Hating on a city you live in is the cheapest, easiest writing assignment in the world (that last one is actually pretty funny). And nowhere does it come cheaper and easier than in Los Angeles. At one time in the not-so-distant past, hating L.A. was a national pastime. The city was America's foil, a reliable punchline, a catalyst that brought people in other cities together by welcoming their collective disdain and transmuting it into a momentary salve to their own festering self-hatred. It was a lazy writer's bottomless feeding trough.
Then, things started to change a bit. The cliché 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 here's the thing: writing is hard, especially when you're not very talented to begin with. And when you get paid for it, you have deadlines to deal with. Disposing of mindless conceits that guarantee clicks/flame wars (= more clicks) is just bad for everyone trying to eke out a living as a writerly hack.
Which is why the hack community is indebted to Vice magazine, whose continued existence as anything other than a YouTube channel (they actually have some really good videos) was something of a mystery until British ex-pat/Vice blog post assembler "Jamie Lee Curtis Taete" came along and gave it renewed purpose by reviving the tried and true "I hate L.A." theme, with all its cherished classics, like: The having-to-drive-everywhere! The hippie Californians! The unemployed actors! The gift of L.A. hatred is back. Suddenly it's 1983, or 1993, or 2003 all over again.
To make it even easier for future Vice writers to regurgitate the I Hate L.A. schtick, here's a template blog post on Los Angeles for Jamie and his colleagues to just cut and paste next time they run out of vaguely offensive, possibly ironic topics to write pointlessly about. As long as they don't use it more than twice a year, it should feel fresh and new every time.
5 REASONS WHY I HATE L.A.
Have you noticed how much fucking TRAFFIC there is in L.A.? Holy shit, I HATE TRAFFIC! Don't you hate traffic, or am I the only one? Everybody drives a car here because there's no public transportation. Not like LONDON OR NEW YORK OR SAN FRANCISCO, where you can hop a bus or a train or at least a cab, or even walk places! Here in L.A., everyone drives their cars *everywhere,* which means there's lots and lots of TRAFFIC (and also pollution)! I hate that! Has anybody noticed that before or am I the first?
2. Weird People
ZOMG there's so many weirdos in L.A.! And I mean like, New Agey, hippie dippy weirdos. They're into crystals and energy stuff and they even have energy stuff for their pets! Not like in New York, where nobody does yoga or has funny personal religions or pampers their pets in amusing ways. It's just one big mob of Jenna Elfmans here, or at least it is from this café on Abbott Kinney all the way to La Cienega, which I don't go past because then it gets dangerous, and then past that it's too far to drive in all the crazy TRAFFIC!
Everybody -- and I mean EVERYBODY -- works in the film or TV industry. Or as they call it here, "The Industry." They're all sad aspiring actors or screenwriters who still haven't let go of their dreams and accepted their utter defeat in life, even though they're already like 30. It's so lame but it's also fun for me to laugh at their failure (LOL!). It's not like in New York, where all my friends are struggling to be professional writers or editors or playwrights or theater actors or artists, which is totally sophisticated and rad. Here, they're all trying to be *movie stars* or to write scripts for Hollywood or for TV studios, which is pedestrian and lame and worthy of contempt. As for me, I'm in L.A. trying to be a REAL writer -- you know, someone who publishes in the New York Review of Books, or Vice.com -- not a *screen*writer. I mean, I'd be down to try my hand at a script for a pilot, for sure, I'm super talented, but my shit would be for like HBO or Showtime, not for some reality TV crap like people here do.
Everybody thinks L.A. weather is so great but here's the hard reality of it, and you heard it here first: with so much sunshine all the time, you KNOW it makes people crazy and stupid. You just know it! It's just not *serious* weather, for serious people. In New York, it's shitty and cold in the winter, and it's shitty and hot in the summer. And then for like a month on each side of those seasons, it's BEAUTIFUL. Have you ever been in Prospect Park when the leaves turn? ZOMG it's so amazing. Go to the Farmer's Market in Park Slope in October and then look me in the face and tell me L.A. weather is the best. You won't be able to do it GUARANTEED. Anyway, even in San Francisco it's cold all the time and damp in the winter, not like here, where you can go to the BEACH in DECEMBER which is INSANE and WRONG. Stupid sunny L.A. and it's stupid sun-drenched minions.
Ok I haven't been in L.A. long enough to have actually experienced an earthquake since I just got here six weeks ago, but everybody knows how there's straight up EARTHQUAKES in L.A., which is just *crazy *and even worse than the crazy traffic AND the sunny weather, COMBINED. I mean, why do people even live here? Why did they put a city here? It's a totally uninhabitable danger zone that's just waiting to be pulverized by The Big One. And you know what? When that happens, you know everybody else in the country is going to be SO HAPPY ABOUT IT! LOL I can't believe I just said that -- so wrong LOL. But anyway, everybody in L.A. has fake tits and fake tans and they're all trying to be the next Lindsay Lohan or Matthew McConaughey or whatever, and they're all stuck in their cars all the time getting baked in the non-stop sun on their way to their spiritual healing classes, so honestly, if this whole place just broke off and floated into the Pacific would these people even notice? Probably not! ZOMG I crack myself up sometimes. It's so great that I write for Vice so I can just unload like this after a few lines of coke.
Leighton blogs at Dog Park Media.
Follow Leighton Woodhouse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lwoodhouse