Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Bend Chauvinism Sucks

No, this is not anywhere near Bend.
The other day, Tom DeWolf, who is a former mayor of Bend and Deschutes County commissioner, had this to say on Facebook in response to a National Geographic puff piece touting Bend as one of the top 25 ski towns in the world (that's right, not just the United States but the world):

"I've lived here for more than 3 decades, and still love the place for a variety of reasons. I'm just not so sure that we need to continue to receive the kind of attention we've received over the years that tends to contribute to false impressions and, perhaps, to the boom/bust cycles that are hard to go through..."

When I read that I wanted to jump up and cheer. In fact I did cheer a little bit, sedately.

Bendites are the worst chauvinists I have ever encountered
. They never tire of gushing about the marvelous beauty of their mountains, the incredible fishiness of their rivers and lakes, the cleanliness of their air and water and (ad nauseam) the healthiness of their "healthy outdoor lifestyle."

Not only is everything about Bend glorious, but the Bend chauvinist will insist it is more glorious than anything found anywhere else on the planet. For example, I can post a photo of a truly breathtaking Hawaiian sunset, such as the one at the top of this post, and three or four Bendites might say it's a nice picture. But let somebody post a photo of a rather routine sunset in Bend or Central Oregon, and they'll ooh and ahh and say things like "WOW!!!" and "AWESOME!!!" and "THAT's why we live here!"

Hey people, there are sunsets everywhere in the world. The sky turns pretty colors when the sun sinks beneath the horizon. It's a familiar phenomenon.

I've often thought I'd like Bend better if I wasn't constantly being told how wonderful it is. My father had a saying he'd lay on me when he thought I was bragging or acting conceited. "Self-praise stinks, son," he'd say. Folks in Bend apparently never heard it.

It's fine to like your hometown and say so, but when you keep loudly singing its praises over and over and over it gets downright sickening to those who have to listen to it. And as Mr. DeWolf hints, not only is Bend chauvinism tiresome to those who have to listen to it, but it can generate a dangerous level self-delusion that more than once has led to economic disaster.

Oops, almost forgot:

January Totals:

Comfortable Days: 0
Tolerable Days: 2
Cold Days: 29

YTD Totals:

Comfortable Days: 98
Tolerable Days: 59
Cold Days: 118

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sheer Fucking GENIUS!

This is the most astute, and funniest, commentary on Bend's physical fitness obsession and physical fitness snobbery that I have ever seen:

Only in Bend, OR
by: resqswim

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yesterday I saw this intriguing map posted on Facebook. It's a little hard to make out the details, but it depicts, county by county, the names Americans in different regions of the country give to soft drinks.

In the Northeast, as you can see, practically everybody uses the term "soda." In most of California and Arizona, people also say "soda." In the South people call all soft drinks "Coke," regardless of what brand they actually are. (This probably reflects the fact that Coca Cola originated in Georgia.)

And all across the Midwest and into Washington and Oregon, with the exception of two or three little pockets, people call soft drinks "pop."

What this suggests to me is that, culturally speaking, California and Arizona are linked to the Northeast, but the Pacific Northwest is an extension of the Midwest.

Which could account for a number of traits I've observed among Bendians and Oregonians in general, such as their fondness for bland food and bland entertainment (Midwesterners and Oregonians both think "A Prairie Home Companion" is just a laff riot) and their tendency to prize friendliness and "niceness" above all other qualities, especially intelligence and competence.

It also could account for Bendoids' ability to live in denial of the profound suckiness of their climate. For example, in this clip from the Coen brothers' wonderful movie "Fargo," Sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) has captured the murderer Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) and is driving him back to face justice. She gives him a lecture on The Important Things in Life, concluding with the remark: "And it's a beautiful day."

Well, no, it is NOT a beautiful day. It is a horrible, hideous, terrible day. It's overcast, foggy, and the temperature looks to be about 35 below zero. As sucktackular weather goes, this day is off the charts.

But yet Marge Gunderson insists it's a beautiful day.

How Midwestern. How Oregonian. How Bend.