Why the Portland “MERCURY” sucks big, fat donkey dicks.

( . . .  with the exception of the odd article here and there, clearly written by freelancers![*])
     About a month or so ago I read a review in the Atlantic Monthly about a book called Continental Drift.  The review was written by a regular contributor to the Atlantic named James Atlas.  Atlas said “Continental Driftwas THE great American novel.”  Usually books reviewed in the Atlantic are good books and the reviewers are intelligent and reliable.  On the basis of Atlas’s review, I ordered the book.  It’s not THE great American novel.  It isn’t even an average good novel.  Ripped off again.
     About the same time, I saw a list of grant winners, poets and novelists, in a San Francisco newspaper.  I recognized some of the names.  Every single award was made to someone associated with a college or university.  The names I recognized are mediocre writers on the best day they ever had.  Then it occurred to me that since they all live in the Bay Area, or at least Northern California, they all probably know each other.  They teach in “writer’s workshops,” review one another’s books, go to the same parties, sleep with one another in bat clusters, hire one another in English departments, and generally promote one another if it’s to their advantage.

[Bruce Anderson, in an “Editor’s Desk” column in the March 6, 1985 iss. of the Anderson Valley Advertiser; emphasis added]
Christopher Joseph Snyder    

Hey, Megan Catherine Bergstrom, Blair Anundson & Jessica Tweedy Anundson — and, I guess, Jeremiah Baumann — and any “Friends of Friends” who were with the Portland Fund canvassing office in the summer of ’06 … do YOU remember this “S. Mirk” person?
‘Cause … I sure DON’T!

November 23  · Like · Comment
Megan Catherine Bergstrom   It’s hard to remember unless I see a face because as the article points out there is a high turnover rate.
Blair Anundson   Doesn’t ring a bell. Hopefully the unionization effort changes the culture of the Fund.

November 24 at 10:53am via mobile · Like · Megan Catherine Bergstrom likes this
Christopher Joseph Snyder   Firstly, her Facebook resume contradicts this — how could she be a “cub reporter” in Seattle, the same time she was here, in Portland, canvassing? Secondly, she introduced Lance Bangs at a mini-retrospective of his work — as “Sarah Mirk of ‘The Portland Mercury,'” of course — by brazenly asking him, “So … when did YOU move to Portland?”

It would’ve been embarrassing (i.e., she didn’t “do her research,” see below), if it didn’t seem so much the trend of what they write: “Hey, we ALL just showed up, nobody’s put down roots — don’t bother finding your way around! We ALREADY KNOW!” (This, while they write pointlessly-snarky reviews, are overly and cavalierly harsh about any major Portland artist’s work in a way that can’t help but strike one as knee-jerk “too-cool-for-schooldom” … I mean, do you think I’m DOUBTING she was BULLSHITTING? (HINT: Not in the least!))

On the Union thing: actually, i’m not sure how an office — which takes all comers, provided you make staff by making quota — could stay afloat, if people got to BAGEL for four weeks. (Which is to say, hypothetically, falling short of quota would overstrain the already — let’s face it — pretty shoe-string non-profit resources!) Fact is, I was one of three people — Pete Maben, and someone else who should’ve “given up the ghost,” long ago, who I won’t name, here — who EVER made staff, and got “let go” (hardly “immediately fired,” as it says in the article; a bit harshly-worded there, wordsmiths!) by failing to make quota. Without exception, in the year-and-a-half I was there, everyone left of their own accord … everyone pulls together come Friday, you know? Might as well try to put the best “foot forward,” and try to keep the canvassers you have in the office, still in the office … somehow, you manage to scrape by … so, I don’t know what it is they’re going on about. It seems, shall we say, rather unfortunately conceived, and, without knowing more, this just looks like (yet) another example of what I’ve come to call “Trickle-Down Ethics”: all of us at “ground level” cutting ourselves & each other to pieces over minutiae and scraps, while “higher-up the food chain” folks look idly on! (If they notice, at all … sheesh!)


November 26 at 9:10pm · Like · Remove Preview
And now, ladies & gents, The Portland Merchantry presents … “Kurt Cobain’s Worst Nightmare(s)!”
“FRAT GUYS” who can pass for “counter-cultural”!  (“Boy, it sure is comfy over here!  Throw on a flannel, act like a jerk, order up women like you’re in Hooters … nobody’ll know the difference!”)
[*] Such as: Dave Bow, Kiala Kazebee, and Vince Mancini. who not only wrote a “sanity-preserving” bash of the let’s-lionize-Maggie-Thatcher film (“I feel stupid just saying the title. Try it. Go to your local theater and tell the cashier, ‘I’m here to see The Iron Lady.’ You’ll feel like an asshole, I promise.”), but also uttered, aloud, the unthinkable poseur-ego-puncturing statement: “Usually when people tell you that a movie is ‘Dumb but fun!’ it means, ‘It’s awful, but I’m a moron!'”  (Haw haw! … it’s too true!)


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