off on it. But oddly enough, it was the unsolicited negativity I had SF people share with me just for saying I lived there that's really made me question whether it's such a bad place. And I decided it definitely isn't.

That said, any time I say I think it's the best place on the Earth, just know I'm only saying that to rile up the haters. It isn't that either.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:53 AM on October 18, 2007


The only way to really settle the New York vs. Los Angeles question is to have Billy Joel fight Randy Newman... to the death.
posted by drezdn at 6:50 AM on October 18, 2007


The only way to really settle the New York vs. Los Angeles question is to have Billy Joel fight Randy Newman... to the death.

Either way, we all win!
posted by grouse at 7:21 AM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Honestly, when I moved to the Bay area I was hating LA, I was so burned out and turned off on it

Oh, so it's OK for you to hate LA. It's just not OK for anybody else to hate LA. Got it.
posted by languagehat at 7:32 AM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is still going? Didn't we all agree that Miami is like LA, but pretty much better in every way?

Nope. That was pretty much just you.

Miami blows.
posted by brain cloud at 4:31 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nah. If we're gonna be serious? I matured and realized that I was really wrong. I realized I had projected things onto the town that were my own life problems at the time, and had nothing to do with the place.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:40 PM on October 18, 2007


Miami blows everyone away!
posted by oddman at 7:21 PM on October 18, 2007


The real fear of LA, is that given human greed, development, and population increase, your city will end up like LA before the end of your lifetime. Or even bigger fear is that the suburban sprawl will go untrammeled from Ensenada to Victoria, BC or farther north.

Now for all the LA bashing, can some one please tell me how Vegas or Phoenix are any different in terms of sprawl and environmental impact?

Now to put a cap on my comment, I will quote Tim (Lint) Armstrong (Op Ivy, Rancid, Transplants, etc) who on his new cd, A Poet's Life, cites CA and LA in several songs:

"Respect to New York, respect to London
But we're from California and our state is golden"
Into Action - Tim Armstrong

"Here's a message for the disenfranchised of East bay California
Let me tell you something about the East bay: it's California but it ain’t sunny"
Among the Dead - Tim Armstrong

"Hold everything stop right there
Silence your mind, be aware
All the people of the world are here
Los Angeles California
That's where"
Oh No - Tim Armstrong

Mr. Armstrong born & raised in the Bay Area, now living and apparently loving Los Angeles.

Ms. Jen waving to you from 29.1 miles due south of LA. ;o)
posted by msjen at 9:52 PM on October 18, 2007


Miami?! Now that's a shithole. Why don't people realize that Miami is more "LA" than LA is?
posted by redteam at 3:23 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


As someone who's live in L.A. now for, what, 12 years? Damn that seems like awhile, one of the tricks about L.A. is to know where the interesting people are, and where the shitty people are.

It's like on the Internet. For me, Metafilter is more interesting than a lot of other places.

In L.A., I live in Silverlake and I like the community here. Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, not so much. I like the weirdos too much.

Just stay away from the pretentious poseurs, and you'll discover tons of really interesting people in L.A.

You just gotta choke down the smog, traffic and wildfires.
posted by MythMaker at 12:56 PM on October 27, 2007


The best argument yet for why I should ever visit LA again.
posted by grouse at 12:03 PM on October 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


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