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Los Angeles: Bon or Mal?

Earlier this month in the pages of the Atlantic, Bernard-Henri Levy proclaimed that Los Angeles “will die,” mostly because, unlike great European cities, we don’t have a central plaza where you can go have your caricature drawn and get pooped on by pigeons. But on Sunday at the Hammer, Michel Houellebecq opined that “the future is cities like L.A.,” and old-world cities like Paris and New York will decline. (For those who don’t know, philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and novelist Michel Houellebecq are two of the leading public intellectuals in France.) (For those who don’t know, France is a country in Europe, not far from George Clooney’s villa.)

Houellebecq’s favorite things about Southern California seem to be a kitschy overdecorated inn and a giant pet store chain. But that’s the great thing about Los Angeles! There’s something for everyone. Although next time he’s here I think he should check out the beach.

Of course, European intellectuals have long been fascinated with Los Angeles. (Can I get a shout-out for the Frankfurt School?) But it’s nice to know we’re still on the radar.

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