Observing Los Angeles

Speaking of cliches

Is there a lazier media and blog meme going around right now than the anti-Westside digs over the 310/424 area code overlay and resulting addition of four digits to every phone number? Think now, how many stories, columns and blog entries have you seen in the past few weeks where some writer feigns common man or woman status to poke fun at those elitist crybaby (and invariably rich, in these copycat pieces) Westsiders? The latest, by Cathy Seipp for the National Review Online audience, even manages to work in "liberal elites" and Barbra Streisand. (Not to pick on Cathy, she's just the latest in a long string.) My point isn't just that the stereotypes are off-key, though by now you'd think there would be no excuse for someone who lives in Los Angeles to claim the Westside is all rich, white or celebrity-addled. (Oakwood? Mar Vista? Pico-Robertson? Palms? Sawtelle? West L.A.? Hello, get out more.)

The point is this: How many of those pieces acknowledge that Compton, South Gate, Lynwood, Inglewood, San Pedro, Hawthorne, Lawndale, El Segundo, Culver City and a dozen other places that don't fit the writers' Westside envy are also in the 310 and equally affected? Right, not very many. [Q: What's your area code, boss?—ed. A: 310!]

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