An excerpt from my upcoming book, The Legend of the Concrete Shinobi:
“How do they expect the earth to breathe under all that concrete?”
-An indigenous grandmother, in a conversation about L.A.
Los Angeles is a desert. This is true of its ecology, but it is equally true of its morality, its spirituality, and its entire landscape of meaning. There is no there there.
Angel City is not bounded by city or county borders; it is everywhere, stretching throughout southern california, a festering tumor that grows and destroys. Where once was desert, mountains, coyotes, organic humans, rivers, creeks, and countless other native lifeforms, there is now only concrete, glass, blacktop, and the misery of oppression, poverty, and meaninglessness. The beaches and waters are polluted. The sky is a gray mass of poison. In the land of endless sun and no seasons, the lifestyle is as artificial and exploitative as its chief products: pornography, degradation, and cinematic propaganda for Babylon. The mind-control images pumped out by the dream machines are all generated here; it is the central broadcasting station for Channel Zero, the main factory of hate.
People often describe L.A. as “fake,” or “materialistic.” While true, these adjectives barely scratch the surface of the city’s depravity. The Hollywood Machine feeds on youth and blood, shitting out humiliation and death. Vampires, androids, and flesh-eating zombies roam the streets at will, and often wield great power. The weak of heart and mind sell what little bit of soul they have for a smidgen of status, a dollop of importance. Angel City is packed with brilliant artists: musicians, painters, sculptors, performers, an infinite variety of creative minds. Almost all of them behave as crabs in a bucket, dragging each other down and sabotaging each other’s efforts.
The power spots of the land, where people once prayed in ceremonies that affirmed life and the connection of existence, have been converted into demonic gateways that unleash hell and visions of it. The power brokers of Angel City kill and exploit the Colorado River to keep lawns and golf courses green, to keep swimming pools filled, to keep oranges growing. They traffic in human beings, buying and selling men, women, and children. They mortgage the future to finance their own privilege and entitlement, to exercise their hatred and control.
Domination is the prime currency of Angel City, and most people shit on whoever they can get away with shitting on. They act out their abuse by habit, by compulsion. The spirit engine of the city is powered by contempt, resentment, and hatred, bubbling just beneath the surface and rising to an overflow at regular intervals. Riots and assaults and murder and rape and abuse are a rampant and accepted part of life. Opaque windows hide slave factories and rape houses. This is not a mythological dystopic future; this is now. It will only get worse.
The political field of Angel City is a barely concealed cabal of organized crime. The police, like all police, are an occupying army; they are militarized, angry, cruel, and prepared to beat, cripple, and kill any who would dare question their authority, or just for sport. Activists are hungry to confront them, to play out their fantasies of martyrdom and submission by smashing themselves against metal batons, strangling themselves on barbwire, crushing themselves under tank treads.
Here, every drug and addiction is celebrated and worshipped. Alcoholism is rampant, as is the conspicuous consumption of weed, cocaine, heroin, painkillers, uppers, downers, abusive sex, and the souls of the young and naive. Every form of perversion, dysfunction, and degradation is openly available for the right price, often for free. And what else would you expect in a place where the “natural world” is barely visible, hardly a rumor? These humans are pure droids, the most lost of the civilized, an already hopeless species. Most of these people have no connection whatsoever to the cycles, rhythm, and voice of the earth.
They have only the gray. The sky is gray, the ground is gray; countless millions of droid-humans live in an entirely manufactured environment, a gigantic suburban wasteland, a neverending sprawl. The endless purgatory of freeway traffic is only the first circle of hell, an introduction, a gateway. There are many levels below it. The gutter of Angel City is bottomless; it has room for everyone. Across the landscape, eyes of wisdom are rarely found; there are only the grinning and grimacing faces of monied nobility and their massive underclass of servants and slaves.
I spent eleven long years living in Angel City, long enough to prove I could make it there, long enough to digest far too much of its poison. It is where I learned kung fu, magic, sex, and the art and craft of rhyming. It’s where I learned to live and love, where I learned to die and kill and hate. It is where I came close enough to the edge to get an idea of just how far the fall can take you; I’ve got the scars to prove it.
The denizens of Angel City are, by definition and requirement, nearly hopeless and completely insane. In a mass phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome, most of them love the city, and will fight and bleed and die to defend it, to defend their corrupt and decadent lifestyles. In blue dodger caps and white t-shirts, in designer suits and luxury cars, in urine-soaked rags or board shorts and sandals, they have all made their choices, and will not be convinced, converted, or healed. Like the rest of the civilized, without their bone fuel and enslaved lightening to power their machines and produce their food and generate their luxuries, without war to feed their insatiable appetite for resources, they are entirely helpless. When there’s no more food left for them to eat, they will eat each other. Many of them will enjoy it.
I have a message for whatever tiny handful of human beings in Angel City have ears to hear and eyes to see, whose egos are not swollen beyond repair, who are not trapped by family or finance, whose souls are not entirely dead:
Get out. While you still can.