The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The city of not-so-angelic strangers

I heard a national radio personality talking about moving across the country the other day –he’s based in Avon, Connecticut near the ESPN campus HQ. I’ve been listening to this guy for 3 years now and he’s got a pretty broad perspective on approaching any topic because he’s lived all over the country. That kind of experience allows him to better identify with the opinions and that get volleyed his way from all over the country. Specifically, the conversation revolved around relocating to LA for the weather and lifestyle. Then this little gem of a comment was made:

“The city of LA has some of the most talented, intelligent people in the world…but it’s also got some of the biggest losers in the world…”

I might have started clapping in my car and almost careened off the side of the road into a Pita Pit. Now, I know that phrase or comment could be applied to almost any burgeoning metropolis –New York, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco – and it almost sounds like an absurd generalization, but I can’t help but feel that it fits Tetris-perfectly for this city in particular and paints the existing social dichotomy.

The city of Los Angeles has it’s beautiful parts, it’s seedy areas, it’s famous landmarks and it’s dumpster fire, borderline third world country areas. But, in this city it’s the people who create the vibe and fabric that we cling tight to. Here in LA, almost nobody knows their neighbors, and if they do, they’re barely polite (screw friendly).

But here’s the part that really tosses a wrench in analyzing this city: it’s a city of transplants. Think about it. Almost everyone you meet in this city isn’t originally from here, they’re from another part of the country. It’s the only city where I can walk into a bar on any given night, and it’s packed with fans of sports teams from other cities. The one and only LA franchise that matters is the LA Lakers. But I’d argue that very few people feel a true burning desire to the Lakers. It’s because they’re the best and the games are fun to go to. It’s pure entertainment…not because there’s an undying passion or searing loyalty that binds them to the team. Oh, and did I mention they’re a transplanted team originally from Minneapolis? Oops.

I’d never raise a family here. Not in Manhattan Beach, not in Santa Monica, and not in the Valley. I don’t know if it’s my perception of the warped morality or value structure, but something about this city has never struck me as being family friendly in the slightest.

For vacation to visit friends, take a girlfriend or wife on a romantic beach getaway, and for entertainment purposes, Los Angeles is top notch. For a family, my mental health, general well-being, and a better quality of life, I’ll take mine elsewhere.

-Cole Breidenbach


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