Jay Babcock, former Los Angeles scenester and founder of the music/art mag Arthur, up and moved to Brooklyn recently. Why? "Culture in L.A. is in a race to the bottom, and all the smart and creative people there are [involved in] new ways to do social networking or figure out what YouTube video is going to get the most views. That isn't culture, it's pure pandering," he tells the L.A. Times today. Also: nobody in L.A. even noticed that he had moved:
What prompted the move to Brooklyn?
New York is just a more hospitable environment than L.A. ever has been or will be. L.A. is devolving quickly, and I think I got out in the nick of time. The L.A. Times is imploding, our public radio is terrible, the [L.A.] Weekly's been devolving for years. Local media's being run into the ground and I don't think anybody cares. The public's dumbed down and poorly educated. L.A. is a psychic death hole to me, and I don't want a part of that. There are so many impending crises - the political structure, the traffic, the educational system. L.A. is failing worse than ever, and I felt that if I can get out, I should. I found a way out. For a long time now I've been going back and forth between L.A. and New York, and every time I got off the plane in L.A. I felt dumber.
...I've been [in Brooklyn] for weeks, and nobody noticed. I don't mean to sound petulant, but I realized that a lot of people actually didn't know I'd left, so I let Kevin Roderick [of L.A. Observed] know."
We're not really smarter or more cultured here, though—we just think we are! In two weeks, Jay, you will find yourself at some rich person's party on the Upper West Side, where you don't know the host—but some friends said you should come. Someone might pass you the cocaine and although you said you wouldn't, or shouldn't, do that ever/anymore, you'll try it—what the hell—and will spend the next hour staring as people's heads turn into insects as they conversate—or more accurately, wait for others to stop talking so they can chime in. You'll spill red wine on your shirt, accidentally hit on the host's daughter, and watch the day break as you head home in a cab, wondering if this is perhaps an inauspicious start to your new life in New York. Cab fare to Brooklyn: $30. Note to self: sign up for Internet dating account.
But seriously, welcome to Brooklyn.