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


Rich Ray, Speaking Soley for himself said...

I suspect a lot of Bend transplants have come from larger urban areas. So they (myself included) are smitten with the clean air, the mountains and river, un congested roads, loads of sunshine, cheap real-estate, while at the same time having some of the amenities of the larger urban centers. So yeah I feel fortunate to live here.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Well, yeah, it's nice that they're happy about living here, but do they really have to go on and on and ON about it? Also I often think -- especially since the real estate collapse -- that many of them in their guts believe they made a bad decision in moving here and are desperately trying to justify/rationalize it.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Seen on Facebook this morning:

"Considering the Westside trails (Phil's and Shevlin systems) are still a little too muddy for riding, Bill and I went on the most awesome urban ride yesterday downtown, through the Old Mill and the riverwalk. We live in such an amazing place!"

What is so "awesome" about pedaling a bicycle through a shopping center or along a paved riverfront trail? What is so "amazing" (with an exclamation point, yet) about being able to do this?

Going for a swim and finding yourself surrounded by a school of leaping and cavorting spinner dolphins -- that's awesome. Watching the sun sink into the Pacific as the sky turns gold and purple and rain showers drift across a distant island -- that's amazing.

Of course I happen to know the person who posted the quoted passage above is a realtor, so perhaps there's an ulterior motive to the chauvinism in this case.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"loads of sunshine"

Compared to Portland or Seattle, maybe. (Although the data show that, while Bend is indeed less rainy than Portland, the amount of sunny days they get in a year is about the same.) Compared to really sunny places ... well, that's just laughable.

The lie about Bend's "300 days of sunshine" has been thoroughly debunked, both on this blog and elsewhere.

How Did I Get Here? said...


looks like your blog buddy packed it up. That'll happen when you're a dumbass talking out the side of your neck. Just because you're "educated" doesn't mean you're smart. The blog is now private which = "I talked too much shit about something that I could have avoided if I'd just been smart enough to do my homework".

Move to HI! I'd give you 2 years tops before you found out that the place is what you make of it and it ain't gonna change what you brought in your baggage.

I went far north this weekend to ski. It rained every day...had a blast!

H. Bruce Miller said...

Why is it so difficult for you to accept that I JUST DON'T LIKE BEND ANYMORE? The problem is not my "baggage," whatever that may mean -- it's the shitty endless winters and the fact that this town is FUCKING BORING AS HELL unless, as I've said before, you're really into all the outdoor recreation shit.

Twenty-six years is a long time to live in the same poky little town in the middle of nowhere. I'm simply fed up with this place. Living here has come to feel like serving a prison sentence.

Move to Hawaii? I'd do that in a heartbeat if I could afford it -- and never look back.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"looks like your blog buddy packed it up."

Yes. And if she and her husband/boyfriend have any sense they'll pack up and get the fuck out of Central Oregon ASAP too. Sure hope they haven't made the mistake of buying a house here.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"looks like your blog buddy packed it up. That'll happen when you're a dumbass talking out the side of your neck."

Probably got tired of taking abuse from the dumbass Bend/Central Oregon chauvinists who can't tolerate the slightest hint of criticism of their precious "paradise."

Marshall_Will said...

Down in San Antone... and LOVING it! Looks like 70's and mostly sunny for the rest of the week.

Heading down to Corpi this weekend. I don't suppose they have Spring Break there for nothing? Unlike OR, when it turns crappy here, it isn't for long.

How Did I Get Here? said...

Unlike OR, when it turns crappy here, it isn't for long.

Depends on one's definition of "crappy".

Enjoy your stay in the most polluted and toxic state in the nation!

H. Bruce Miller said...

Marshall: The only thing I've got against San Antonio is it's in Texas. NOTHING would ever persuade me to live there.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Another illustration of Bend chauvinism: Many years ago, when I was still at The Bulletin, I fielded a call from a gentleman who was very irate that the preceding day's paper had described the air quality in Bend as "good." The gentleman insisted that we should have described the air quality as "excellent." In vain did I try to explain that, although Bend's air quality had indeed been excellent, the Air Quality Index published by the US Environmental Protection Agency has no rating higher than "good." He would have none of it, and left convinced that the paper was guilty of not practicing sufficient Bend boosterism.

Marshall_Will said...

Meh... most people's def. of 'crappy' is well, like OREGON! That's why we can't break 1% of the nation's pop?

Meh twice, guys, we really need to drop this whole cheesy and unfounded stereotype of "Red State sh!thole". If by that you intend ( meaningful employment? ) then yes, it's a dump. Linux is hiring as is Dell. Whatever.

Austin is so much more insanely FUN than Portland ( let alone dreary Bend ) it isn't funny. Had a personal invite to the "Dead Sweetheart's Ball" and people there are intelligent, fun-loving, but still classy and respectful. The gals work all YEAR on their costumes and yeah, and it shows!

Ahem, best of luck trying to get 'most' OR gals to wear anything more than they'd show up at Walmart in? No thanks. At the same time, Austin would wear on me like moving to Vegas. It's a 24/7 party and there's always something going on! Weeknights don't play any different than Fri/Sat night.

My friend is something of a local celebrity and we didn't pay for a thing. Call it "a musician's retirement".

H. Bruce Miller said...

Yeah, I've heard Austin is a cool city -- but again, it's in Texas, which is arguably the most redneck, reactionary, right-wing state in the US. I could never live in that political climate; after two weeks my blood pressure would be so high I'd probably pop an aneurysm. Of course if you find that ideology congenial, Texas could be the perfect place for you.

Marshall_Will said...


As mentioned months ago, I was stoked about getting out of OR winter, if only for a reprieve measured in weeks. Had there been shelling overhead I'd be cool with it so long as it was sunny & warm. Seriously.

Still, I'm quizzical as to why anyone would describe TX in such a light, after all there were "Keep Austin Weird" bumper stickers loooong before PDX co-oped the phrase. Stole actually.

The state is being subjected to a "Bluing process" that while districts continue to vote Red ( they do so by slimmer margins each election cycle! ) The trend is your friend.

Further, I've yet to meet anyone that wore their politics on their sleeve. As a liberal person you can fit in and even be welcomed. Something you can't say as a conservative in Portland. So much for tolerance!?

If, as is the case w/ my longtime friend who many OR's would describe as a "hardline 'right-winger " can fit right in with one of the hippest music scenes in the nation, there's hope for us all. How people 'vote' has little to do w/ how they 'socialize' here. But again, OR is too sophisticated to allow for that. Welcome to high school.

Odeliza said...

Okay. It's good that I've found another person so, how do I say? Blunt. Hmm, maybe that's too soft of a description for the author of this blog.

I was thinking of relocating to Bend from the EU. I'm actually typing this message now in The City Of Lights, and I think to myself that maybe some of your readers and you for that matter may think that it's awesome to live in Paris. I on the other hand will say it totally sucks major ass!

So to move from major ass sucking to major cold ass sucking doesn't sound so appealing anymore.

Thanks for your blog! I'm still goi g to visit Bend, but to live...? Suck to suck is so not me :p

H. Bruce Miller said...

Odeliza: I can't begin to imagine why anyone would leave Paris for Bend, Ory-gun, unless it was really important for them to be close to skiing. In addition to the dreary climate it really is a cultural and entertainment wasteland, and young single people tell me it's a truly sucky place to be young and single -- in addition to which, there are no good jobs (in fact, damn few jobs of any kind).