Civilization Returns to the Bay Area Redux

I’m glad that Mike thinks that civilization has returned to the Bay Area.  It’s about time.  Here in Los Angeles, we have had a superb classical station, an excellent jazz station, two terrific news and general-interest programming stations, and a sort of mix-and-match music-news etc. station for a while.  I couldn’t really expect such diversity and culture out of the Bay Area, of course, but that’s what you get for living in a small town.

Much classier baseball fans, though.  Truly.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

9 thoughts on “Civilization Returns to the Bay Area Redux”

  1. Whereas in Chicago, we do have a (sort-of) classical radio station (plays things very safe) and an NPR affiliate that dumped all its music programming several years back. So Chicago, of all places, does not have any true jazz programming regularly available. My response was to stop supporting WBEZ. And when they call me to invite me back, I tell them, bring back the music programming and we can talk.

  2. No, Jon, you couldn’t expect that, and it’s not just the smaller market. In the late 19th century, the SF elite simply decided they lived in a world-class center of culture, and while LA was building an enormous and diverse cultural infrastructure because its wealthy were perenially insecure about their status, SF did nothing until after WWII, when it was (for example) too late to fix the museums. Anyway, there isn’t enough money here to have a deep arts culture, including radio. The question is whether having to live in a car in traffic and be late for, and leave early from, every performance evens the score some.

  3. Nobody would maintain today that headline “culture” activities are more profuse up here in the Bay Area. (For nostalgia, think back on Pretty Woman, with Gere flying Roberts up to SF for a night at the opera.) And no Bay Arean, certainly no transplanted Angeleno like me, would argue for their preference in those terms.

    Even back to the ’30s, where did the likes of Thomas Mann, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, or if you like, Huxley and Isherwood, choose to transplant themselves? Not to San Francisco.

    But on the other hand, a Jack Spicer needed to transplant himself to Berkeley and then San Francisco to become the signal poet of his day. (And drink himself to death, but who’s counting.)

  4. And let’s not forget that we in SF were only able to come up with a listener supported classical station in San Francisco by importing KUSC from Los Angeles. While I appreciate that I can now listen to classical music while driving, I don’t plan to buy a car to enjoy that. This new addition to the San Francisco airwaves was already a regular feature of my listening via their on-line presence.

    And please, let’s not confuse the radio marketplace in any form with culture.

  5. And please, let’s not confuse the radio marketplace in any form with culture.

    Not sure which sense of “culture” you mean. Is Sarah Cahill’s program on KALW not an example of “culture”? (Or maybe not an example of the “marketplace”?)

  6. Because public penis size wars about culture are positively associated with actual sophistication…

  7. I once had a job that required me to drive all around greater Los Angeles at all hours of the day and night. I listened to KUSC 100% of the time. Juxtaposed with the poverty and chaos, it made every day a bit more surreal. But why does that station have such a woody for Henry Purcell?

  8. I couldn’t really expect such diversity and culture out of the Bay Area, of course, but that’s what you get for living in a small town.

    Fuck you.

    I’ll take shitty radio–especially since I don’t have to drive, because I don’t live in L.A.–over traffic and smog any day.

    Much better weather down there though.

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