The billboard was meant to greet the Rams as they settled into their new home. "Los Angeles > St. Louis," it proclaimed. "Welcome to L.A., guys."
Let's set aside the fact that the billboard is in Hollywood, which is a world away (and, depending on the traffic, more than an hour's drive) from Inglewood. We've got a more fundamental problem with this attempt at provocation.
Los Angeles is not > than St. Louis. Nor is St. Louis > Los Angeles.
Instead, we'd posit, Los Angeles = St. Louis.
It's not just that the two are both complicated, sprawling metropolises with far too many fiefdoms for their greater good. Or that both are among very few cities in the U.S. that can boast they've hosted the Olympic games.
It's not even that the two share an appalling habit of mangling the native tongues of their first wave of European settlers — though if you think "Gravois" is bad, get a load of how most Angelenos pronounce "Los Feliz."
No, we'd argue that each of these two cities really is as flawed and fantastic as the other — a matched pair with far more in common than their superficial differences might indicate.
Both have lost their football teams twice.
Both suffer hot summers — and all too short autumns.
Both are regularly (and falsely) accused of being crime-ridden hellholes.
Both broke out in riots after an incident of police brutality brought long-standing racial tensions to a head.
Both were colonized by Catholics in the 1770s.
Both are one-party cities dominated by Democrats.
Residents of both are inordinately proud of their local delicacies.
Both St. Louis and Los Angeles are destined to be destroyed in a major earthquake that everyone saw coming — but no one ever bothered to prepare for.
And (this next bit is conjecture, albeit based on a close study of history), in the fall of 2016, very few people in either city will give a shit about the Rams.
Welcome to L.A., guys.