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Interview with "Militant Angeleno"

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Welcome back to "Better Know a SoCal Blogger" on KCET.org! Every week we will be featuring one of the city's many fascinating and first-rate blogs. This week we are speaking with the anonymous writer of Militant Angeleno, a mysterious blogger who offers readers a native's view on L.A. in hopes of making them all more militant fans and citizens of the region.


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The Basics

Blogger Name: Militant Angeleno

Official Blog Name: Uh... "Militant Angeleno" :)

When did you start blogging? The Militant actually started blogging in 1994. However, there were no such things as "blogs" back then, but he was definitely writing, and people were reading his adventures and observations in Los Angeles back then. The Militant Angeleno blog, as we know it today, goes back as far as June 2007 though.

Do you have a day job? He may or may not have one...

How many hours do you spend online/ on your computer? Far too much to mention. It also helps (or doesn't help) that he now has a smartphone with 3G internet access...

Where do you do your blogging from physically? The Militant blogs from the Militant Compound. He cannot specify an address for privacy and security purposes, but he can tell you that it's within a 5-mile radius of the KCET studios.

What are you reading? This email!

Link to your first post: Here


The Lowdown

What is your blog about?

Militant Angeleno is about Los Angeles, seen from the point of view of a native who was raised in an unspecified ethnically diverse neighborhood in the city and shares his perspective through his own eyes. He loves to write about places and subjects that most other Los Angeles blogs don't even have on their radar.

Who is your ideal reader?
Well, there's two ideal readers -- one is the similarly militantly-inclined native Angeleno who also feels like a foreigner in his or her own blogosphere. Many of them are excited that the Militant represents their voice. The other ideal reader is the recently-transplanted hipster who thinks they live in "The Eastside" and is entitled to everything, and thinks they know all they know about Los Angeles. The Militant really likes to piss 'em off.

Besides your own, what's your favorite Los Angeles blog?
He has a few. One that stands out is laeastside.com, because, like the Militant's blog, it represents local voices and perspectives that don't normally get heard. The Militant feels at least partly responsible for inspiring those folks to get out there, and is glad they are on the blogosphere. We need more diverse voices out there, especially from parts of town where you don't expect bloggers to live in. The Militant also reads laist.com. He used to *really* hate them a couple years back but recently they've gotten more in touch with the real Los Angeles, its history, cultures and issues in its posts. They deserve much Militant props for turning it around.

What is a one misconception people have about you from your blog?
That the Militant doesn't own a car. He does, but he doesn't drive it as much as everyone else. He's yet to visit a mechanic!

Here is a screenshot of the Militant Angeleno's blog.

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You refuse to reveal your identity; how has this helped you when it comes to writing blog entries about L.A.?
Oh tons! The Militant can get away with so much stuff. :) He is also insult-proof. A few years ago on another blog, someone called the Militant a certain ethnic slur. The Militant just laughed because that slur may or may not been so far off the mark. No one knows what the Militant is exactly, so ad-hominem attacks really won't work!
There is a downside, in that there are limits to the extent that he can connect with people. It's like being Batman, or (more Los Angeles-specific) Iron Man - except that the Militant isn't rich. It can be lonely being a Militant sometimes. But that's the price a Militant must pay.

As a native born Angeleno, what were topics you thought the media or other blogs were not covering?

There's a multitude of layers to this City that most people are unaware of. There's many cultures and sub-cultures here that don't get much recognition, yet the Militant already sees how they contribute to our urban tapestry. People who are ignorant about Los Angeles love to stereotype it, but really, you can't. It's not one thing, it's many things.

What is a "militant" Angeleno and how does being militant improve our city?
Militant Angeleno (small "m") is one armed with a sense of local history, civic knowledge and participation, and local pride. A militant Angeleno does not let people's ignorance or denigration of the City go unchallenged. A militant is also constructively critical of what does go wrong in this City, but is more involved in making things happen and making things work than placing the blame. A militant knows the past, works in the present and is always looks toward the future. And a HUGE Dodger and Laker fan too. :)

You bike and take public transportation a lot, do you believe this is really a growing trend for Angelenos with a future, or is it still out of the norm?
It is a growing trend. Or not even a trend, but a lifestyle shift. He sees more people bike, and not just hipsters on fixies, but teenagers. That's encouraging since they can get around and explore the city before they know how to drive (and the ability to drive doesn't necessarily help one know the city, as we all know...). There was no Red Line or bike culture when the Militant was a teenager. There's still a psychological barrier to cycling, but it will gradually erode. There used to be a huge reluctance to take transit when Metro Rail started nearly 20 years ago, now taking the train is less of a big deal that it used to be. We already have one of the largest transit systems in the US. not bad for just 20 years.

Who has been your favorite Dodger?
Right now, it's Orlando Hudson. O-DAWWWGGG!!! He's got a great attitude. Kemp, Manny and Kuroda are also faves. The Militant's all-time favorite Dodgers growing up were Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela.

Your blog seems to really capture the essence of Los Angeles, but: How do you make time to attend all the events?
Thanks! But even the Militant knows his limits! Not even he can attend all the events! But it just goes to show how much activity and vibrancy is going on in this city.


The ever mysterious blogger, the Militant Angeleno gave us this picture of his workspace.

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Who is the ultimate militant Angeleno in your eyes?
There is none really, But if you combined Huell Howser's curiosity and historical knowledge, Edward James Olmos' dedication to community service, Tom Bradley's heart, Ruben Salazar's courage, Ed Begley Jr's environmental dedication, Patt Morrison's intelligence and wit, Fr. Gregory Boyle's soul and Tommy Lasorda's passion, that would be the ultimate militant Angeleno right there!
The Militant hopes that some of these kids today will be true Militant Angelenos when they grow up.

What is you favorite corner, neighborhood, or spot in Los Angeles?
The Militant has many. He loves his own neighborhood, and is very active in it, but obviously can't reveal where it is. He can tell you that he digs Downtown Los Angeles, Leimert Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, East Hollywood, NoHo, Boyle Heights, Mid City, Little Tokyo and Koreatown.

Finally, what is it about L.A. that inspires you to blog?
It's diverse, it's dynamic. Nothing's set in stone yet. There's way too many opportunities. A lot of people complain how "Los Angeles doesn't do _____ right," but really we're still learning.
That's exciting stuff for a Militant.

We'd like to thank the Militant Angeleno for participating in this installment of Better Know a SoCal Blogger. Make sure to check out his militant blog!