Every Wednesday, as I walk to my car on the way home, I pick up some of the Free publications out of the vending machines.
First, I read The Source, and it's sort of familiar, even though I'm not into much of what they advertise about (music, food, theater). But as an old hippie, I'm not uncomfortable by what it represents.
Their political slant isn't too far from mine, and I often find their articles interesting, and their cultural stance of...let's get some culture here in Bend without losing what makes us Bend and let's be open to new cultural trends....is O.K. with me. I like reading HBM, especially now that I've met him several times.
But then..... I pick up some of the Cascade Business News publications..
I don't want to be mean or judgmental here. I have no right to be. They seem to be perfectly nice people.
I just don't understand them. I don't understand what they're saying, what they're showing me, what they represent.
They are just plain -- I'd be tempted to say weird -- but I'll say different. No, better -- Foreign.
Like a foreign culture, right here in my hometown of Bend, Oregon.
So the shiny pictures of oh, so carefully coiffed people; or tastefully bohemian, or...this one always throws me even though I'm a native Bendite and bucked hay, and hunted and fished, and went on trail rides....the 'Western' look.
LOOK AT ME!
I mean, they seem to be all about -- Look at Me!
Please, please look at me. Even better, I'll get to look at ME!
So we get a puffed up ad, followed by a puffed up blurb, followed by a puffed up picture followed by a puffed up --- should I call them 'news?'
And many of these businesses I've never heard of. Selling goods and services that seem -- odd. Buildings -- really, really big buildings which all seem to be tall and vaguely craftsman and interchangeable and forgettable. I think the word "Congratulations!" is the most common word on every page.
Does this really work, even as advertising? Does anyone but me actually read these 'articles'?
Or do you buy an ad, get an article, clip it out and add it to your resume, and send it to Grandma and Grandpa, look! I made it! Here's proof!
I KNOW, I KNOW. EVERY TOWN HAS THEM.
I'm tempted to think it's valuable evidence of the Bend Bubble Boom, and how we lost our way from a sleepy little hunting and fishing and outdoorsy town -- to what?
A Circus Wilderness?
A Desert Art Illusion?
A Cultural City-lite?
A Gastronomical Waystation?
THE PUZZLEMENT IS MINE.
And yet, and yet....
These guys profiled on these pages have way more money than me, obviously. They could buy and sell me many times over, without blinking.
What the hell do I know? I write a blog, that would seem pretty much a "Look at Me".
I know, in the end, I'm the weird one here. I'm pretty much a homebody. I enjoy simple things. I know that my store is 'foreign' to many people, Science Fiction and Fantasy and comics...
These people at their wine tastings, and art shows, and theater events are engaged and enjoying themselves.
I THINK THEY CALL IT SOCIALIZING.....
So despite what I said above, I suspect they are more in the mainstream, even with their insistent cheeriness, their never-say-die attitudes, their "I'm conquering the world!" self-promotion, than I am. I would definitively feel like a fish out of water in their milieu; whereas, I bet they'd adapt pretty quickly to mine.
So more power to them.
I enjoy visiting their country once in awhile,
Like picking up a National Geographic when I was a kid.