Somehow while I was gone, Indie 103.1 mysteriously vanished, which means more frequent KCRW listening, which is great when they're playing music but terrible when they're spewing Los Angeles cliches in an ongoing misguided effort to comment humorously on our city. (LA Times... we're looking at what's left of you, too.)
Now Michael Silverblatt's KCRW program Bookworm certainly sounds like a great idea, but I wouldn't know because I can't listen. I'm too afraid I'll hear the irritating "Through the jungle we will go in books! Books books books!" song from the promos for the millionth time.
And it doesn't help when Silverblatt blurbs his upcoming program, on John Haskell's new Out of My Skin, by saying the book's about "the wily strategies one needs to keep body and soul in Los Angeles." That's right, people. In Los Angeles, it's not sufficient to simply live as one does easily in other, less consistently stereotyped cities. One needs to actually devise more than one wily strategy here in order to keep your physical and mental self intact.
The book's own publisher isn't any better:
Los Angeles. A would-be movie reviewer, looking for romance, takes an assignment to write a magazine article about celebrity look-alikes. After getting to know a Steve Martin impersonator, the writer decides to undertake his own process of transformation and becomes not Steve Martin but a version of him—graceful, charming, at home in the world. Safe in the guise of “Steve,” he begins to fall in love. And that’s when “Steve” takes over. Set in the capital of illusion, this is a story of one man’s journey into paradise—and his attempt to come out the other side.
Check out that last sentence: Just one sentence, yet three full Los Angeles cliches. So efficient! Shall we count? We've got the "capital of illusion" (represented not-so-subtly in the book by the impersonation aspect), the fact that we're "paradise," and that he can't just live here like a normal person, but needs some sort of plan for eventual escape. Which one suspects he will -- as long as his strategies are sufficiently wily, of course.