xHgGrtG-show-poster2x3-aXpIxNN.png

Artbound

Start watching
Tending Nature show poster

Tending Nature

Start watching
IYhnPQZ-show-poster2x3-Ytk6YwX.png

Southland Sessions

Start watching
RYQ2PZQ-show-poster2x3-OGargou.jpg

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
E5VnHdZ-show-poster2x3-PrXshoo.png

City Rising

Start watching
QraE2nW-show-poster2x3-uY3aHve.jpg

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement and Special Events teams.

1. Los Angeles Abstract

dj_waldie.jpg

I’m probably known... although, perhaps not to you... as the author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir. That was a book about a lot of things - water, sin, carpentry, Catholics and Jews, land use policy, the Laws of the Indies, Lakewood, and a dead cocker spaniel. They seemed, at the time, to be related.It was more of a long, solitary conversation with myself than a book. Years long. Held morning and evening during my walk from my house to my office and from office to house, the predictability of each step eliding into each sentence. Eventually, that conversation turned public, because the back-and-forth was an argument, too... an argument with myself initially over the folly of staying here (here = my parents’ house, then my house) or of believing . . . particularly of believing that so much ordinariness would add up to anything. Then it became an argument about falling in love.

I was about to say something about us at this point, because the “falling in love” part seems to need it. But I stopped because I have a habit of referring to you and me collectively... naming us as Angeleños or throwing us together as “we” by the fourth of fifth ‘graph of just about every essay I write, as if you and I were passengers on the same Metro bus and as if being there together implied anything, particularly any obligation or civility, between us. You in your uncomfortable seat listening to your iPod. Me in my uncomfortable seat thinking how the pyramid of Khufu at Giza might be taken apart, block by block, to reveal what it hides inside.

Well, now that’s been said. (You might remember that I once told an audience that I thought blogging was a form of speech, not of writing. That got me in hot water. Someone else may remember from Phaedrus that Socrates argued writing was overrated. He valued living speech. Just a suggestion, if you’re still defensive.) Except I made about two dozen changes in these 373 words and 18 sentences (MS Word will do the metrics for you), which currently score at a ninth grade reading level. Just in case you were wondering what I’m getting at.

“We” remains an abstraction, despite my regard of the back of your head two rows in front, an abstraction equivalent to the abstraction that Los Angeles has become (has been made to become... and there are reasons for that which are worth talking about). But here is where the imagination comes in, my imagination and, if I’m lucky, yours, too... and there isn’t much imagination in the kind of thing this thing is (what you are reading but maybe you should be hearing)... and - oh - it’s a moral imagination about which I talking.

(490 words. The goal is 500, after which I get bored with the sound of my own voice.)

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More
Bill Kobin - hero image

Public Media and KCET Legend Bill Kobin Dies at 91

William H. “Bill” Kobin, a public media icon who helped build PBS flagship station KCET into a Los Angeles powerhouse, airing news programs like the acclaimed “Life & Times” and helping to launch Huell Howser’s career, has died.
Pupils listen to school lessons broadcast over a solar radio in Dalu village, Tana River County, Kenya, November 28, 2020. | Thomson Reuters Foundation/Benson Rioba

With Schools Shut by Pandemic, Solar Radios Keep Kenyan Children Learning

Solar-powered radios have been distributed to the poorest homes that lack electricity access, with lessons broadcast daily during the COVID-19 crisis — and perhaps beyond.
A gorilla's face. | Flickr/Mathias Appel/Public Domain

Gorillas at Safari Park Test Positive for Virus That Causes COVID-19

Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, zoo officials announced today.