Michael Madsen had complained to the BBC’s Chris Vallance about how “there seems to be this driving force to tear down everything that’s a little old.” He was referring to a plan by the Union 76 company to destroy the Union 76 ball signs at the gas stations, which are being re-designed as flattened wafer-like signs. “These are things that were landmarks, it’s a symbol that I remember from childhood,” Madsen said. “What’s the point of smashing them and putting up flat signs?” Vallance explains that “in Madsen’s view Los Angeles’ increasingly bland environment is representative of a process of thoughtless modernization that is taking over the movies [also], and that ‘everything is just getting completely homogenized’.” This is an accurate reading of what’s been happening in Los Angeles for a long time — destroy the old drive-in theatres, destroy any remnants of commercial kitsch from the ’40s and ’50s…anything stylistically distinctive that doesn’t reflect the here-and-now. Mainstream movies have also been losing character and distinctiveness for the last 25 years or so. This is not a disputed view — anyone with a heart and soul and a brain knows this — and yet a certain columnist linked to the Madsen/Vallance/BCC article with the words “Michael Madson (sic) Wants To Save 76 Balls.”