Apologies to Los Angeles



I do not know of any city that gets more grief in the United States than Los Angeles, except of course for Detroit. The public image is of LA is of a profligate place, Tinseltown, periodically scorched by brushfires, shuddered with earthquakes, and rent by eruptions of violence in its black sections, and the whole obscured by frequent smog.
I am here to tell you that LA is one of the most pleasant, civil, and interesting cities in the world. Yes, LA.
What the media coverage does not tell you is that you can find anything you want in Los Angeles: gardens that bloom in January, pleasant climate, nice intelligent neighbours, avant garde and traditional theater, grunge rock, fine art collections, totally amazing restaurants, libraries, and hundreds of square miles of beautiful houses, many of them quite small, where life is highly agreeable. In short, the media never tell you why 18 million people, or two thirds the population of Australia, choose to live in greater Los Angeles. Imagine Vancouver spread over hundreds of square miles, and only occasional rain. The sharp young mountain ranges are bare of large trees, and tower in the distance, some of them snow-capped.
By the way, the drought you heard of is over: the reservoirs are filling again.
What amazes this Canadian is the absolute absence of honking cars in the daily vexations of getting around the town, the fact that a big chopper will come to a complete stop at a stop sign, the civil nod and hello that you will get at the least excuse, and the abundant friendliness of people across many racial and ethnic divisions. They don’t tell you what it is like to live in a city where the average person is content, where people jog and run and walk in a climate that man was designed to live in without aggravation.
I thought however it was time for me to admit my gross error of believing the media image of LA, and it makes me wonder whether the media image we have of the world is equally out of place, skewed to the negative, and downright misleading.