L.A. Bashing 101

Posted on December 7, 2012


ImageI seem to be stumbling on more articles on the topic of hating Los Angeles lately, or maybe I’m just noticing them because I’ve been feeling kind of bummed on this town in recent weeks (I resist writing scathing LA critiques, though, because my depression usually clears up after I land another job, or I learn the only reason I’m lacking a job is BECAUSE of my silly depression).

Leighton Woodhouse of Huffington Post wrote an accurate critique of the recent Vice Magazine article Reasons Why Los Angeles Is The Worst Place Ever. The latter is a re-invented run down of all the stock cliches about La La Land that were ever so cleverly scathing in 1985-1990-something, but updated to include more recent phenomena such as improv comedy theater and David Spade’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Imported from England, Taete sees a city with nothing to offer except neighborhoods on the brink of a natural disaster, broken dreams, pseudo-spiritual hippies, and obnoxiously rewarded celebrities. Woodhouse replies that such cliches in the American consciousness…

“…got stale, and it slowly dawned on people that like everywhere else in the world, L.A. is a place with a lot of assholes and a lot of not-assholes, some ugly parts and some nice parts, and even some interesting and exciting things you could appreciate if you took a look around.”

But Taete’s article is a lot funnier than Woodhouse’s.

Stereotypes exist because there’s somehow some general (if technically unfounded) universal truth to them. You can’t not live in Los Angeles without seeing at least some of Taete’s POV. Actually, I may have even praised Taete as a genius six years ago around the time I first moved to LA and had to start making a living for myself. But when I moved back to the east coast in search of the life I was used to in my early 20’s, I couldn’t help but feel the rigidity and stiffness of the drab colors and architecture of cities like Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. I was bummed by the lack of filmmaking, music, and writing gigs that forced me to get a “real job” as a telemarketer, a factory worker, and eventually a police officer trainee. I also hated the rampant bugs and shitty weather that was always humid when hot, or freeze-burning when cold. More than anything else though, I hated that nobody I met or re-acquainted myself with could relate to me or any of the experiences I had from living in Los Angeles.

L.A. isn’t like anywhere else in the world, which is why I think Patton Oswalt holds the best quote about it. He writes in his memoir Zombie Spaceship Wasteland,”Los Angeles is one of the five best cities in the world to live in. It’s also one of the three worst.”

That’s about as fair, accurate, and funny an assessment anyone could ever make about the town I now call home. But I think writing my own book on Los Angeles is worth more of my time than an improv comedy show:

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