New York is the center of the universe. We’ve all acknowledged it. London put up a good fight, what with conquering half the planet, and Paris tried it’s hand at world domination through the arts, but that was obviously too gay to catch on. So steadily and inevitably, New York City ascended the gilded staircase to mount Olympus, absorbed the old world gods, and took the throne.
I could give two shits.
I could give one shit, and I’ll tell you why: I live in Los Angeles. You New Yorkers sit in your tower with your boroughs and your public transportation and your own special style of pizza, which is really just normal pizza like everywhere else, but you had to stake claim to it. Well, good for you, New York, good for you! The first guido to set foot on this new land and open a pizza joint happened to do it in the port of New York. Could have been Boston. Could have been goddamn Jamaica. But it was New York, and you’re not going to let us forget it. That being said, I’ve never lived in new York, so I can’t speak to it. I’m not about to try and tell you who you are; I am going to try and tell you who we are.
Angelenos are constantly on the defense, and we have a lot to be defensive about. Everyone’s always attacking us for being materialistic and vapid and isolated, and LA is not without these things, but the Olsen twins are just as shallow as the Hilton sisters, Xtina is just as retarded as Britney, and the bubble of a car is just as lonely as the bubble of detachment. If you try and tell me that sitting next to a dude on the subway gets you any closer to humanity than giving a bra a whaddup nod as your Miatas pass each other, I will call you a liar, my friend. Right to your face.
The thing about it is, Angelenos give each other whaddup nods. And glances. And sometimes even smiles. Imagine that, smiling at a stranger, just right there on the street! And in even more exciting news, we sometimes hug. We are not the fourth-biggest hippie city in California for nothing! It’s true that we are cut off physically from other humans during commutes in our world-famous gridlock traffic, but when we get to where we’re going, even the Bev bitches will acknowledge each other. Which brings me to my next defense: the Bev bitches. Easterners seem to think that everyone in Los Angeles spends hours upon hours in boutiques on Rodeo or drinking mojitos in the Viper Room. To this I say, does anyone still go to the Viper Room? And also I say, take a trip to Venice Beach. There you will find a colourful assortment of people, none of whom care a lick about Prada or Rachel Zoe or who looked fat on the cover of In Style. They care about art and living life to its fullest, and medical marijuana. Los Angeles has her boroughs, too, and it’s unfair to judge her by Beverly Hills alone. It’s like saying Manhattan is the only New York…which Manhattan says. Every day. But Venice is the extreme. Hollywood itself, mistaken for the capital-H Hollywood of glamour and stardom, it’s super busted. Rico of the Sunset and Highland In and Out is the same guy you’ll meet at fast food joints across the country, except his burgers will be inconceivably superior. He does not care if his or your abs are washboard, and neither do I. And we are both Angelenos.
There are a few rumours about LA that are true. Yes, everyone you meet is trying to be an actor and yes, there are Santas in Hawaiian shirts. The former is what it is, LA’s entire economy is inextricably dependent on the movie industry. But the latter, my friends, the latter is the key to LA’s entire success. I recently had some Easterners come visit. They welcomed the sun on their shoulders, but they had their misgivings. “I don’t trust a place with no seasons,” one of them said. “It’s like a weird dreamland. It’s such…a lie.” I love my friends from the East, and I respect their loyalty to the ways in which they were raised. I think they’re idiots, of course, but they’re allowed to love their summer closets stuffed with winter coats and water-proof sorrels, and their hats and gloves and frozen noses. Angelenos only have one wardrobe. We have open-toed shoes. When we get cold, we put on a hoodie. And this doesn’t show absence of character or lack of fortitude. It shows a great respect for creature comforts and a deep connection with one’s inner needs. Eighty percent of Angelenos have moved here from the East, to escape surviving this so-called real life, with all sorts of stoic, grown-up suffering, and to start living with a proper sort of quality of life, with laughter and joy and December short shorts. We welcome them with bare, sunburnt arms. The farmer’s market is open year-round, the beach is always an option, and every homie from Compton to Burbank has a convertible. It is a dreamland, but the most wonderful dream, the kind you have when you eat German chocolate cake for dessert, smoke a succulent fatty, and know you have nothing to do all the next day. I don’t mind living that dream. It was one hundred degrees out yesterday, and it’s the middle of October. I don’t mind living that lie.
I don’t want to sound starry-eyed. There are bad things about LA (poor air quality, the Beverly Center, sunstroke), but you can’t hate her for them. True, she looks 40 even though she’s 20 from the tanning salons and hair bleachings, and she’s got a terrible smoker’s cough. But she’s just a city, tryin’ to get by, doin’ what she can to stay afloat, literally. San Andreas is gonna freak out one of these day, cut that bitch loose, and then she’ll fall into the Pacific. So give LA a break, her time here is short. You New Yorkers should come out West, roll down your top and cruise, Vinnie Chase style. You’ll smell salt in the air and hear a distant tinkly mariachi and see palm trees and green lights straight to the ocean. It’ll be fun, and new. You don’t have anything like us on the East Coast. Except Miami.
But fuck Miami.