SERIES – Harry Golden: Epilogue

PART SIX (of 6): Excerpted from “Los Angeles, Los Angeles” by Harry Golden, circa 1960.harry_small

In closing this series, I’ll leave you with the final two paragraphs of Harry’s essay on Los Angeles and his fifty year-old predictions for this city’s future…

“In the next generation, as it has come to all frontiers, a rigid stratification will appear in Los Angeles. Mobility will come to an end and the city will take its place as the greatest single empire in the western world.

And here, too, it is well to record that in the tempest and turmoil among faith healers and movie stars, Rosecrucians and baseball fans, I have met some of the kindest people in the world.”

THOUGHTS: Wow, the GREATEST SINGLE EMPIRE of the Western World? Looks like Harry really overestimated us, eh? I’m actually glad he was a little off there though, because he also predicted we’d have 25 million people living here. And man, that would suck.

We are definitely more mobile than ever too, and when I think about it… perhaps that’s our downfall. Maybe we all would’ve been better served by being a little less mobile and focusing on our immediate surroundings instead of on entertaining the world; by keeping our Iowa and Minnesota clubs going; by buying up less real estate; by *expecting* forever from our cemeteries; and by making a point to embrace and appreciate the incredible beauty and culture that fills this crazy town instead of allowing the world to slowly come to believe that the life of every Angeleno is exactly what they see on TMZ. Maybe we could be an empire if the world saw us as a city that slowed down to play more canasta with each other instead of a place too busy to care.

I will say this: having lived outside of Los Angeles and traveled much of the world, I can’t help but wholeheartedly agree with his last sentence. Sure, there are jerks who live here… we all know full well that there are aspects of our city that attract self-absorbed narcissists like flies. There are good and bad apples in every fruit bowl, though. This city is – as I’ve said many times before – whatever you make of it for yourself. As Harry himself noted, Los Angeles has always offered people the freedom to be themselves without judgment… and that includes the freedom to be a jerk. Or Kim Kardashian.

Los Angeles residents are responsible for their own salvation, and although that social code is different than what works in other places, once you get used to the concept it’s kind of great. Just look around at your neighbors and coworkers you’ll see the hard truth that the rest of the world misses… sure there are a few crazies in the mix to spice things up, but the average Angeleno is a solidly good, incredibly hard-working, funny and kind human being… and *far* too boring to ever be featured on TMZ. Thank God.

Our canasta skills are kinda rusty, though.

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