The New York Times is a national newspaper, and, as such, they occasionally cover our nation's second largest city. You know, Los Angeles? But a quartet of articles over the past few days shows that, while sometimes the paper can write about LA like it's a normal place where news occasionally happens (Boyle Heights "gentefying", Wilshire Boulevard Temple renovating), they still mostly insist on covering the city like it's full of superficial freaks practicing absurd customs and social mores incomprehensible to their New York-based readership. For instance, here's a piece on this new LA trend called "walking" bearing the unfortunate headline "Hollywood's New Stars: Pedestrians" and including the line "many Angelenos would sooner have their mug shots appear on TMZ than go a few steps without a motor vehicle." Which is bad (and kind of unintelligible), but nothing compared to the newest entrant--an article so dumb, so lazy, so patronizing (of both Angelenos and New Yorkers, impressively), and so stereotype-laden we suspect it was written by an old robot programmed by Woody Allen on a bad night. Traffic? Boob jobs? Yoga? Check! Check! Check! Natalie Portman saying East LA is "all French" with absolutely no context or clarification from the author? CHECK. Here are our seven least favorite parts:
-- "You might not realize it until you're stuck in traffic on the 101, halfway through a whirlwind odyssey that spans a pop-up dance party in Westlake and a benefit in Bel-Air, all in an earnest attempt to understand Los Angeles's emerging fashion scene, that there's something very New York about the whole effort."
-- "'East L.A. is all French now,' marvels Natalie Portman at a benefit for her husband Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project."
-- "So what if Los Angeles is still better known for implants than outerwear?"
-- "Nobody goes out much — if they really wanted to go out, they'd be in New York — but when they do, the style set flocks to places like Giorgio's, a weekly '70s disco party at the Standard in West Hollywood, where a recent evening found David LaChapelle swing-dancing with the model agent Omar Alberto, while Dita Von Teese commandeered a banquette and Erin Wasson and Jody Watley boogied nearby."
-- "Its official uniform might as well be the supersoft T-shirt and jeans, followed closely by the maxi dress. Such apparel might come off as a tad low-key sashaying down a runway, but it's a look."
-- "And the cross-pollination between the worlds of fashion, music and art shows a promiscuity that more siloed New Yorkers rarely experience, perhaps as a result of a shared outsider status that haunts anyone in L.A. who is not in movies."
-- "or perhaps because the land of the endless summer, lunchtime Botox and near-mandatory yoga tends to put one in the mind-set not of moments but of eternities."
· Los Angeles, Where the Wild Things Are [NYTimes]