Written by Joan Didion
Where I Was From, 2003
I remember being told, by virtually everyone to whom I spoke in Los Angeles during the few months that followed the 1992 riot, how much the riot had "changed" the city. Most of those who said this had lived in Los Angeles, as I had, during the 1965 Watts riot, but 1992, they assured me, had been "different," 1992 had "changed everything." The words they used seemed overfreighted, ominous in an unspecific way, words like "sad" and "bad." Since these were largely not people who had needed a riot to tell them that a volatile difference of circumstance and understanding existed between the city’s haves and its have-nots, what they said puzzled me, and I pressed for a closer description of how Los Angeles had changed. After the riot, I was » « told, it was impossible to sell a house in Los Angeles. The notion it might have been impossible to sell a house in Los Angeles that year for a simpler reason, the reason being that the money had gone away, was still in 1992 so against the grain of the place as to be largely rejected.
© 2003 Joan Didion; New York: Alfred A. Knopf