Monday, August 29, 2011

why i write

it's been about a year since i started this blog.  as i stated in my inaugural post, one of my primary motivators was the crap writing from our esteemed l.a. times.  their factual reporting is usually okay, though they do rely on the bus riders' union for an "opposing perspective" all too often.  i hate this because public transit is not a team sport, where there are only two sides and a definitive winner.  also, i've yet to talk to an actual bus rider that agrees with much of what this so-called union advocates.

back to the l.a. times, they're anecdotal writing invariably makes me want to vomit.  it seems that they decided to continue their tradition of "oooohhhh, public transit is soooo novel and weird" with this piece.  of course we all want to avoid being stabbed, but what insight could a single ride possibly give you?  the shallowness is pretty plain when the subway is described as "a commuter culture that relies on nobody seeing nothing."  when that's still a part of a writer's perspective on l.a. public transit, additional thoughts on the topic tend to not exactly be deep.  i'd humbly request that the author page through my blog here.  strangers strike up conversations and otherwise acknowledge each other all the time.  but, i guess, that's too normal to make for good copy.


  1. It's hard to understand a transit system, or anything like it, when you're a one-time rider, especially when you're trying to write a story. It's obvious you're an outsider to the culture - you won't fully understand the culture until you've ridden for years, as a regular rider, not as a tourist. After that period of time, you'll feel at home on the train since you're there so much, and you also need to have some sort of bonding moment with other commuters to make you feel like you're one of them - be it a rough commute the day after a blizzard or being stuck underground for 45 minutes on a disabled train with the HVAC and lights out. When you're finally a commuter, THEN you can write about what it's like. Anything else is an outsider's perspective on a culture, and is bound to be inaccurate.

    Also, I really like your new blog styling! Very snazzy!

  2. i emailed the author. she said she rides the bus often and wasn't actually afraid. maybe her editor insisted on playing those two things up.

    as for the new look, thanks! we're still working on it, but it's nice to be rid of the blogspot defaults.

  3. Heh, I bet the editor drives to work!

    Just another note on your formatting, I actually liked the pattern of yellow icons (train/bus lines maybe?) better than the current one, but that's just me. It was much cleaner and less distracting to my nitpicky photographer's eye. Just my humble thoughts.