One of the great injustices in the current unemployed’s list of hoops through which to jump is the new-and-improved prospective employee-vetting process. Yeah, they ask for normal things like your resume and portfolio, but they also ask for the equivalent of a college admission essay and “what makes you interesting in 140 characters or less.” In the past I’ve tried to make myself sound more interesting than I am by detailing exactly how much coffee I consume on a daily basis, but so far no takers.

For one particular job in media I saw the other day, the prospective employer requested I list my favorite magazines and newspapers, just to demonstrate that I am “with it” as far as current events go. To be honest, NPR is my meat-and-potatoes for news and intelligent discussion, but I also sample a few other outlets as well.

When I started to list other magazines and newspapers I read, however, a pattern emerged. New York Magazine. The Bold Italic. The Atlantic. The New Yorker. Bitch Magazine. Salon. These all have one thing in common, and if you can guess what it is, I’ll give you a cookie.

It became apparent that I would have a problem with the L.A. media scene.

I leaned back in my office chair, wracking my cobwebbed brain for one L.A.-centered source of information I regularly perused.


Let me be honest; it’s hard for me to get excited about things that happen in L.A. The whole L.A. scene makes me want to curl up on the couch and never leave the house and the safety of my curated collection of books. Tans, Botox, expensive cars, shallow pursuits, the worship of celebrity, youth and beauty…ugh.

I don’t care where the Olsen twins were spotted dining on Melrose. I don’t care about where celebrities prefer to hike. I especially don’t care about the Real Housewives of Orange County or any of their ilk.

As I sipped my third cup of coffee for that morning, I searched relentlessly for one single source of L.A. media that might interest me. Los Angeles Magazine? Eh. Los Angeles Confidential? Eh. I browsed their pages, looking for something, anything that nabbed my attention.


I did, however, learn that we’re nominating our first poet laureate, so…that’s exciting.

I felt enough of a furrowing in my brow to set down my coffee. We have a thriving art culture and enough museums to keep me occupied until the apocalypse. We have a lively music scene and plenty of dive bars hosting little-known musicians for the price of two drinks. We have pretty competitive universities. We have the beach. We have sunshine. We have the best Mexican food north of San Ysidro.

Where is the magazine that reflects Los Angeles as more than a temple for wealth and celebrity worship?* Where is the magazine that reminds the world we’re not just another vehicle clogging up the 405? I knew that I could not be the only person here craving some kind of intellectualism from the City of Smog. Still, I could see how an article on kayaking down the L.A. River pales in comparison to, say, coverage of Bay-to-Breakers.

After some more thought, I went ahead and submitted anyway. After all, we are second from the bottom on the list of jobs-per-capita, below even Riverside (Los Angeles’ redneck cousin) and Detroit (!).

And Detroit is looking pretty good right now.

*If there is already an amazing L.A. magazine and Google didn’t tell me about it, please point it out to me and disregard this entire post.



The L.A. Scene — 35 Comments

  1. Atlanta? *waving*

    You could live in the city, have immediate friends *waving* and don’t worry, we’ll protect you from the gun toting Jesus freaks and take you to some good football, baseball, and BBQ,

    Good luck with everything. I think about your sitch every day.
    Lance recently posted…Gimme Back My BulletsMy Profile

  2. “What makes you interesting in 140 characters or less”…I feel like this is a task very specific to our modern era. I’m so weary from having to seem interesting. 😉 I enjoyed this post a lot.

  3. I laughed at your footnote. I have a friend who recently went through the rigamarole of finding a new job. She told me about all of the ridiculous new and improved hoops. For one interview, she had to drive 100 miles to another town in IL just to sit in front of a computer and take a proofreading quiz. Inane.
    Nate recently posted…Roly-PolyMy Profile

    • Oh yeah. Been there, done that. So far, I’ve driven into and out of the city no less than three times for “job interviews” that were really just tests. Can you not see on my resume that I’ve been copyediting for several years now?

  4. “People Online” readers could conduct your interviews. That’s where things are headed. Your essay is a lighthearted yet unsettling reminder of that.

  5. You make such compelling points here. I was going to rock your world and say “start one!” but then saw in the very first response to a comment that you were already way ahead of me on that one. But seriously, though, wouldn’t it be exciting?
    Katia recently posted…TV’s Top Ten Worst HusbandsMy Profile

  6. I have spent most of my 45 years in LA and am protective of my city. You are right, there is a lot of news about the business but that sort of thing plays all over too, not just here.

    There is so much going on here that has nothing to do with any of that nonsense, most of us are just regular people.

    Anyway, the cool thing about blogging is that you can create the publication you want and see a need for. It might be kind of fun to start something that focuses more clearly on the topics you are interested in.

    Start small and see what happens.
    Jack recently posted…Father’s Day, Lurkers & 99 Things That MatterMy Profile

  7. I can’t help you when it comes to L.A. magazines. It sounds like they need something like The New Yorker or The Atlantic, specifically designed for the west coast. Maybe that’s what the employer is looking for – someone who cares about something besides celebrity pop culture.

    I am guilty of watching The Housewives of New York. Shh…don’t tell.
    Robin recently posted…Lightning StrikesMy Profile

  8. Being a history lover and fan of Route 66, I am more interested in those elements of L.A. than the celebrity scene. Give me neon and the arts or interesting trivia about Route 66 over celebrities and shallow pursuits.

    On a side note, The New Yorker rocks. I recently bought a subscription to it and love it.
    Kim recently posted…How to Be a Writer in 5 Easy StepsMy Profile

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