Janan Ganesh’s Hipster L.A. American Writer comments

Mr. Ganesh is my favorite flâneur! He can write a feuilleton, the rhetoric of the Sunday Supplement’s decorous chatter, like no other writer in America or Britain. His only possible competition is James Wolcott , once of Vanity Fair.
As a person born in Los Angeles, two months before the Bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I long to drive its Freeways, boulevards and streets: and see its skyline as it presents itself from all its possible angles of view.

I recall my mother driving up Alameda, with the City Hall building (featured in the Superman T.V. Show, as The Daily Planet headquarters) in full view, all the way, to pick up my dad, to take him to his second job.Once the tallest building in the skyline -the Industries that lined this street, with railroad tracks all the way, with the strong odor of fuel oil and ozone. Just looking out the window… 

Or driving past Al Jolson’s ostentatious grave site at Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City , sick with the flu, in the back seat of my mom’s old two door sedan. On the way to visit Aunt Rela in Culver City, right by the Culver City Airport. 

Mr. Ganesh is quite unsurprisingly confines himself to the West-Side, the would-be Hipster’s measuring stick of what L.A. is ! South L.A. , East L.A. , Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, and points south to Orange County. Or over the Canyon Streets into The Valley, its Ventura Blvd. an answer to Melrose Avenue? All these are elided from Mr. Ganesh’s essay!

 Mr. Ganesh loses my interest, as a reader with his speculation, about the fate of the Metropolis in the Age of Covid -19. Recall Fuentes’ beautiful metaphor/simile of ‘The Great Rotting Meat Pie of Madrid’ ?

American Writer




 In reply to Argus

I was born in L.A. in 1945 and moved to San Diego in 2007. So I was long term resident. I lived in the City of L. A. moved to Willowbrook, then Lynwood, Downey, Long Beach, Orange County: Costa Mesa, Lakewood and Long Beach again. 

Your description reads like what one of those gorgeous Color T.V. advertisements, complete with evocative musical soundtrack, riffing on the latest pop music. Yours, a collection of cliches, that evokes that advertisement, reduced to leaden prose. Or a trailer for a series based on the ‘L.A. Lifestyle’. I can almost hear the voice-over by Robin Leach!

L. A. is a city of neighborhoods held together by Freeways. But make no mistake, each that manifests its own unique brands of provincialism, or race and ethnicity : Fairfax, Watts, East L.A.  etc… 




In reply to Paul A. Myers

I have driven by and around ‘ Frank Gehry’s sumptuously garbled house in Santa Monica’ at least three times. I was a delivery person on the West-Side, for years, and I think ‘garbled’ in the proper term! It is utterly out of place of the vernacular architecture of the other homes. Raw Plywood and cyclone fencing makes it look like a cheap knock off of the Post-Modern Style. His buildings like Disney Hall are monuments to his love of the ‘sumptuous curve’.
September 9, 2020
No one has had a more lasting literary/rhetorical influence, on the Los Angeles
Reality/Mythology, than Raymond Chandler. He was the perfect Californian:












About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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