Steve Lopez: Humorous Columnist of the L.A. Times
Steve Lopez and his exemplary column writing, which is recognized by a Pulitzer prize, makes readers of all ages ask how and why as they devour his richly written columns. In his columns for the Los Angeles Times, Lopez skillfully employs use of metaphors and juxtaposition among other devices to provoke his readers’ thoughts and exaggerate his often humorous or light hearted interpretations of the city that he lives in and the people who maintain it. With these techniques he hooks his readers on his writing style and keeps them coming back for more interesting comparisons and metaphors that describe the world around them. In the article “Urban Renaissance Meets the Middle Ages” Lopez wills numerous rhetorical devices to do his bidding as he writes to create for his readers a world of hugely disproportionate lifestyles. Set in Los Angeles, these two lifestyles that are less than a stone’s throw away from one another makes for an interesting subject matter. “They’re yours for the taking: Luxury lofts in downtown Los Angeles, with rooftop pools, swanky cabanas, and views of Porta Potti brothels on skid row.” In this, the first sentence of this passage cleverly sets up the tone, and point of this article. From the idea of ‘luxury’ and ‘swanky cabanas’ to the juxtaposed and vivid description of skid row, the reader is likely shocked at these two very different worlds being so close together; especially when these contrasting ideas are rattled off in such casual fashion as Steve Lopez does here. The dry and humorous description of skid row allows anyone to read this article without knowing what skid row is. Evidently it is the very run down and dark face to the residency of humans. Although the idea of a Porta Potti brothel may be humorous at first glance, the funny description encourages a reader to look further into the description and to realize that perhaps this is in fact not too far from the truth. Especially since the first two ideas of Lopez’s opening sentence were very truthful and believable, the reader quickly realizes that the most disturbing things that seem to suggest against human achievement can be found on Los Angeles’ skid row. Using a little bit of passive sarcasm, here Lopez makes the reader realize the interesting situation that either side of this situation finds themselves in, with neighbors that they will never be able to relate too. “They’re paying up to $6,000 a month, which buys them neighbors who sleep on the pavement with rags.” After reading this, the reader may be reminded of a common saying that seems to follow the basic ideas of this sentence constructed by Lopez. The saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” This is often true when people try buying cheaper products that may seem the same as their more expensive twins, but often tend to not do their job as well such as with cheap brands of toilet paper or cheaper groceries. But this is clearly not the exact purpose in what Lopez achieves here, in fact he uses this saying that is likely already etched into his readers’ minds to catch them by illustrating that despite the high living cost, the “have” tenants are exposed to “have not” neighbors. Part where guy talks about being exposed to skid row stuff. In fact, the neighbors down below don’t have any pools, or services, or even a real bed to sleep in at night. This makes readers see the strangeness that follows when an expensive apartment building is built next to such a place as skid row. In another part of this article, Lopez goes on to discuss the lives of those who reside on skid row. He interviews some of its inhabitants to better understand what it is and portray his findings to his reader. “Ten years,” she says.
Ten years in this one spot?
“I started out at the other end of the street,” she says. Quotes around only Evelyn’s dialogue displace Steve from the story so that the reader can keep a focus on...