Los Angeles (and Hollywood
in particular) seems to be a center of TheSelenim
. For a while, it was home to the Oneiros
-- LA stole it from Chicago
around 1916, and kept it until MONARCH
lost it in the summer of 1968.
Brant here. The following is stolen from Mike Davis's higly provocative, highly opinionated sociological study City of Quartz
"Some would say that it could only have happened in the Valley. Joy Picus, the L.A. city councilmember from the west San Fernando Valley, was under siege day and night from a group called the 'West Hills Open Zone Victims'. They harangued her with petitions and phone calls, haunted her on the stump, and ambushed her outside her office. They said she was cold-hearted and haughty, unmoved by their extremity. From their agitated tone the innocent observer would have guessed that they had been the victims of some great, uncompensated communal tragedy: a plan crash or gas explosion next to an elementary school, a suddenly revealed Love Canal in their backyards, or, perhaps...something stranger, even occult.
In fact no one in the neighborhood had died, the school was intact, the pollution problem was no worse than in any other part of the smog-choked Valley, and there were no encounters of the third kind. What had
happened to raise the victims' spleen was that the coldhearted Picus had let them remain, as they had always been, residents of Canoga Park. To fathom the depths of their anger, it is necessary to rehearse a few simple facts of life about Los Angeles's single-family suburbs:
: Los Angeles homeowners, like the Sicilians in Prizzi's Honor
, love their children, but they love their property values more.
: 'Community' in Los Angeles means homogeneity of race, class and, especially, home values. Community designations - i.e. the street signs across the city identifying areas as 'Canoga Park', 'Holmby Hills', 'Silverlake', and so on - have no legal status. In the last analysis, they are merely favor granted by city councilmembers to well-organized neighborhoods or businessmen's groups seeking to have their areas identified.
: The most powerful 'social movement' in contemporary Southern California is that of affluent homeowners, organized by notional community designations or tract names, engaged in the defense of home values and neighborhood exclusivity."
Ah, the power of names. Names are what divides Los Angeles, which is not a "city," but rather an endless, disparate suburb, divided only by how places are referenced. A name is what distinguishes the "hilltop $400,000 homes" from the "mere $200,000 hovels in the flatlands." A name is what drove the West Hills Open Zone Victims to harass and eventually sue their city councilmember, since owning a home in Canoga Park was "bad...very slummish," whereas owning a home in the West Hills instantly raised property values by some $20,000.
Illusionary and insubstantial, the opposite of hard work, structure and manufacturing. Could anything be more antithetical to industry, the fire-ka, than the obsession with ephemeral designations?
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Page last modified on November 10, 2003, at 05:51 AM