Hey L.A., It's Time to Start Hating San Francisco

Hey L.A., It's Time to Start Hating San Francisco

If Los Angeles has an inferiority complex, it's usually in regard to New York.

Our deal with San Francisco and the greater Bay Area was never about feeling inferior. Far from it. They sneered at us, but we never bothered to sneer back. San Francisco always seemed so pretty and walkable - even as its residents looked down on us as "fake" or "stupid," we still thought of their city as a breezy weekend getaway.

Continue Reading

But the Bay Area has such a superiority complex that it's been blinded to the reality of what Los Angeles is really about - and, lately, to just how far San Francisco has moved from its own professed values.

In fact, we dare say San Franciscans have it all backwards. L.A. is for real. It's the Bay that has become a parody of smug white privilege.

Yes, pretty much all of coastal California is subject to extreme costs of living, with home values that mean living like a student even on what should be a middle-class salary.

But San Francisco is king in this regard. The city has the least-affordable real estate in the nation, with only 14 percent of homes for sale being affordable for median-income families. Despite its loudly trumpeted progressivism, San Francisco is the most gilded big city in America when it comes to real estate.

See also: 15 Things You Learn in Your First 5 Years in L.A.

You can rail all you want against capitalism and corporations, but it's hard to take you with a straight face when you have to be a millionaire on paper just to live in the city. San Francisco even has a community that has been dubbed "Billionaires' Row." Sure, tell Angelenos how materialistic we are.

And here's where we get down to what really bugs us about the S.F. dweller: 

Even while they're airily suggesting the middle class should eat cake, they still have the gall to look down on us. "Without the Bay, We're Just L.A." goes one local ad campaign - as if that's a bad thing (and as if we don't have a bay of our own). 

The Bay Area citizen regards Los Angeles as a vast, suburban wasteland without art, culture or human redemption. We are a gluttonous city with little regard for literature, nature or recycling.

We are, in short, barbarians from the south.

Yet much of what San Franciscans revere about themselves and, particularly, their greatest culture export, counterculture, is linked to Southern California, for better or worse.

The Pump House Gang, Tom Wolfe's influential storytelling about left coast counterculture, takes its name from a group of SoCal surfers.

Psychedelic drug king Timothy Leary ultimately called Los Angeles home.

The music of the 1960s flowed through the labels and Sunset Strip clubs of Los Angeles, even if some of the era's bands were born in the Bay. The Doors were the quintessential, American-born '60s act. Rock of the '60s and '70s was based here more than anywhere else; San Francisco didn't even rank before London or New York.

Even the post-counterculture chi of leftism-gone-upscale - yoga, animal rights, modern sushi - is a Los Angeles creation that San Francisco merely took to its logical extreme.

SoCal is the birthplace of contemporary skateboarding, surfing, hot-rodding, off-roading, import car tuning, streetwear, American rave culture, medical marijuana profiteering, and Coachella.

If you hate us, you must hate those things.

The preachiness of a McMansion-dwelling Westsider telling you to conserve energy will never be as annoying as some Silicon Valley trust-funder telling you he's going to change the world when you know all he really wants to do is change his wallet. One is trying. One is lying. 

San Francisco, like Manhattan, has become a precious island of snobby gentrifiers who are pushing out people of color to make room for Google buses and the very organic produce some of those people produce.

Behold the Bay Area hipster, Charles Bukowski (!) paperback in her pocket, canvas Vans (born in Southern California) on her feet, Facebook paycheck in her account and a chest full of hate for the perceived vapidity of L.A.

She's so happy street tacos are still available in her neighborhood, served by residents she displaced. It's so eclectic.

The Bay hipster is so much more annoying than others of its ilk because of the added pretense of intellectualism. Just put on your costume and skip the philosophy lecture, please.

Los Angeles has more than its share of problems, but at least we don't shove our hypocritical self-satisfaction down your throat.

The true irony is that folks born and raised in Southern California - the children of immigrants from Mexico, Korea and that most foreign place, Wisconsin - are the most real, down-to-earth, unpretentious people you'll ever meet.

Hollywood attracts douche bags from all over. Just like Silicon Valley. And to mistake our homegrown industry built on pretending for the real L.A., this crazy patchwork quilt of a vast and flavorful city, says more about you than it does about us.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories