Oh woe, oh woe -- Outside Magazine is conducting an on-line poll to determine the "best outdoor town ever," and Bend, Oregon ("Recreation Paradise! Healthy Outdoor Lifestyle! 300 Days of Sunshine!") didn't even make the Top Ten list.
Adding to the shame, two Oregon cities did make the Top Ten -- Ashland and Portland. (Portland, seriously? Soggy, dismal, dreary Portland?)
Of course, this news should not be dismaying to anybody who knows how magazines go about compiling these ratings. It works something like this:
1. Ad department comes up with an idea for a Top Ten list -- top ten cities for mountain biking, top ten cities for skiing, top ten cities for backyard goat farming, whatever.
2. Ad salespersons get their marching orders, start calling up prospective advertisers in the cities on the list and making their pitch: "We're coming out with our Top Ten Cities for Catching Chlamydia in September, and (Bend, Portland, Ashland, Sioux Falls, etc.) is in the running! I'm sure you'll want to be part of this fantastic advertising opportunity!"
3. Cities where the advertisers cough up sufficient bucks stay on the list; cities where they don't get bumped in favor of ones where they do.
4. Editorial staff cranks out puff pieces on each of the "winning" cities, making sure to regurgitate all the bullshit Chamber of Commerce talking points.
Which means, essentially, that all of these Top Ten lists are as phony as a $3 bill -- or as Bend's "300 Days of Sunshine."