Why They Hate Us: The Life of L.A. Stereotypes
File under Too Good to Be True: Jacksonville.com, the Florida Times-Union Web site, has a Dare to Ask column and today's question came from a 21-year-old Angeleno seeking to learn why the rest of the country "think[s] we're all a bunch of jet-setting, fast-talking, unfriendly, shallow, flaky yuppies?" By "us," he meant 37 million Californians.
The fast, shallow and unfriendly reply would have been, "Turn on your TV." Throwing the floor open to the rest of the California-hating world, however, brought in some thoughtful responses from the site's readers. Not surprisingly, most identified "California" with "Los Angeles."
"Californians sometimes fulfill the media stereotype," wrote a Minnesota woman. "I laughed when I heard a girl from California talking - she really did sound like a Valley Girl! Of course, she probably laughed when she heard me, thinking I sounded like something out of Fargo."
A Texas transplant living in the belly of the beast (Irvine) pooh-poohed our laid-back image, but then added, "They also eat weird stuff, like food from Trader Joe's."
Unfortunately, editor Phillip Milano then handed the mic to a professional expert. Jack Cashill, who authored What's the Matter With California?, a conservative riposte to Thomas Frank, lustily embraced the stereotypes Milano's readers had just demolished.
"The people of L.A. County are responsible for three quarters of the images people see ... like Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Cashill opined. "And when the people who make the movies aren't much more mature than the characters, then the stereotypes are based in some degree on reality."
Dude, you are so harsh.