A couple of weeks back, I had an online conversation with writers D.J. Waldie, Josh Kun and Lynell George about how we look at Los Angeles -- or, more accurately, how we should be looking at Los Angeles in a way that goes beyond the fun-in-the-sun meets Hollywood tropes. (If you haven't read it, there's all kinds of juicy thinking about L.A. in it.)
Waldie followed up with a thoughtful post over at KCET Departures on how to describe our city:
"We haven't yet learned to speak the language of the Los Angeles that is coming. It's a post-sprawl city, where 'sprawl' had been the cliched label for the city's multi-centered urban form. It's a post-diversity city, where 'diversity' talk is both a sign of Anglo anxiety about the new people living next door and a word of self-congratulation about not being too anxious. Los Angeles is post 'middle-class' as well, having been made into a city of struggling working-class aspirants below and a crust of oblivious wealth above."
He offers other ideas, too -- discussing L.A. as a place of ordinariness of the unexceptional, of the "fantastically commonplace."
I'd like to add one more: the idea of Los Angeles as "post-West." Since this is, after all, where Latin America and Asia meet.
Be sure to check Waldie's whole post over at KCET.