Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rubbernecking in South L.A.

Okay, I'm no genius, but I did foresee a money making opportunity that I'm sorry now I didn't rush into production while there was still time. Unfortunately, no proof exists that I actually thought this thing up except for the 'reject file' of my blog, an entry titled, " Moms and Pops of Invention" about hard times and entrepreneurial jobs.

Here's what I proposed:
"Crime scene tourist guide. The industrious people of Mumbai have set up shop, guiding tourists around Colaba, site of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel terrorist attacks that occurred last year. Be the first on your block to open your own home travel agency, taking tourists around Highland Park and areas beyond to show them scenes of gang crimes."

And then came yesterday's front page headline in the Los Angeles Times:  "The 'hood as a tourist attraction." Whoa!

The article informs us that a group of civic activists will be offering bus tours to some of the grittier parts of the city including, "decayed public housing, sites of deadly shootouts and streets ravaged by racial unrest."

I can't believe they stole my idea!
They're calling it "L.A. Gang Tours." The operation has a social justice, or I should say, injustice component to it, no doubt, as the organizers want to show how the economic engine has detoured around the poor and black/brown people of this city, to which no one can argue.

But I can't help but snicker when I read that Terry Jensen, one of the backers, thinks this is the next big destination tour that will draw people to L.A. Jensen is owner of the Seattle based Duninger Corp., an engineering and real estate investment firm, and inventor of "Jakpak" the jacket that turns into a tent, useful if you're homeless ....or going camping.

There's something a little cynical about making money while touring sites like the South Central bus stop where, "five children and three adults were shot in gang crossfire last year." I was just kidding when i was thinking up new jobs. The word that comes to mind for this, which ironically I taught to my class last week, is rubbernecking.


  1. Charlotte, thanks for your sweet comment. I really like your blog, though I cannot stand the "rat." If you are teaching writing locally please let me know. I gotta learn to write more better.

  2. you should always trust your intuition when it comes to still have a chance to set up the competition agency, offer your tours in several languages, you can begin hiring the students in your class...they all speak different languages dont they? and then during the tour they can compare and contrast to what happens in their countries (this is not funny).

  3. I'll do it Claudia if you join me in LA as my multilingual business partner.

  4. Where'd you find that wicked Mickey Mouse? Some teeth he has.

    Glanced at the LA Times article through yr link - the good intentions sound pretty dubious to me - kinda like going on safari to get a close-up look at the wild things - I mean, really, you can't even satirize some of these ideas; they are their own satire.

  5. What a pleasure, a satisfying experience to sail thru' this fab blog. Humour, wit, info., tears, color, word-smithing, glimpses into such a unique mind!

    Thank you Charlotte!!