I have lived several times in both New York and Los Angeles, and I don't recognize the L.A. Josh Getlin describes.
He speaks of cruising down the L.A. freeways with the radio blasting, and of a great Mexican restaurant only 30 miles away. Listen, Josh, you know darn well that these freeways have been un-cruisable for quite a few years now. The reality is that it now takes two hours to get to that Mexican restaurant, so we settle for the clown or the colonel.
The somewhat questionable virtue known as being laid back disappeared about 1980. Today, the meanness factor in business, in relationships and especially on our beloved freeways is easily comparable to New York's. I have seen more sheer barbarity on the freeways in the last two years than anything this side of 42nd Street's meat market. Man, this place hasn't been relaxed, and/or friendly in years.
Getlin says New Yorkers are suspicious of hedonism, suntans and the idea that you should enjoy your job. Hedonism? You mean that wonderful attitude that brought us AIDS, herpes, narcissistic personality disorder, dope and a level of warfare between the sexes unmatched in my lifetime? Great! And suntans, wow, skin cancer and leather-skinned aging Barbie dolls. Surf's up, dude. . . .