the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Why Doesn’t Los Angeles Have a Local Tyrant?


As a former New Yorker living in Los Angeles, I sometimes feel envious of all the advantages of living in New York. Although LA has Hollywood, and I’ve seen David Schwimmer buying brown rice in Whole Foods, it seems as if all the really cool actors, like Robert DeNiro, live in New York. New York has hip David Letterman. We have blah Jay Leno. New York has Woody Allen. We have Paris and Perez Hilton.

Now, New York is abuzz with all the attention from the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Columbia University forum/publicity stunt. It’s not fair. Where are the civic leaders of Los Angeles? Where is our local tyrant? Get off your asses, UCLA and USC. Forget football. It is time for people to take Los Angeles seriously. We’re not just bad sitcoms and fake tits.

Here’s a suggestion. Invite Kim Jong-il of North Korea to speak here! Let him become our local tyrant.

Do it for UCLA or USC. Do it for Los Angeles!


  1. Dagny

    Get out of my head. Just the other day I was thinking how cool New York is because they have Robert DeNiro, Spike Lee, and Woody Allen. And thank you for reminding me about David Letterman. I’m packing my bags now.

  2. sandra

    Neil, you’re quite the revolutionary!

  3. whit

    Didn’t Bush speak here? He’s up there.

  4. tiff

    Dude, you are not right. And Whit is hilarious.

  5. sassy

    What about some guys from the Myanmar government?

  6. buzzgirl

    When I was at Pepperdine, Ronald Reagan spoke on campus. That was despot enough for me.

  7. Jennifer

    I agree. We haven’t had a good tyrant here in Alabama since the Wallace days. It’s hard to come up with good entertainment, altho I did get invited to protest at a Klan rally a few weeks ago. But even they were imported from Indiana!

  8. pam

    I was sort of hoping for a dictator based Speaker’s Forum series. You know, Kim Jong-Il, Musharref, Mugabe… you could subscribe to the whole series! The swag opportunities are mindblowing.

  9. Leezer

    Here in Seattle we have Bill Gates and Paul Allen, but I guess they’re not despots seeing as they donate billions to world relief. Is Idi Amin still alive? Maybe you could get him to come to L.A.

  10. kapgar

    I thought you were gunning for that role.

  11. V-Grrrl

    Crazy Aunt Purl could be y’alls tyrant.

    “A cat in every household. No TWO! No FOUR!”

    “Shut up and knit, people! Shut up and knit!”

    “Everyone MUST have copy of Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair and be able to quote passages verbatim when asked.”

    “And y’all be polite and drive nice. You’re making me nervous.”

  12. Frida

    No fair, you can’t compare Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Kim Jong-Li…. Kim Jong-Li can sing. You’ve seen Team America, no?

  13. psychomom

    New Mexico already has Kim Jong-il of North Korea (our Governor Bill Richardson’s BFF) but only Bill is allowed to speak to him.

  14. teahouseblossom

    I guess Kim Jong-il can’t help it if it’s so rone-ry on the West Coast.

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