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CNN's amusing advice on how to fake being an L.A. local

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CNN tips on faking being an L.A. local -- a compliment in a city with an unmerited reputation for being fake
We live in L.A.; by definition, we're already cool. Don't try so hard, dude

Here's a teeny-tiny idea, courtesy a slideshow on CNN.com attached to a summertime desperation slideshow story entitled “How to be an L.A. Local – 8 Tips for Faking It.”

I suppose it's a compliment that in the city with an unmerited reputation for being fake down to its Louboutin-or-knockoff soles, newbies should strive to fake authenticity. 

1. "BLENDING IN, L.A. STYLE Don’t be weirded out by Venice Beach. If every day is like an R-rated variety show overseen by an LSD aficionado--and in Venice Beach it is--you deal with it. Calmly..."

Non-locals’ premiere mistake: About 4 million people live in the city of L.A., only about 30,000 of them in Venice. The Venice boardwalk is mostly about tourists looking for a sideshow. Locals know that; Arnold Schwarzenegger told the New York Times he loved riding his bike in Venice because of the secondhand marijuana smoke. “You just inhale, and you live off everyone else.” Do you think we live like that in San Pedro or Winnetka? 

2.  "SUNSHINE DOESN’T MAKE THE NEWS: Don't mention the weather. It isn't a topic of conversation--unless something really weird is happening, like, you know, rain.”

CNN, you’ve watched “L.A. Story" with Steve Martin’s parody weatherman too often. Just turn on local TV news, with big hunks of weather reports, and big forecaster payrolls. One radio station has a  “chief meteorologist,” which conjures up ranks of white-coat underlings. Los Angeles County alone is about big enough to fit in one Delaware and two Rhode Islands, with an ocean and numberless forest, desert and river microclimates. As I’ve written for years, we have four seasons: fire, flood, drought and quake. And locals natter on about all of them all.

3.  "COOL IS AS COOL DOES: In Hollywood, show your cool. It's not that hard to do, even if some people make it look like it is.”

Big out-of-towner screw-up, thinking we are all Hollywood, or on the hopeful fringes of it. We live in L.A.; by definition, we’re already cool. Don’t try so hard, dude.

4   "SOME BEERS ARE FOR TOURISTS [with a picture of two blondes in "Corona" tank tops]. Well, maybe unless these two are serving it to you. Still, if it's Mexican beer you want, Bohemia or Negra Modelo is the more local option. For God's sake, don't order a Corona.”

Choosing a slightly obscure California wine seems more local to me, but then, I’m not a beer drinker, so I'll take a bye on this one.

5. "TAKE SIDES ON IMPORTANT MATTERS: Have an opinion on Shaq and Kobe. All locals have a considered take on Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, the testy NBA duo that brought three consecutive NBA titles to the Los Angeles Lakers but also brought Shakespearean levels of psychodrama to the team and city.”

The Lakers, Shakespearean? After the Donald Sterling-Clippers pink slip drama (the DMV definition), the Lakers look like the high school drama department’s production of “The Fantasticks.”

6. "CELEBS, SORT OF: Be discreet about celeb sightings. That's just Dustin Hoffman behind that tree, don't freak out. Or is it Marty Sheen? Either way, don't freak.”

In other words, don’t act like a tourist. Duh. Back when Madonna lived in Los Feliz, a friend of mine called her out at the old Mayfair market for getting into the ten-items-or-fewer line with twice as many things in her cart. Now THAT’S local.

7. "BUT BOW DOWN FOR THE GODS: Honor the local deities. There are popular Angelenos, there are admired Angelenos. Then there are Angelenos who might as well be secular gods, they're so beloved. Basketball and business legend Magic Johnson ... and immortal Dodgers baseball announcer Vin Scully ... unite locals like nothing else.”

True enough. You knew Donald Sterling was kaput when he ragged on Magic Johnson. And Vin? Nobody badmouths Vin.

8.  "TAKE IN LA’S CULTURAL CULINARY MASHUP: Eat at a food truck. What pizza is to New York and the cheesesteak is to Philly, the food truck has become to Los Angeles -- essential.”

Yes again, the mobile city eats from food trucks upmarketed from old-line roach coaches to cultural cuisine, if you can find one. But the food mashup is old news. Times photogs of yore favored downtown’s Kosher Burrito joint, where the Caltrans building now stands.

At least CNN got "Angelenos" right.  We are not “Los Angelenos,” as you may have read in faraway publications. Nor are we Angelinos. Touchy-feely as it sounds to point out, there is no “I” in “Angeles.”

Follow Patt Morrison on Twitter @pattmlatimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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