And the Rivalry Continues




Today's news that the LA Times Festival of Books is moving from the UCLA to the USC campus did not make my gloomy Wednesday any brighter. As a proud Bruin, I look to the Festival as an excuse to make a weekend trek back to the alma mater to immerse myself in what I love most. Unfortunately, event programmers have decided to make the change based on ridiculous claims such as "more bathrooms," "additional space," "diversity opportunities," and "freeway access." Had they had put, "this private institution has agreed to pony of the cash," I would have at least retained some respect for them.

As I perused the Facebook discussions regarding the change I saw a lot of USC bashing, some being true (parking will be horrible, as will the traffic), while some not (the Bloods and Crypts are not going to choose a literary festival as the site of their next turf war, people). What depresses me most is this death of a tradition; in my mind the Festival has always been a partnership between the University and the LA Times (I usually refer to it as "The UCLA Festival of Books"). Having the event at a public institution adds to the idea of literacy, and higher education, being attainable to everyone. Several UCLA professors make invaluable contributions to the panels and interview sessions, while some authors, such as Carolyn See and her daughter Lisa, are closely affiliated with the University.

I'm really on the fence about attending next year, and know I will definitely not be volunteering, as I had planned to. I love books and the opportunity to attend great discussions and readings, but I am very disappointed in this obvious decision that was based purely on money and the need to be viewed as "multicultural."

2 comments:

  1. Hey there,

    I'm genuinely curious as to why this has happened? The switch from UCLA to USC, I mean... I have attended the festival for the past 3 years and love the UCLA campus, but this is an abrupt change to me. I'm not so sure as to why, you mentioned money, in what sense?

    Sorry for the weird questions, just curious.

    Thx
    TLW

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  2. I've heard rumors in the past about it being more and more difficult to finance, between the recession hitting the publishing industry and with UCLA taking a hit in state funding, so I'm assuming USC is helping out financially. Other people have also said this, but of course it's all rumors. Nonetheless, I'm very disappointed and hope that it one day returns!

    Thanks for your comments (and for reading)!

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