In Defense Of Los Angeles

An easy city to hate, perhaps. But there’s something about L.A. that keeps me coming back. And back. At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf rises to the defense against Bernard Henri Levy’s very old world attack on the City of Angels. A representative gripe:

[...] what must be true for a city to be legible?

First, it has to have a center. But Los Angeles has no center. It has districts, neighborhoods, even cities within the city, each of which has a center of some sort. But one center, one unique site as a point of reference for that law of isonomy the Athenians believed was the principle behind every city, a hub or focus with which the inhabitants of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Venice, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Saigon and Little Tokyo, Malibu, Inglewood, Pico Union (and I could go on, since Los Angeles officially numbers eighty-four neighborhoods, where 120 languages are spoken), could have a relationship at once distinct and regular–nothing like that exists in Los Angeles.

There’s a whiff, in that polemic, of what Peter Lawler, over at Postmodern Conservative, is fond of calling polis envy.

  1. Robert Bennett

    Well the LA times has died faster than anybody could imagine. I actually like BHL a lot. Left in Dark Times was almost an important book. It might be one eventually. One of his other books on Daniel Pearl was a noble endeavor. I don’t think he’s envious of LA, but I can guarantee you I don’t have Polis envy towards Paris.

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