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Angelenos are rude and depressed and our road rage is totally unwarranted

Hollywood Sign Apparently, all of the stereotypes about L.A. are wrong. Forget the year-round sunshine and our bright white smiles. It turns out that not only are we the rudest city but our residents are also really depressed, according to a study by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

On the topic of our rudeness, our Op-Ed columnist Gregory Rodriguez would say we're insincere but not rude. From his column, "Take that, Travel + Leisure":

Like New Yorkers we are mostly transplants, but there's a difference. People tend to move to the Big Apple expressly to make themselves part of a famous, ongoing civic enterprise. By contrast, I think what our late Mayor Tom Bradley once said is still true: People who come to L.A. "are looking for a place where they can be free" -- from tradition, the past, even from community. More than NYC, L.A. is a city of disconnected exiles.

But it doesn't make us rude. I think we strive for just enough everyday courtesy to keep strangers and the unfamiliar at bay without getting ourselves into too much conflict.

A few decades ago, essayist Edmund White found this act of keeping the world at arms' length almost the opposite of rudeness. "The almost Oriental politeness of the West Coast," he wrote, "is one of its distinctive regional features, in marked contrast to the contentiousness of the East Coast.... So few human contacts in Los Angeles go unmediated by glass (either a TV screen or an automobile windshield) that the direct confrontation renders the participants docile, stunned, sweet."

On the rise of depression rates from 9% in 1999 to the current 14%, officials say it's entirely possible more people are coming forward with their mental health status now that there's less stigma attached to depression.

Since we're busting L.A. stereotypes, get this. It turns we don't have the worst traffic in the country.

Next thing they'll tell us is that palm trees aren't native to Los Angeles. Oh...

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier  

Photo: Hollywood sign. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 

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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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