Monday, October 18, 2010

The San Francisco Chronicle's Silly, Lazy Take on Downtown Los Angeles

I remember sitting in a San Francisco sushi resturant several years ago, eavesdropping on a silly conversation between two locals about how L.A. sucked.

It was the usual cliche take on L.A. from two people who had never lived here. And it baffled me: Why expend so much energy for such a silly, misinformed hate? What's with the inferiority complex up in the Bay Area?

I'm wondering that again after reading the silliest piece I've ever seen about L.A. -- penned by a San Francisco Chronicle contributor, of course.

Writer Steve Rubenstein dragged out every cliche and stereotype in the book for his Chronicle piece on downtown L.A.

But his biggest crime may be sheer laziness. There's obviously a real story to be had about the huge transformation taking place downtown -- something even the New York Times has managed to regularly report on -- yet Rubenstein appears to have no idea. Instead, he sticks to what must be a ratty, ten-year-old guide book, writing about the obvious sites like the Biltmore, Pershing Square and Union Station. And finding ways to crack snide about all of them.

Those spots are fine... for a guide book. You're writing for a newspaper, right Steve? In San Francisco, no less? Perhaps you might want to actually clue readers in on locations they didn't see when they visited 20 years ago? I'm a HUGE Philippe's fan -- but seriously, that's your idea of sharing hot L.A. dining information?

Given the sheer number of people milling about Downtown compared to a decade ago, the title of the article is silly -- "L.A.: Walking where few have walked before." And don't get me started on the idea of comparing Angels Flight to the cable cars.

Like I said, lazy reporting, lazy writing. Get over your inferiority complex, Steve, and come discover something new in L.A. the next time you're in town. We'd be happy to give you a few tips. (And then you might have a story that's worth the Chronicle's freelance pay.)

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