I tracked down one of my favorite articles on Los Angeles: "Deep Clean" by Edward Zuckerman. I'm not sure why this essay, which appeared in the May 1993 issue of Harper's Magazine, isn't widely anthologized.
Zuckerman, a New York writer transplanted to Los Angeles, contrasts his new home's penchant for producing entertainment schlock with the fastidious professionalism of the city's top car detailers. The juxtapositions are comical. One paragraph describes a new film about a dog in a witness-protection program. The next one shows the detailer rubbing three layers of wax from the Brazilian carnauba palm into the body paint of a car. To do so, he employs a soft fabric used in sanitary napkins, since diaper cloth is too harsh. Then back to a vapid story meeting, and so on.
It's a nice piece of work, but it also captures an important truth about the American combination of high technology and low culture.