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SUNDAY READING

THE MIRROR : How Others See Us : Hipness for Sale

December 15, 1985

Reprinted with permission from Esquire. Copyright 1985 Charlie Haas.

Westwood Village, which adjoins UCLA but looks like MTV, is a kid's chic business district so marvelously slick that you can enter it at twilight and glide all evening along the goofily curved and angled streets, feeling no friction and seeing, in a few blocks, the diet of hipness that will be fed to kids in slower regions for the next five years, after clearance from Westwood's spotless test boutiques.

If the currencies of past youth scenes were cultural ideas and political positions, the currency of Westwood is currency, and plenty of it; this is the Greenwich Village of moneyed leisure, the Left Bank of beautiful-brute hype. You can rummage in college towns for wisdom, but you come to Westwood for cleverness--clever clothes on clever bodies, droll food at arch tables. Westwood is your college town as remade by Hollywood . . . a place where people who live four freeway exits away become resort tourists in their own city.

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