Yes, L.A. remains a city in crisis.
Many Angelenos still suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome directly traceable to the events of April 1992. The evidence appears daily in headlines, on TV and radio broadcasts, in reports of economic unrest and sporadic violence. Plus, there are the pressures of electing a new mayor. Who will best serve El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula? Who will be our Great Multicultural Hope?
Cynicism aside, amid dark complaints of continued decline and failed recovery, there's still the huge glimmer of opportunity for the enterprising, culturally savvy, budding entrepreneurs of South-Central. How about a school that teaches the well-heeled the ins and outs of hard-core urban warfare?
Instead of calling the National Guard or lobbying for federal aid, why not build an educational institution that capitalizes on gangbanger glamor? Imagine. An academy where the curious, the uninitiated and the over-30 have the option of a six-month short course or a 20-year-to-life aggregate of comprehensive and diverse studies, from the technical to the creative, as this abbreviated syllabus suggests:
Bloods, Brotherhoods, Crews and Posses: Breakin' down culture clubs and group power. Trendy gats and full-auto discussed.
'Chines and Rides: Uses and functions of the automobile in major and minor busts. Bump-and-rob, drive-by and carjacking.
Def Heist Biz--Ways to Means: Scoring, concealing, flashing, laundering, fencing, stashing, tooling, packing and plea-copping.
Dope-Speak 2000: Current street slang with D-stroy survey of '50s DJ platter patter and '60s to '80s funky lingo for sampling and mixing jive enrichment.
Dozens to Do-Wop to Hip-Hop: What every boss, free-stylin', psychotic raptivist needs to T-lash potential upstarts into an iambic spazz. Dissin' seriously.
Jumpin' Bad and Wasting Mushrooms: How to hang. Initiation rites from the group bang to rollin'-and-poppin'.
Ladies, Homegirls and Bitchez: P-power, aggressive resistance, gangsta feminist thought. How to be a Single Momma without really tryin' (to marry the MF).
Rogue Moves and Motions: D-veloping vogue attitude and props etiquette. Hand signals and handshakes, buffalo stance, bogarting and steppin' off baaad.
Stylin' and Bombin': The history of graffiti and the art of tagging, from restrooms to underpasses. How to treat spray-paint poisoning.
Switchblades, Razors and Shanks: The art of wielding blade and trimming matters to size. Wedge cuts and scalping.
Threads and Dreads: Attire for all occasions. How to properly cuff for concealment. Bugle Boys and baggies, do-rags and headgear.
Z as in Zoning: Code of conduct when arrested. Frisk stance, krisskrossing wrists, T for taser, the zen of lying prone during baton practice.
Such a curriculum would be guaranteed to transform the most egregious dominant-society jerks, nerds and dweebs into Monster Mack Daddies, Downwithit Vatos Loco and all-around OGs. And it would be a unique way to reverse the negatives of chronic unemployment, persistent drug trade and alcohol abuse, literacy and miseducation, and clashes with the justice system.
A chain of these cultural "cool schools," like private academies specializing in English as a Second Language, would bring vast legitimate resources into black and Latino 'hoods, fueling the local economy while simultaneously employing ex-felons, rehab program internees, halfway house residents and penitentiary furloughees.
Certainly such schools would draw an impressive first-class student clientele of writers, filmmakers, corporate executives and, without a doubt, scads of TV talk-show hosts. Set in authentic no-income environments, these learning-skill centers would stimulate additional economic growth by encouraging specialty stores such as one-stop combination jewelry and weapons boutiques and restaurants serving gourmet nouvelle gangsta cuisine, like chili-over-chips Dijon or shiitake- dog panini. Quicker than you can say "Ice-T," South-Central would go from D-pressed to boom.