Saturday, April 4, 2009

What The Oregonian Thinks of As Frills ...

I admit, sometimes beating up on The Oregonian is a bit too easy to do. It is sometimes real hard to see through the veil to the disdain it's had for the working people of its constituency though the endless Macy's ads or the celebration of boutique-y food tastes in the FOOD(you can't afford)Day section.

The mango chutney is a nice touch, though.

Now, we must be aware that there is a upper-middle crust in town that think of themselves as The Real And Struggling Portlanders. There is a certain sort of mental illness that falls on these types. They, for some odd reason, believe that everyone sees the world as they do, and that everyone else they don't know is on their level.

Therefore, if they aren't hurting, nobody else is. The general cultural level of a place doesn't go down until it goes down for them.

They're terrified of that.

Every now and then, someone with The Oregonian attempts, awkwardly to show how aware they are of how hard it's getting for the commonfolk, and of course, it comes off wide of the mark and ... well, awkward. No better example can be found than the article written for the front page of The Oregonian's "How We Live" section (I throw up in my mouth a little every time I see that section name) titled "The Frill Is Gone" (A play on The Thrill Is Gone by BB King? How witty!), which is supposed to be "a light look on how life in the Northwest is shaking out in lean times".

Oh, goody. Let's see how light. Here's a selection:

Out with the old ... Grande chai latte with extra whip.
In with the new ... Thermos of Folger's.

Oh, good Lord, you're kidding me, right? Thermos of Folgers? Are you people feeling that sorry for yourselves? You can get Cascade Pride whole bean coffee for a good price at WinCo, and it looks like you haven't priced the coffee at Dutch Bros (very nice, resonable price).

Let's look at another one:

Out with the old ... Pint of organic microbrew made from locally grown hops.
In with the new ... Six-pack of PBR.

Six-pack of PBR? Is that when you've hit rock bottom? No, when you've hit rock bottom is when you're drinking Milwaukee's Best. Nice try. When's the hair shirt coming out?

Out with the old ... Private school.
In with the new ... Public school.

That one's just as well and actually an improvement: I think private school graduates have gotten us into enough trouble lately. On a related note, I think I know where all that money to run the public schools have gotten off to.

Out with the old ... iTunes.
In with the new ... Free music podcasts.

Already there, bucko. Well, actually, not exactly. iTunes is free. And you don't have to buy a whole damn album. 99 cents a song remember? With money management skillz like that, I'm not surprised y'all think PBR is the same as economizing.

Out with the old ... Powell's New York Times best-seller shelf.
In with the new ... Any shelf at the Multnomah County Library.

... or any shelf at Powells that has books that say used on them. Crimony.

Just a couple more ...

Out with the old ... Satellite dish.
In with the new ... Recycled rabbit ears.

Oh, now you're down with the common man. Welcome to our world. But wait ....

Out with the old ... Portland Opera tickets.
In with the new ... Free Metropolitan Opera on cable.

I thought we just got rid of pay TV. You figure out how to get that on rabbit ears, baby you will be rich!

Out with the old ... Shopping for clothes at Pioneer Place.
In with the new ... Shopping for clothes at Goodwill Industries

I'm not going to mock this one. It's just kicking someone when they're down.

A light look at the new Northwest frugality? This is so shallow it makes my stomach hurt.

And I actually do like the Oregonian. Ohman's cartoons are incomparable. Editorial writing–when they aren't penning anti-working class missives and chiding the rabble for wanting a higher mimium wage-–is usually first class. And that too, is my opinion.

Maybe I out to try to get to my point here. I'm always amused when someone from the middle-upper-classes gets to downsize their personal economies. Now, I'm quite aware that a lot of people have indeed worked quite hard and deserve the lifestyle that they're now losing. Perhaps even the staff of The Oregonian numbers among many of them.

So why is it that whenever the paper comments on the New Lean Times they give me the impression that they're people who've never not been a little too well-paid at something all of a sudden seeing that they're on a long glide path into The Land Of The Rest Of Us ... and it's scaring them to death?

Just maybe they're waking up to the reality that what they consider reasonable pay for honorable work is something that a lot of us who live and work on the socioeconomic floors below them only wish we had a chance at. And some of us have striven quite hard for it. The Clinton boom? Passed us by. The dotcom boom? We fantasized about working in a company that had a pingpong table and hot and cold running lattes. Never happened to us.

Prepare to get your perceptions enlarged.

Welcome to our world, Sparky. There's not much here, but it's ours.

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