‘It’s Called Living in a Big City’

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My uncle was a surgeon in New York City during the bad old pre-Giuliani 1990s days. He would tell me a story of one of his interns who — back in the days when car stereos were a popular item to steal — had his window smashed and his CD player lifted three or four times.

He finally gave up and put a sign in his window: “No stereo.” He came out after an overnight shift to find the window smashed anyway. “Get a stereo,” the note inside read.

Apocryphal? Perhaps, although I know my uncle was looking to move back to Los Angeles at the time, having had enough of New York City life. He eventually made it back there, although not to Los Angeles proper.

That’s probably a good thing because, to hear actor Seth Rogen tell it, getting your car broken into is just part of the fun of living in Los Angeles. Sometimes they’ll even leave a knife behind, he said! That’s even better than a “get a stereo” note!

In a Thanksgiving Eve Twitter thread that proved Hollywood celebs inhabit a different solar system than we do, Rogen threw shade on a YouTuber angry his car had gotten broken into, saying, “It’s called living in a big city.”

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The whole thing started when vlogger and influencer Casey Neistat — who, in all fairness, isn’t the William F. Buckley of Twitter — described getting his car broken into: “so our cars got robbed this morning because Los Angeles is a crime riddled 3rd world s***hole of a city but tremendous appreciation and gratitude to the hardworking officers at the @LAPDWestLA who not only arrested the motherf****r but they got all of our stolen goods back.”

Thanks for the update, I guess.

Rogen — star of “Knocked Up,” “The Interview” and pretty much any movie where they need a stoner type who’ll method-act — felt compelled to defend his fair city: “Dude I’ve lived here for over 20 years. You’re nuts haha. It’s lovely here. Don’t leave anything valuable in it. It’s called living in a big city,” Rogen tweeted.

“i can still be mad tho right? feel so violated,” Neistat responded.

“You can be mad but I guess I don’t personally view my car as an extension of myself and I’ve never really felt violated any of the 15 or so times my car was broken in to,” Rogen tweeted.

“Once a guy accidentally left a cool knife in my car so if it keeps happening you might get a little treat.”

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“i didn’t get any treats. he just took the decorations for my daughters 7th birthday party and left bloody hand prints. serious question; how did you get your car broken into 15 times?” Neistat said, to which Rogen responded that he’d “lived in West Hollywood for 20 years and parked on the street.”

By this point, however, people weren’t quite as interested in the sub-Socratic dialogue between Neistat and Rogen and more curious about why a mega-millionaire was telling another person (who probably isn’t lacking for money himself, but that’s not the point) to laugh off theft as if it’s a hee-larious part of living in La-La Land.

“When people talk about celebrities being disconnected from the reality of normal people, this is what they are talking about,” user @DBCWriter wrote.

“Defending the quality of life in your city by referencing the 15 times your car was broken into and the possibility that you may get a free weapon left by a criminal, is not the defense you think it is,” tweeted writer and educator Joel Petlin. “Nobody should accept lawlessness. Not celebrities like @Sethrogen or anyone.”

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, meanwhile, chimed in a definition that Rogen should become acquainted with:

Attorney Matt Bilinsky called him “an insufferable twit with not the slightest sense of reality nor instinct of good faith.”

“Only a person of low character such as yourself would smugly dismiss people’s (very valid) concerns about the current state of crime & public safety in Los Angeles,” Bilinsky said.

Rogen doesn’t seem to care how self-defeating this all sounds: “A lot of people come at me and talk s*** on Twitter hoping I’ll engage with them publicly and give them attention, but instead I DM them and tell them to go f*** themselves privately. It’s a lot more fun,” he tweeted in the aftermath of the kerfuffle. (He purportedly did this with Bilinsky; the attorney posted screenshots of DMs from Rogen saying “no clue who you are but I came across this and I kindly invite you to go f*** yourself. Haha now I’m reading your IG posts and I see who you are.”)

Is Hollywood out of touch?

There’s a wider lesson here besides an object lesson in the dangers of marijuana use. Since he first appeared on the TV show “Freaks and Geeks” in 1999 at the age of 16, Rogen has been a well-paid cog in the Hollywood machine, no matter how many times he’s left his car out on the street to be robbed in West Hollywood. Most of us wouldn’t be happy to get a knife out of the deal.

Rogen is among the lucky few who get to insulate themselves against the realities of the city going on around them, either because they have the money to afford setbacks or the money to afford ample security. Unlike in Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities,” these Sherman McCoys aren’t going to make a wrong turn and suddenly be hit with the grim realities that can befall those who don’t have the money to wall themselves off against the world.

For those not making millions in the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is an expensive city in an expensive state. When one of L.A.’s richer residents tells us we should expect property crime as part of the charm of “living in a big city,” it’s little wonder why California residents are leaving the state at a massive clip. For those who haven’t abandoned the Golden State yet, perhaps they should consider Seth Rogen’s tweet their own personal “get a stereo” note.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).

Birthplace

Morristown, New Jersey

Education

Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture





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