The Militant was at Los Angeles International Airport's Bradley Terminal on Thursday night to drop off mama and papa Militant, who were taking a trip to their unspecified Third World country of origin. As you may or may not know, LAX is undergoing a massive remodeling/expansion project, and things have been shifting around.
But seemingly untouched so far were the airport's gift shops, which sell overpriced snacks, curios and souvenirs to travelers, and for many travelers, the last place to buy stuff in the USA before heading to their destination.
Airport gift shops are known for selling souvenirs that represent the local city or region, and the products they sell can tell a lot about that locality, so the Militant wanted to take a look, through the eyes of a visiting tourist. As expected, one can find t-shirts, caps, jackets and mugs for the Lakers, Dodgers, UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans. There are a few t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets bearing the name "Hollywood" of course. But the one that caught the Militant's eye (and curiosity) was a hoodie in a "crush" font that bore the writing: "LOS ANGELES - California - 1888"
Usually when you see a four-digit number associated with a city or corporation, that four-digit number is the year of founding, riiiight?
Now, most of you who read the Militant Angeleno, even if you may not be militant Angelenos yourselves, know real basic Los Angeles history, especially the year that our great city was founded. What year was that, class?
[sound of schoolchildren yelling out] 1781!!!!
That's right, class! Los Angeles was founded in 1781. September 4 to be exact. The Militant observes it every single year.
Okay, we'll get technical. Because in 1781 there was no state of California, and this wasn't even the United States of America yet. So for you smarter kids, what year was Los Angeles incorporated as an American city?
[sound of schoolchildren yelling out] 1850!!!!
Correct again, class! Los Angeles was incorporated as a city under American law on April 4, 1850.
So this leads to the big question...what's the deal with the 1888?
Well, we do know Los Angeles was not founded in 1888. It was already around for over a century, and was flying the stars and stripes on its civic buildings for 38 years. The Militant can't seem to find anything significant in Los Angeles that was established in 1888 (It obviously couldn't mean the founding date of LAX -- airplanes weren't even invented yet..duh!). He does know that the San Fernando Valley community of Chatsworth was founded in 1888, and so was the City of Orange, but none of those are printed on the shirt.
The shirt was made by the Lincoln Heights-based screenprinting and embroidery company Adin of California. Should the Militant let them know what's up (They're not very far from the Lincoln/Cypress Gold Line station)? Or is this part of a larger conspiracy to make Los Angeles appear to have less of a history by knocking off 107 years, and using a sweatshirt to "educate" tourists on our "history?" Get it right, fools!