Why I think a love for a place can include Los Angeles, and a love for culture can and should include the Kardashians and company.
I moved to Washington, DC last Friday! After three glorious weeks at home. It was amazing hanging out with my friends and family. And puppy. I missed Shiloh a lot. We spent tons of time at the beach and went to Disneyland. My mom came with us for our annual excursion out there! Daddy opted not to go because the Happiest Place on Earth somehow makes him depressed. I’ve learned not to argue with him about such things.
My really close friend graduated from Biola a semester early, and I bawled through the ceremony. A young pastor who founded the Dream Center in LA was the keynote speaker. I’ve always felt so connected to Los Angeles. I honestly think that city might be the land of my anointing. You know, like King David and stuff? I’ve recently felt called to minister out there, in whatever profession I end up doing. It had a lot to do with that video that came out a few months ago, City of Angels by Thirty Seconds to Mars.
It speaks to a strong craving to be noticed. To be remembered. It’s a raw energy that drives my generation forward. People who live in LA, who’ve made it, or who are still shopping their talent, they’re living in the epicenter of where fame happens in the United States. Where you can be someone. Hollywood, LA County? That’s where culture is shaped. Disneyland? That’s how people categorize their childhoods. Everyone knows Mickey Mouse. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella.A term I learned recently is mass culture. Everyone kept telling me I represented mass culture. The stuff that everyone knows about. They say that things like Starbucks, Disney, and Keeping Up With Kardashians are somehow inherently bad because everyone internalizes and forms an opinion about it.But isn’t that how you change the world? Make sure everyone, or at least the right people, know about it?
I understand the longing hidden deep in the broken City of Angels. I know what it is to keep chasing an illusive dream and have it fail you. And I know what it is to turn around and run as hard and as fast as I can to find Truth. LA is beautiful because people have the freedom to express themselves. They can say anything. They can dream to BE anything. And they have the hope of making it, because so many who have gone before them have done it, in that magical place.
But a world that idolizes achievement will only reach a mere shadow of the Greatness that a life living for Another offers. That’s why people keep at it. The shadow of fulfillment promises the completion of true happiness. The people of LA have hope! And they’re not giving up. The Kardashians will not stop throwing their lives before the eyes of millions of people. Disney will never stop making moments magical and charging through the nose for the privilege. Starbucks will continue to sell millions of cups of overpriced coffee every day.
Why? Because they can’t stop. And they won’t stop. (Thank you, Miley.)
So honestly? I think the entertainment, ‘mass culture’ capital of our Nation has a lot more things right then we tend to give it credit for.
They are not afraid of greatness. The City of Angels knows and has counted the cost. They have the kind of passion, spirit, and following that people dream about. They are truly a unique culture that is ripe for change, and has the power to awaken this sleeping Nation.
If only someone would show them who to stand for.
Who to be beautiful for.
If only people would look past the obsession and see the pain. Look past the noise and see strength. Look past the pride and see influence.
If only we could commit ourselves to loving the brokenness of our culture, and being apart of the process of guiding ourselves out of it.
Truth only matters if its spoken in a way that people can understand, and emotionally/spiritually/intellectually/physically relate to.
Otherwise? It’s just a bunch of old traditions that will be thrown away at the sight of the next big thing.
Havilah Joy Steinman graduated from Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She is currently a fellow at the John Jay Institute and is fulfilling the internship component of the program at The Heritage Foundation writing for The Foundry, their online blog. Havilah spent the last four months completing her academic residency in Philadelphia studying our Nation’s founding. She grew up in San Diego and plans on returning to Southern California to start law school this fall.