I’ve been meaning to mention the series of Eastside posts I’ve been doing over at blogging.la and I’m finally getting around to it. It’s kinda weird to explain it to the people I know, or those that grew up on the Eastside, but there is now a faction of the city that calls the neighborhoods of Echo Park and Silverlake the “eastside”, since they base the geographical center of the city somewhere closer to the beach communities rather than Downtown. Anything east of that is therefore now “the eastside.” Part of me says I shouldn’t care as much as I do, but the other half sez fuck those putos and their flippant rewrites of history.
I grew up in Boyle Heights, a part of the Eastside that is still in LA city proper and not part of East Los. There is nothing cool about being from the Eastside, it’s just a place crammed with overhead freeways, lacking public space, and needing much to make it habitable. But it very much placed you, it was a way for others to understand literally where you come from, and maybe even what to expect. But now, with these bullshit “fluid” demarcations that mean nothing and are being imposed by people that are just passing thru the city, the term Eastside is being used to differentiate between cretins that stay on one side or the other of La Brea/ La Cienega, as if anyone cares how hipsters try to define themselves separately from their parents. It should be noted, for those that aren’t from LA, that the Eastside has been the Mexican part of town. The new fake “eastside” is being used to demarcate the subtle differences between the same social classes of a mostly gabacho heritage, (on the historical westside) and whether one can tolerate a bit of sand in the communal potato salad. It’s a complete disconnect from the actual meaning of Eastside, given meaning only by those that want to differentiate themselves from their fellow westsiders.
Being from LA doesn’t give one much to cling onto. East Coasters tell me my region has no seasons. Frisco-eans say my hometown is full of plastic people. And LA people say the place I call home is a ghetto. Hmm. Fuck the lot of you. I know where I’m from. I know my neighborhood. Just because others are confused about the “eastside” doesn’t mean we are. I hope other Eastsiders take on the task of challenging those that thoughtlessly deny us our history. (Maybe the Rough Rider Blog can garner some recruits for the cause!) We have nothing to lose but our blogging minutes. Eastside: Presente!