Moby — the universally disliked, tofu-munching, teetotaling pioneer of ambient mope-core electronica — recently launched his own blog devoted to Los Angeles residential architecture, called “Moby Los Angeles Architecture Blog.” So far, Moby has completed eight posts, each with a photograph accompanied by arbitrarily formatted lowercase free verse in which Moby name-drops Marcel Breuer and makes a lot of heartfelt, though mundane, points about the merits of Los Angeles’s sprawling cityscape and its hidden architectural gems. See below:
l.a is so odd. everything’s hidden here
and which is probably why a lot of people dislike l.a, as all of the good stuff is away from the center and kind of (or very) hidden.
it’s the anti-city city.
That said, Moby has done diligence demonstrating the stylistic diversity and crazy randomness of LA architecture, jumping from a post on a dilapidated Silver Lake bungalow to a Sunset Blvd.-style Spanish hacienda to a fairytale-turreted cottage. His high-contrast, mostly black-and-white photographs are good, conveying both a sense of monumentality and eeriness.
Perhaps to deflect against a second (or third) wave of Mobyphobia, the blog takes on a tone of inoculating self-deprecation. He signs his posts as “Moby the dilettante architectural photographer” and peppers his rhetoric with rambling apologies like this:
Ok, now maybe this is my relatively pointless architecture blog, #5?
oh, to clarify: i’m not saying the architecture is relatively pointless, i’m merely suggesting that my blog is relatively pointless.
the architecture is anything but pointless, it’s great, even when it’s banal and mundane.
it’s my blogging that is relatively pointless. or so i believe.
i guess i should work on my syntax.
today, 2 houses.
i know nothing about either house, apart from the fact that one is older and the other is brand new (remember: i dropped out of suny purchase).
When Moby cheers up, his prose becomes expansive, Whitmanesque, taking the shape of sweeping exaltations.
2 pictures of a perfect little bucolic vine covered country house in the middle of the teeming megalopolis, as l.a… is the land of arbitrary architecture. see, l.a is a desert. a mountainous desert, inhabited by coyotes and rattlesnakes and bounded by vast ocean and huge mountains.
At its worst, Moby’s writing completely dissolves into crypto-philosophical tautologies, taking an innocent idea and drowning it in a morass of incoherent bullshit. See this rhetorical labyrinth:
In philosophy there’s a thing called the ‘is/ought fallacy’. it posits that it’s deeply fallacious to state that ‘because something is it thus ought to be’. or, ‘because something has been it thus ought to be’. which is easy to dismiss as a rationale for slavery or child labor (almost no one in the 21st century would say ‘because our ancestors had slaves it therefore is ok if we have slaves’). but people still fall into the ‘is/ought’ fallacy when it comes to architecture and aesthetics. to say, ‘because our ancestors built houses a certain way we therefore should build houses a certain way’. it’s fallacious reasoning. it’s perfectly ok to say, ‘we like the way out ancestors built houses, so we’ll build some old timey houses that look like the houses our ancestors built’. But it’s absurd and fallacious to make a prima facie case for old architectural forms having a worth or merit simply because they’re old and have been around for a while (sorry, prince charles). and which, at least for me, makes it a-ok to celebrate the absurd and arbitrary nature of l.a architecture (i mean, i could go on and try to further prove my point and sound even more like a grad student but i’ll just skip to some pictures. if you want to talk more about the arbitrary and subjective as regards architectural aesthetics just corner me in a parking lot somewhere).
His hands down best sentence, written about a typical modernist house in the Hollywood Hills, is this one:
I also love the brutalist use of concrete, and the way the slabs cantilever off of each other.
Moby…if you’re out there, I like your blog. I just have a few notes.
1) You don’t really sound like a grad-student.
2) Los Angeles real estate isn’t “cheap,” unless you’re Moby.
3) Studio City isn’t in North Hollywood. They are bordering communities in the San Fernando Valley. Also, you talk about the outskirts of Los Angeles, but you seem to be doing all your photography in Los Feliz, Silver Lake, etc. Why not broaden your horizons and shoot some tract mansions in the deep Valley or “Persian Palaces” in Glendale?
4) Keep it up. Don’t stop writing.
— Chloe Wyma