I haven't lived here my whole life, but it has been a good long while (23 years!), and while I can't remember where I first heard it, it seems like there's always been some kind of consensus that "San Francisco hates Los Angeles." So, I'm wondering: do you hate LA? If so, why? And do I need to hate Los Angeles to be considered a "true San Franciscan"?
Maybe I Hate LA?
I don't hate Los Angeles. But I DO hate the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that's a requirement for true San Franciscan status. (And I don't care if you don't give a shit about baseball. You still just have to hate the Dodgers. Period.)
In all seriousness, I do think the general opinion that San Francisco Hates LA is, at its heart, just a baseball rivalry. But for some people it's since extended into a general dislike of Los Angeles, with the irony being that while some of San Francisco may spend a lot of time hating Los Angeles, I don't think LA spends much time thinking about us at all.
So, why would a non-baseball fan bother to hate the city of Los Angeles? I can think of a few reasons. There's the general claim that Los Angeles is shallow, full of face-lifts, boob jobs, and midlife crisis convertibles; that you can't live in LA without a car, which results in its ugly sprawl being filled with never ending bumper-to-bumper traffic; and it's a one industry town, and can get pretty boring having to talk to people about self-branding, auditions, and their screenplays every place you go.
But a lot of those criticisms could easily be made about San Francisco. There may not be as many face-lifts and boob jobs, but ask any single person here and they'll tell you, San Francisco is plenty shallow. Traffic here has gotten worse and worse, and while it's still not as bad as LA, (because the city is just smaller), it's still a nightmare. And it's also a one industry town! LA talks about screenplays; SF talks about killer apps.
The one place San Francisco definitely has Los Angeles beat is in the beauty of the city itself. Even the highest mountain in Los Angeles won't give you a view to match the one you'd get at the top of any hill in San Francisco.
For a long time, I only thought of Los Angeles as the wall of traffic that prevented me from getting to Disneyland as soon as possible. But as I've spent more time in the city itself, I've begun to like it more. As a visitor, I get the feeling it has a little more appreciation for history; there are so many restaurants and bars and buildings that have remained virtually unchanged since their beginnings. Perhaps the reality is they're just as willing to bulldoze history to make way for an ugly metal stack of condos, but as a non-resident, I'm, luckily, able to remain blind to that.
And as a movie fan, I love that the entire city is basically one giant movie set. It's pretty cool being able to visit settings of films shot decades ago, and still recognize them. And, because the city is such a sprawl, and real estate isn't at as much of a premium, I love that there are still neighborhoods filled with 1930s bungalow houses scattered all around Los Angeles.
But the drawbacks are still there. Whenever I visit, it always feels like the places I want to see are always at least 30 minutes away. In San Francisco, if worse came to worst, and I was stranded, I could walk home, regardless of where in the city I was; that is virtually never an option in Los Angeles. And as thrilling as it can be to see movie stars just walking around the city, pretending they're regular people, it does get tedious that no matter where you go, people are talking about their showbiz careers.
So, maybe this general "SF hates LA" thing is based on a notion that Los Angeles, with all of its (so-called) glamor, and movie stars, and fame, somehow thinks it's better than us. And fuck anyone who thinks they're better than us!
But as more and more people move to San Francisco from places afar, I think that feeling has begun to fade a bit. I could be wrong, but I personally don't hear complaints about the suckiness of LA as much as I used to. So, I think you can have any opinion about Los Angeles you want to... at least between the months of November and April. But then, once the first pitch of the season is thrown, you'd better have one and only one opinion.
And that's to BEAT LA!
Rain Jokinen was born and raised in San Francisco and, miraculously, still calls the city home. Her future plans include becoming a millionaire, buying a condo complex, and then tearing it down to replace it with a dive bar. You can ask this native San Franciscan your questions here.In these Troubled San Francisco Times, there is a lot of talk about who was here when, and what that does (or doesn't) mean. In an effort to both assist newcomers and take long-time residents down memory lane, we present to you Ask a San Francisco Native, a column penned by SF native and longtime SFist contributor Rain Jokinen, which is inspired by a similar one on our sister site Gothamist, and is intended to put to rest all those questions only a native of this city can answer. Send yours here!