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When I was in college the required freshman writing course was always taught by a legion of English department TAs. To make what was, by definition, a really remedial class more enjoyable to teach, the department would let the teaching assistants choose whatever theme they wanted for their section and create reading and writing assignments related to it. My TA chose "Los Angeles as a Dystopian Society," and I'm still amazed at how much art and literature there is on this theme. It stems, of course, as you point out, from the fact that Los Angeles—such a massive cultural center—is run by people who hate Los Angeles. As a result, we get Blade Runner, Escape from L.A., The Running Man, Demolition Man, and so on. Of course, even when a film is about the apocalypse more generally, Los Angeles offers a convenient backdrop for the major studios. But the theme carries over to books, too, from Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower to sociological accounts like Mike Davis' City of Quartz and journalistic tomes like Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert. Even having lived and worked there, I never looked at L.A. quite the same way after that course.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2011 on we are all going to reseda... at WWdN: In Exile
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I've been tinkering with CSS3 and couldn't resist animating the Ken Jennings picture. Unfortunately keyframes only work reliably in Chrome and Safari, so far as I know, but here's the result if anyone's interested:
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Mar 9, 2011