I love people making fun of Portland


If there is one thing I love, it's Portland. If there's another thing I love... it's people making fun of Portland.

I say this because in order to make fun of something well, most of the time you have to love it enough to understand how you can make fun of it. And, most of the time the joking is true, based on fact, and well deserved.

New York City, the center of the world

I find that New Yorkers especially, have a love hate relationship with Portland. Take for example, on any given day you can find an article on Portland in the NY Times. My brother, who lives in Manhattan is frustrated by this "Portlandness" and how all anyone ever seems to be talking about is Portland. I rack his frustration up to all his life, he only wanted to live in New York. And, he shared this dream with many people.... it was THE DREAM. To move from small town USA and go to the Big City, the Big Apple, the Center of the Universe and make it work. So many people have shared that dream, so many people have lived that dream, so many people have been disappointed by that dream. But, New Yorkers ... love New York City; even if they hate it, they love to hate it. They have such pride in their city. Everyone in the world wants to come to New York. New York is the shit. So, to seemingly wake up one day and have everyone in New York talking about this tiny little city on the outskirts of the country is laughable. "Where are their tall buildings?" New Yorkers ask. "Where is the culture, the diversity, the subway, the commerce, the industry, the Yankees? It is no where to be found in Portland. Pfft!" So, they brush it off. But still, the talk continues and next thing they know their friends are talking about Portland. Oh, how much everyone loves Portland and wants to visit or even worse.... move there. And, this confuses and frustrates the New Yorker. Suddenly, it seems as if their has been a cultural shift and the world is changing? Since when did people pick tiny rainy Portland over New York? Everyone wants to come to New York? Right guys? I'm right with this? Aren't I?

The thing about Portland is that we have pride in our city in the same way that New Yorkers have pride in their city. However, unlike most of America, we don't want the "bigness of it all" and we don't really want to be in NYC. New Yorkers have a hard time understanding why anyone living in a metropolitan area would not strive to want to be like New York. New Yorkers do not understand where this love comes from. So, they visit. And then - they see. They may not fully understand since we don't have a huge baseball team like the Yankees or buildings over 33 floors high, but...they see we have our own culture and out own things we get excited about in that same fashion. And - then they get jealous and then, they make fun (cause that's what New Yorkers do). And, that's okay with me.

Portland, not the center of the world but that's okay with us.

Take for example Portland and our love for all things bike related. A lot of people love to make fun of this obsession, and one of those people is the guy who runs the infamous blog, Bike Snob NYC. The Bike Snob, who's true identity is unknown, writes an almost daily review of personal rants of the cycling world. Most of these jabs attack hipsters, Portland, wanna be hipsters, celebrities, naive commuters, Portland, Lance Armstrong, fixed gear riders (see hipsters), and Portlanders. Some folks get their panties in a wad and wonder where his hate comes from or what short fixie handlebar is shoved up his ass.... but mostly I just laugh. For the most part, he's right about a lot of things when it comes to Portlanders and our bikes.

Take for example, he made fun of us this summer when the Flaming Lips came to town to shoot a video featuring naked cyclists (watch that video here) which was also about the same time that Michael Jackson died, the Bike Snob said that only in Portland: "people sit poised and ready to mobilize the second anybody needs anything ridiculous and cycling-related to be done. As I understand it, it works like this: Let's say, for example, an aging rock band needs to draw attention to itself inexpensively due to both the moribund state of the record industry and its own increasing hoariness. Well, this is easy to do if the band knows four things: 1) Hipsters pay attention to anything having to do with bikes; 2) Nudity always gets attention; 3) People in Portland love to ride bikes; 4) People everywhere will do anything to get attention. So what the rock band then does is notify the cycling authorities in Portland, who in turn sound a giant air raid siren that can be heard for miles on both sides of the Willamette River. Then, everyone reports to a designated area with their bicycles for debriefing. Orders can range from "Ride your bikes around dressed as Michael Jackson," to "Let's help someone move to a new apartment," to "Let's get naked to help The Flaming Lips sell music." (In this case, they were quite literally "de-briefed.") Whatever the cause, these ever-agreeable Portlanders are happy to oblige." Which, is actually very close to the truth as to what goes on here.

Also very close to the truth for Portland as well... is how he so vividly explains our love (as we are mostly hipsters and cyclocross racers here) for beer. "Like any moody and insecure person, I enjoy consuming alcoholic beverages to assuage my angst, facilitate my social interaction, and enter into a pleasant state of intoxication. Even so, I'm not sure why cyclists--in particular "hipsters" and cyclocross racers--get so wildly excited about beer. "Team Beer;" beer hand-ups; beer hand-downs; PBR; references to PBR; waxing poetic about "craft ales;" incessant Belgian beer references; and so on. The way people act you'd think beer was something that was around only a few days a year, like cherry blossoms, as opposed to something you can buy and consume whenever you feel like it. (Sure, I suppose some fixed-gear riders are underage, but most of the people getting carried away about beer are like 35.) Again, I like beer, but I like toilet paper too--in fact, you often buy it in the same place you buy beer, and like beer you feel good after you use it--but you don't see people whooping about it and handing rolls of Marcal (the PBR of toilet paper) to people on run-ups."

It doesn't take someone more than to go to one cross race here to see that this is indeed the truth, we do love beer and we like making things that make beer easier to consume. But Bike Snob.... you are not the only one with a shared love and affection for toilet paper, I too share that view which is why most of my family are getting the Charmin Double Ply Biggie Roll 12-Pack this holiday season. I mean, it's the gift that really does keep giving.

And, cross. My goodness, we Portlanders seem to be obsessed as much with our cross races as we are with our beer - true true true. Why, if halloween dress up cross crusades weren't enough, if single speed cyclocross world championships and the thunderdome weren't enough.... this week you can even enter the dog cycle cross races. See, that's another thing we're obsessed about, our dogs. True story, before the upcoming cross races out at Kruger's Farm this Sunday will feature a race prior to the other races where owners will race with their dogs on the course. There is even a special category for "carry-on and lap dogs as well as clydesdale".

And, not surprising, Bike Snob had this to say:

"Proving once again that they are far more advanced than the rest of the country when it comes to anything involving cycling, they are now augmenting their cyclocross with actual dog racing. This is great news for Portlanders and their dirty, hairy, smelly sidekicks (as well as for their dogs), though it's awful news for the rest of us. Portland cyclocross racers are already smug enough about how much muddier their races are than everyone else's; now on top of that they're going to start feeling superior to people who aren't forced to race through post-dog race waste. Soon struggling though knee-deep mud won't be enough to qualify a 'cross race as "epic;" you'll also need to face-plant into the feces of a Great Dane... This should mean every cyclocross-related forum on the Internet is going to be hijacked by "epic" threads about the proper technique for "portaging" a Yorkie.The only real winner here is the pet industry, since dog ownership in Portland will surely double when everyone rushes to acquire a spare "pit dog." (Pit bulls, incidentally, make excellent pit dogs.)"

Nothing says cross better than boots, beer, and dogs. This is an ironclad pup.

True, true.... all true. We are smug about most of these things and I think that as long as we stay on our bikes and help push that forward thinking momentum to create, innovate, and envoke change... that we can still stay on top of our game. I mean... look at this breakdown on urban cycling from GOOD Magazine:

And, not to make this post go on longer than it has already.... but, while we're on the much beloved subject of "hipsters", I love the Bike Snob's description of them: "the essence of the "hipster" lifestyle is doing everything that real rock stars do except for actually being creative and having talent. Sleeping in, dressing up, getting sleeve tattoos, drinking heavily, doing drugs, making videos, and keeping your followers abreast of the minutiae of your day are all a lot easier when you don't actually have to produce anything. This is not to say it's completely effortless, though. Maintaining your image can be a full-time job, as can staying abreast of the trends".

Which brings about this video which has been making the rounds on the internets this week:

Anyways world... when it comes to making fun of Portland... bring it on.


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