In the two years that LAT travel writer Susan Spano has been living in Paris, I've noticed two kinds of reactions among LA Observed readers. One is envy and resentment that the Times would send a full-time travel writer to Paris who has so little feel for the city—though actually, the editors didn't send her so much as let her keep her job when she relocated there. The other reaction I hear is that her blog on the Times website is exceedingly lame. Both objections roared into play this week over Spano's photo of tents along the Seine under a perky quip that "this is conceivably the best place to sleep in Paris, except when it rains."
Local Francophile Amy Alkon, who fumes over Spano anyway, figuratively spit her aperitif. "This is just unbelievable...Is she just a heartless bitch -- or an overpaid simpleton with press credentials?" Alkon wrote on her blog. (She previously caught Spano unaware that the "giant and fleshy" prostitutes on Rue Blondel are men.) At Alkon's site, anonymous poster FroginLA added "another, particularly disgraceful poop from la Spano." The Paris Blog, a group website written there and edited by Angeleno journalist Laurie Pike, dismissed "Susan Spano’s consistently stupid 'Postcards from Paris' blog" and suggested the Times reporter wasn't familiar enough with current events in her adopted city to know the tents are emergency shelter for the burgeoning homeless population. After a rash of comments likening her to a Times-sponsored Marie-Antoinette, Spano mea culpas in a post headed The error of my ways that doesn't deny she was ignorant of the tents' reason for being: "So there's nothing funny about people camping out in the City of Light."
Photo: Postcards from Paris