The very term might seem like an oxymoron to some people, but Adam Hirsch deconstructs the myth in this Slate article, where he argues that L.A.’s lit image is the creation of non-indigenous writers:
“Again and again, writers with the briefest experience of Los Angeles use it as a blank screen on which to project their own fantasies, prophecies, and fears. For Nathanael West in The Day of the Locust, it was famously a “dream dump,” a “Sargasso of the imagination” in which civilization is reduced to “plaster, canvas, lath and paint.” For Truman Capote, it was a nightmare city where “a crack in the wall, which might somewhere else have charm, only strikes an ugly note prophesying doom.” And those are some of the milder opinions. (…)
What did Los Angeles do to deserve all this? Writing Los Angeles makes the answer clear: Although it is the second-largest city in America, in the literary imagination it is still a colony. Instead of speaking for itself, the city is spoken about.”
Read L.A. Without a Map.