Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The creator of BROTHERS & SISTERS breaks it down.

I swear I'm not bashing L.A. but I had to link to this.

Jon Baitz is a native Angeleno who was recently ousted from a show he created, BROTHERS AND SISTERS. This is his post on the Huffington Blog. My boss was reading it and she told me to check it out. She said it was depressing. It would have depressed me as well if I were not leaving.

It's a long post but the following jumped out at me:

"But perhaps most disheartening to me, a man who adores women, is the daily LA visual horror show of how they are discarded there, no matter how desperately they try to cling to youth. LA hates and fears aging, and especially despises the revolting notion of women aging. And in LA, more than anywhere I know, women of a certain age, who should know better, are complicit in their own degradation, going to desperate lengths to dodge what should be taken for granted. No actress would dare present herself as proudly and as honestly as Simone Signoret, would they? No. Women should hate LA, and I will never understand why they endure it all. Why? If I were a woman, I would burn LA to the ground, and spread salt on the earth where the men all gathered. (I may do that anyway.)"

"There is the matter of how to live in LA, before the decision of leaving it. LA is the world capital of loneliness. In the age of isolation, this is a very special achievement. I could not crack it. I could only survive it. Many of the single (or not) gay men I know in LA rely on the internet for courtship/release. I have nothing against this at all. I have met incredibly interesting people through the net. I have availed myself of its charms. But used habitually it can easily turn romance into renting, with boys queued up like your movies (Indie french) on Netflix. (Such a bad metaphor on so many levels but true; and I don't like rentals, I prefer permanence, and permanence is forbidden now.)

The online world is followed by the high temple of the gym: In Los Angeles, the gym occupies a special place. It is the town square. There is no real centralized street-life in LA, unless you wander the Botoxed, pumped, hyper-sexualized, bargain-basement gay ghetto that is West Hollywood. And why would you, if you're over thirty?

The online thing is not just an LA thing by any means. However, in New York, the life of the street, the flirtation and ebb and flow of strangers getting off of the bus, makes for a perpetual energy machine. New York is just sexier, smarter, and better dressed, less vulgar, more diverse, filled with accident, and unexpected encounters, as a rule. There is the Neue Gallery across from the Met, down the street from the Guggenheim, which is up from the Whitney, just a twenty minute walk to MOMA, across Central Park, etc, etc, forever and ever. You will see, smile at, spy on, talk to, stare at, be enchanted by any number of utterly different kinds of people within twenty minutes of leaving your apartment in NYC. A barrage rather than the white noise of the undulating palms and brackish skies of the dream coast.

In a company town like LA (which with it's segregation often reminds me of Johannesburg in the 1970's), agents date lawyers, managers date set designers, etc -- you get the drift. The homogeneity of the movie making classes means that most everyone dates within the tribe. Writers date producers, and everyone dates actors. They are everywhere. They are the butlers of charm who flirt expertly, gorgeously, giddily at the restaurants and catering companies where they work while awaiting the next great thing. Instead of the vibrant grid of Gotham, you have little cantons in LA. The hills above Sunset are known as the Swish Alps and there is something precise about the peculiar sadness/silence of the decorator-beige homes occupied by mid-to-high level show biz homosexuals who reside there, trying to dodge the parties and paparazzi at the Paris Hilton House. Even the pools seem joylessly limpid in those houses. Going up into those manicured, depopulated hills filled me with dread. Disheartening too was the endless talk of the business, this while America eats itself alive."


gibber said...

you sure you didn't write the part about new york? i swear you've said the exact same things to me. this post is very true and why i could never live in LA.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

gibber - nope I didn't.

His post was very interesting. It must hurt like hell to hear from the studio/network you are being removed from the show you created. This is why many novelists and playwrights have mixed feelings about working in this medium.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I was actually thinking today, as I watched Hillary's "tears scene" that there is a woman who hasn't had work done. While she's not my candidate, there are things I both respect and don't respect about her, but her good, aged, lined face, the face that nature intended her to have at her age, is something that I admire greatly.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - HRC has had work done (eyes and botox) but not too much done. She still looks like herself.

Didn't Berlusconi get a face or brow lift? ha. It will be a while before any American president does the same.

Tina said...

The surgery part and fear of aging could be Argentina.

I have always hated L.A., I'm never comfortable there.

When are you moving?

J.Doe said...

That is not exactly an advertisement for living in LA. Of course it sounds true for Orange County too,and probably many other parts of Southern CA.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

tina - yes I have read that sugery is very popular in parts of BA.

re: the move...I am trying to find an apartment before I talk to my boss.

j.doe - no it's isn't. Usually it's transplants who go on and on about L.A. I thought it was interesting that he is a native Angeleno. One of my co-workers is as well. She told me doesn't recognize her city anymore. She said all the growth and sprawl is killing what made L.A. special in the first place.

Anonymous said...

That was some potent writing. Disturbing, l think there are many places all over the world following suit unfortunately.

Roam2Rome said...

He's being removed? I just love the show he created. Boh. That says a lot in itself.

The writing. Now THAT's writing! Depth, complexity, insight. Love it.

Ah, are you trying to find an apartment before moving to Rome? It took me a long, long while to find mine. As in, over half a year. They are few and far between, but right now is exactly the right time to find one :)

Yes, living in California I see what he sees, though life is much different here in the San Francisco Bay... this is why it gets me so much when Europe expats just rant about the bureocracy, and only the bureaucracy as if there was nothing else. Yes, every place has its problems, but still, Europe and Italy have so, so much more to offer (at least, the places I've lived in)... something that is opposite this article.