Journey beyond the Stars” which is written by Deepak Narang Sawhney, describes Los Angeles with a paradox. On the one hand, it appears as a world city, the capital of the First World, on the other hand as the metropolis of the Third World. All the chapters clearly describe the real conditions of Los Angeles and its surroundings.Los Angeles, considers to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Being major global metropolise, one can visibly see the extremes of wealth and socioeconomic inequality.
We could say that it is a land, where homeless camps and multi-dozen million dollar homes sit side by side. There are many communities of great wealth, such as Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood and Malibu. While, there are areas populated by immigrants who struggle to get by. Deepak Narang Sawhney gives the reader a visual understanding of how it looks like across the city, when extreme wealth and poverty mix with each other.
Many Americans and foreigners see Los Angeles in different ways, depending on influences of mass media, travel experiences, doing business, temporary living or virtually imagining Los Angeles from Hollywood movies. Foreigners, for instance, who are brainwashed with Hollywood movies, imagine Los Angeles as a great place to achieve the American Dream, on the contrary, conservative Americans see Los Angeles nothing more than a sanctuary city full of poverty and crime. The author shows, that Los Angeles is both the home of wealthy people and many immigrants, who try to find their part of the American Dream. According to Deepak Narang The American dream is realized, experienced, and lost in the city of Los Angeles (2). It means that the American dream is not achievable for everyone.The American Dream may seem nearly impossible for some citizens but it just depends on the person’s own definition of The American Dream. There are so many people who strive for that American Dream including immigrants who travel to find that dream but as they arrive they face to many documents and discrimination just to be named a U.S. citizen. In some respects, Los Angeles is the most global city in the world. It always keeps up with the changing faces of globalization around the world. Marketing and advertising plays a great role in the life of Los Angeles. The city is not as rich as portrayed in the entertainment media. It is just good at selling itself to the world via promotion, marketing, and e-commerce. (4) Los Angeles has been putting up neighborhood signs since 1963, but officially it has no neighborhoods at all. In his essay “Naming Los Angeles,” Rosten Woo asks the reader to imagine they have a set of crime statistics for all of Los Angeles”how would they summarize the findings? If your data was for Chicago, your task would be simple. The city publishes a definitive map of all the neighborhoods, so you could tally the number of crimes that happened within the boundaries of a given neighborhood and list the number. No one has to debate whether or not something happened in Irving Park or Avondale, it’s there on the map. But your data is for Los Angeles. So you’re left with a mishmash of geographies that you might be able to organize the information into: zip codes, police precincts, community planning areas, census tracts”none of these mean much to most people. You might know your own zip code, but you probably don’t have any idea of how big it is or where the next one begins. If your data was for New York, you could say something definitive about a borough. But even the broadest regions of Los Angeles have trouble finding a firm definition. The Eastside? The Westside? Forget it. (8-9)Woo explicates not only the process of naming Los Angeles but also writes the recent rise in the names of new districts across the city. He recounts true-life stories about neighborhood namings and renamings, and how important those names are to the residents of those places. For example, when the city creates an official process for neighborhood name changes the residents start to collect thousands of signatures and in order to be considered for a change they need to collect about 5000. (3) He also notes how areas like San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles have an ever-changing number of specific neighborhoods depending on who you ask. The author explains how these differences are because of real estate agents, business improvement districts, neighborhood councils, and other civic forces that shape the borders within the city. He used examples like how the recent official designation of the area “Little Bangladesh,” was controversial to some people because it was within the overlapping geography of Korea town. He writes about northeast LA’s Hermon, which lost its namesake in 1978, when City Council member Arthur Snyder managed to have Hermon Avenue renamed Via Marisol, after his daughter. (6) Woo also discusses how South Los Angeles is no longer called South Central and the reasons behind it. His essay goes a long way to describe how these specific neighborhood names are an important part of place-making and each citizen’s identity.(6) Some residents like to be associated with specific neighborhoods for status purposes, whether it is a hipster from Silver Lake or a poet from Leimert Park. The example Woo uses is a resident that tells people they are from Sherman Oaks, but they are actually from Van Nuys. (4) There are people, who grew up east of Western in Korea town but would always tell others that they are from Hancock Park. In conclusion ‘Journey beyond the Stars” by Deepak Narang Sawhney reveals the third world geographies, cultures, and populations of Los Angeles. It examines the social, cultural, political, and literary climate of the city by bringing together diverse responses. It shows the paradoxes and ironies of the global city. The paradox of increasing homelessness and rising prosperity has finally got Los Angeles talking about inequality. It means the middle class disappears as the wealth gap grows. In a word Los Angeles is portrayed as ‘an epic tale of disharmony, territorial conquest, and the attempted extermination of original people “. In fact, the phrase L.A. is a city of immigrants typically excludes white people from its imagination of place, casting them as neutral and natural occupants of the land. It is also a city of the indigenous and a city of settler colonialists; a city of the formerly enslaved; a city of refugees; of migrants, and all kinds of Americans. The city always keeps itself up to date with the changes that occur around the world. Foreigners believe that Los Angeles is the right place to achieve their American Dream. In his essay “Naming Los Angeles,” Rosten Woo makes clear that maps have also literally defined the city for its residents. Woo reviews some of the byzantine politics of place-naming, where the line separating Van Nuys from Sherman Oaks may be arbitrary but still influences real estate prices and community identities. A lot of residents in Los Angeles want to be associated with specific neighborhoods for status purposes.