Five years after French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy observed Los Angeles somewhat harshly in the pages of the Atlantic, writer Conor Friedersdorf prosecutes a point-by-point defense of L.A. on the magazine's website. Excerpt:
On what we'll call its western edge, Los Angeles has as stark a border as any urban area: the Pacific Ocean, which stops any notion of sprawl at its shoreline. Greater Los Angeles is also hemmed in by some rather majestic mountains. It is easy enough to see the city's limits from the air, conceding sprawl that extends interminably in other directions -- one is hard-pressed indeed to state the precise moment one is moving from Los Angeles into Orange County.
Of course, Los Angeles is hardly alone in its sprawl, and is very much alone in the starkness of its physical boundaries, so it hardly seems the appropriate example of the quintessential city without defined limits.
Here's our report from 2004 on BHL's visit to Los Angeles.