Puro teatro at the Times
June 4, 2009 § 6 Comments
OK, if you’ve got GoogleReader you can delete my last post on this.
I take it back. Sort of. Well, not really.
Mr. Turner’s words themselves weren’t so harsh as to merit the response I wrote and have since deleted from the Creekfreak. It is the meaning – the sense of impossibility, and the demeaning of our city’s already demeaned waterway that elicited such a reaction. And he did it with pretty words and the validity of first-person experience. Who can argue with one’s personal experience, after all?
The reality is LA as a whole is a neglected landscape, a hodgepodge of bad planning decisions and developer-driven initiatives. That the river reflects this should be no surprise.
But why the scorn for it, as opposed to, say, the people who made it that way and would not seek to improve it?
The LA River means a lot of things to many people. There is humankind’s contempt for nature in it. There is also nature’s extraordinary resilience – you give it wastewater, it grows a little paradise. And then there’s this wellspring of love and appreciation, that you find in the hearts of people who frequent the river, and recognize that resilience.
“this is a nature experience only for those who have never actually experienced nature.”
Sure, it’s no Thames – but have you ever actually looked at the Thames as it courses through London? The East River? The Seine? Pretty degraded habitat, as are most urban rivers. Oh, and I think there’s plenty of dogshit and battery acid washing into all those rivers. (We should really do something about that.)
But since we’re speaking of personal experiences here, Mr. Turner, here’s one for you. I found your article to be a dispiriting distraction, what the singer La Lupe called puro teatro. It does not inspire meaningful dialogue, and it gives no direction for the future. It has wasted the time and psychic energy of a lot of good people who have the audacity to care about this river, and the future of this place we call home.
It was journalism only for those who have never actually experienced journalism.