Thomas Kohnstamm Reminds Our Readers of Mike Davis


We got this in our anonymous tip jar:

Gee – no comments section today. What a … shock! But… the Lonely Planet scandal brings up the scandal that no one ever wrote about. My favorite writer – Mike Davis – in an interview for his book about global slums – admitted he had enver (sic) visited the cities he had written about!

Mike Davis, embattled native-son socio-economic commentator and author. When he wasn’t getting caught fabricating interviews he was admitting to it. From BLDBLOG:

BLDGBLOG: First, could you tell me a bit about the actual writing process of Planet of Slums? Was there any travel involved?

Davis: This was almost entirely an armchair journey. What I tried to do was read as much of the current literature on urban poverty, in English, as I could. Having four children, two of them toddlers, I only wish I could visit some of these places. On the other hand, I write from our porch, with a clear view of Tijuana, a city I know fairly well, and that’s influenced a lot of my thinking about these issues – although I tried scrupulously to avoid putting any personal journalism into the narrative.

Then we found a story on from 1998 that made us smile. Jill Stewart, who’s now an editor at LA Weekly was quoted:

In an essay titled “Peddling Fear,” Stewart presented Westwater’s allegations as fact. She matched Davis’ pugilistic style jab for jab, calling him a “city-hating socialist raised in a remote desert town so small it no longer exists.”

So yes, it’s kind of similar. There’s the local angle that Davis made up stuff about Los Angeles. Check. But what we want to know is who has Mike Davis as their favorite author? We speculate that Anonymous is Mr. Davis himself. Or Mrs. Davis…mother not wife.

UPDATE: Another one of our readers (or maybe the same as the first) wrote us this:

And Mike Davis was born in Fontana and riased (sic)in San Diego Country. He is not a native of Los Angeles County – much less City.

Okay, SoCal native son then. Ahem.