Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bulletin Confirms: Bend Climate Sucks

Bend's local daily newspaper, The Bulletin, is not the place to look for dynamic, hard-hitting journalism. The shadow of controversy rarely darkens its pages. Instead its "news" coverage tends toward the bland and fluffy, with stories along the lines of "Prineville Boy Nurses Ailing Squirrel Back to Health."

One time the paper devoted the bulk of its front page for two consecutive days to an account of a cat that had to be rescued from a tree in LaPine. (Yes, really.)

The Bulletin also is an indefatigable booster of all things Bend, never tiring of reminding everybody about the (supposed) delights of our climate (including our mythical "300 days of sunshine") and our glorious "outdoor lifestyle."

Every once in a while, though, the truth slips through.

A couple of days ago, Julie Johnson, a Bulletin columnist, wrote a piece headlined: "Bend all atwitter over snow." (Yes, really.)

That in itself was no problem; even The Bulletin admits that it sometimes snows in Bend, and even I admit that snow can be pretty, and even kinda fun.

But at the end of the column, Julie recklessly ventured onto thin ice.

"I’m going to take this old-fashioned (non-Facebook) opportunity to explain why so many of us complain about the first snowfall in Bend: It’s because we mourn the other seasons," she wrote.

"In Central Oregon, spring is a no-show, summer is just passing through on its way to somewhere else, and autumn is cut short in its prime. We mourn those seasons we barely got to know.

"But winter, we know. Winter lasts until June. Winter returns before its time. Winter overstays its welcome, and so each year when it comes back, I offer a moment of silence for the softer seasons it usurped."

There it is: Official confirmation from Bend's Newspaper of Record that (a) winter in Bend does, indeed, really suck, and (b) it goes on for seven miserable months.

Julie Johnson sounds like a nice person. I really hope she hasn't just written her way out of a job.


Anonymous said...

Julie is truly a gifted writer that speaks from the heart. So rare in today's "agenda-driven" world.

To be honest, some of her descriptions found me almost fighting back tears. That's just how much some of us miss summer.

Good writers find an audience regardless of their short-sighted employers. I hope I'm not over extending myself in inviting here to do exactly that here? Welcome aboard Julie!

blackdog said...

I find myself fighting back tears every morning I wake up and realize I'm still living in Bend.

Hey, what happened to Lily Raff, who wrote a few columns for The Bulletin and then seems to have disappeared?

Anonymous said...

Many times things seem somehow, less troubling to us, once we've given the problem a name and adequately 'described' the beast?

For the last few years here in OR, it was this nagging issue in the back of your mind and you couldn't quite put your finger on it? When we had the '96 Flood, it would have come off as nothing more than whiney to point out that Labor Day weekend was such a disappointment, especially after having come off 2 decades + of comparatively GREAT summers!

So... now yer' b!tchin' about (1) weekend!? Yet like a frog in petrie dish ( some of us 'did' take note of early warning signs! ) It was bitter cold in K' Falls this weekend and didn't break back into seasonal avg's until mid-day Sunday. Yes, they're noticing something's amiss?

Anonymous said...

20 Minutes A Day, That's All We Ask!

So far so good. I guess the only thing worse than living where weather is so iffy you're confined to a treadmill ( is not actually getting 'on it? )

Kind of like the scene in "Midnight Express" where Billy Hayes winds up in the loony ward wearing a bedsheet, eating tranquilizers and finally resolves to go counter-clockwise around The Pole Of Woe.

Yeah, it's a lot like that.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jesus. They write fluff because people read the shit out of it.

They also do news. Did you miss Keith chi's series on stimulus funding that was picked up nationally and led to government inquiries?

And lily's on sabbatical to write a book. Maybe not everyone at the bulletin is as worthless as you think?