Nancy Rommelman notes how, in Portland hipster culture has turned downright totalitarian and urges caution, lest Portalandization come to your own neighborhood.
I have a friend, letâ€™s call her Karen. Karen bootstrapped several Portland businesses, including a coffee shop. She walks in one day and the barista, who is trans, says she had a man come in earlier wearing a MAGA cap and is she obliged to serve people like him? Karen asks, did he say something to you? No, says the barista, but heâ€™s a white supremacist. Karen tells her, first, you donâ€™t know that, and second, you cannot discriminate based on the way someone is dressed. And that, Karen thinks, is that, but no, the barista relays the story to another barista we will call Jen, who goes onto Facebook and posts, â€œMy boss Karen is a Nazi.â€ Karen learns of this while she is on vacation. She calls her manager and tells her to get Jen into the office. Jen may intuit as much, as when the manager says she needs to speak with her, Jen gets on the floor behind the espresso bar and curls into a fetal position. And you might think, if anyone should maybe not be in customer service, itâ€™s Jen, but no, people prove sympathetic to her and the other baristaâ€™s fears and start an online inquisition and can Karen prove she is not a Nazi? And should she not be more concerned with the safety of her employees than some random Republican wanting a cup of coffee?
By 2017, some defenders of diversity and safety were learning how variously those concepts could be construed, could bring the future they wanted a little closer; could be fashioned into tools that got the job done. Sharp tools would be used to cut out those deemed a threat to inclusivity, including two girls who during a road trip in Mexico fell in love with the tortillas made by local cooks. The girls were young, and snoopy, and hung around the cooks until they learned the techniques. Once back in Portland, the girls told the paper Willamette Week, they scraped together enough money to open Kooks Burritos, a food cart they shut for good later that week after receiving multiple death threats due to their not being Mexican and thus, according to the alt-weekly blog post that incited a campaign against them, having no right to make Mexican food.
Week after week people of color in Portland bear witness to the hijacking of their cultures, and an identifiable pattern of appropriation has been created â€¦ After the fury continued online, a different resource emerged and quickly went viral: a Google doc showing exactly how prevalent this epidemic is. The list titled â€œWhite-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portlandâ€ provides a whoâ€™s who of culinary white supremacy.
Iâ€™d cite more of that post, clipped here from a Willamette Week follow-up, but when you go to the Portland Mercury website, you get the following message:
Dear readers: Due to new information that has recently come to light, we have taken down our blog post, â€œThis Week in Appropriation: Kookâ€™s [sic] Burritos and Willamette Week.â€ It was not factually supported, and we regret the original publication of this story.â€”eds.
Too late to help the Kooksâ€™ girls, but, oh well. As for that restaurant list, thatâ€™s been deleted, too, which shows me people are not willing to stand by their weapons of destruction, and also, that Portland is pulling off the pretty slick trick of beaming to the world an image of tolerance and inclusion, while concurrently denying certain of its citizens a place at the table. Thatâ€™s some scary-strong juju, and maybe one best kept in check lest exclusionary tactics be taken for progress, be enshrined by some centralized authority.
Richard Fernandez warns that the take-over of the democrat party by the radical left which that party’s leadership has allowed to become its base features consequences going beyond nominations and platforms. We have been seeing some of those consequences recently, as violent, masked ANTIFA protests have become routine. “Doxing” and pressuring corporations to fire political opponents, a little while ago, seemed to mark extraordinarily extreme expressions of political opposition, but more recently physical attacks in public places have escalated from thrown milkshakes to quick-drying cement shakes and punches. Last Saturday’s attack by ANTIFA demonstrators on Quilette editor Andrew Ngo, a harmless Gay wimp, has been widely suspected of being effectively condoned by Portland’s democrat mayor’s office. Portland police did not interfere in the attack, and are assumed to have been operating in accordance with a hands-off ANTIFA demonstrations policy in place since at least last year. A spokesman for Portland police defensively told reporters there was “no evidence” that the police stood by deliberately and let people be attacked, and said that three people had been arrested in connection with the demonstration, including one for assault. They did not identify the person charged, however, as being involved with the attack on Andrew Ngo.
[T]he magnitude of Hillary’s 2016 loss is only now becoming apparent. Clinton didn’t just lose the White House, she also lost the Democratic center to the radical ornaments. The diminution of Brooks, Stevens, Kristof, and even Biden are the consequence of that defeat. The radicals who once served the useful purpose of putting fear into the other side are taking center stage. It’s not surprising that the French Terror began with the purge of the moderates and the urgency of virtue. As Robespierre put it, virtuous men have no choice but to employ any means necessary:
If the basis of popular government in peacetime is virtue, the basis of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is baneful; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie.
The Thing is older than one would think. And more voracious. The intellectual Old Bolsheviks thought their illustrious records would protect them from the ruffian Stalin. Bukharin, who was eventually executed by Stalin, once said: “Koba, you used to be grateful for the support of your Bolshevik comrades.” “Gratitude is a dog’s disease,” Stalin shot back.
It won’t stop at Andy Ngo. There is no safety from It.
As Burke observed: “In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows.”
“Cultural Appropriation” has consequences in Portlandia. Fox News:
Just one week after Kooks Burritos in Portland, Ore., was featured in a profile for local publication Willamette Week, the pop-up Mexican food cart has closed down amid accusations that they ripped off their recipes.
Kali Wilgus and Liz â€œLCâ€ Connelly, the two white women who started Kooks earlier this year, have been accused of stealing their techniques from the â€œtortilla ladiesâ€ of Puerto Nuevo, Mexico â€” because Connelly told Willamette Week that they gathered their recipes and tortilla-making processes during a holiday road-trip to the Baja California village.
“I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did,” she told the site. “They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins.â€
In the profile, which first ran May 16, Connelly also claimed that, when the Mexican cooks wouldnâ€™t give up their trade secrets, she and Wilgus â€œwere peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look.â€
Connelly then said she used a trial-and-error process to recreate a tortilla with the same flavor and texture after returning to Portland. She and Wilgus then opened their weekend pop-up inside a taco truck on SE Cesar Estrada Chavez Boulevard, and began serving their Mexican-style tortillas filled with California-inspired ingredients.
Though the eatery had been open for several months, the owners of Kooks were only recently accused of cultural appropriation by The Portland Mercury and Mic.com based on Connellyâ€™s revelations.
“Because of Portlandâ€™s underlying racism, the people who rightly own these traditions and cultures that exist are already treated poorly,” The Portland Mercury said, calling the closure of Kooks a “victory.”
The article continues,”These appropriating businesses are erasing and exploiting their already marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise.”
Mark Hemingway discusses the unbearable television program, the absolutely appalling left coast city that inspired it, and the pathological politics infesting places on the Pacific coast.
Portlandia instantly struck a chord as a Garrison Keillor-type takeoff on the edgy urban set. Instead of idyllic Lake Wobegon, where â€œall the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,â€ Portlandia is where â€œthe tattoo ink never runs dryâ€ and â€œall the hot women wear glasses.â€ The show is now in its second season and has even spawned a live comedy tour thatâ€™s bringing Portland to a venue near you.
But while Portlandia is more acerbic than Prairie Home Companion, it too can come off as a twee, chiaroscuro character study that spends as much time burnishing the cityâ€™s reputation for â€œWest Coast urban coolâ€ as it does mocking it. And thereâ€™s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Iâ€™m just afraid that the real-life absurdities of Portland merit a more cutting critique.
Case in point: One of the most commented-on sketches from the show is a scene from the first episode in which Armisen and Brownstein are sitting in a restaurant. After asking their waitress a series of absurd questions about whether the chicken they are about to eat is localâ€‹â€”â€‹â€œthe chicken is a heritage breed, woodland raised chicken thatâ€™s been fed a diet of sheepâ€™s milk, soy, and hazelnuts. .â€‰â€‰.â€‰â€‰. His name was Colin, here are his papersâ€â€‹â€”â€‹the couple ends up leaving the restaurant and driving to the farm to see the environment where the chicken was raised in order to assuage their guilt about eating it.
As a comment on urban Americaâ€™s foodie culture, the sketch is funny and incisive. But it doesnâ€™t begin to show how insufferable Portland actually is in this regard. Portlandâ€™s restaurants are incredibly good, provided you donâ€™t gag on their politics and pretension. Itâ€™s common for restaurants to brag about keeping â€œfood milesâ€ to a minimumâ€‹â€”â€‹a rough calculation on the menu informing you how far all the ingredients have traveled to your plate, as if this were a rational measure of the restaurantâ€™s environmental impact. One Portland ice cream parlor I visited recently was inviting patrons to swing by on Saturday afternoon for a meet and greet with the local producer of its â€œartisanal finishing salts.â€
Given the lack of critical attention to the city, I guess it falls to me to state the obvious: Portland is quietly closing in on San Francisco as the American city that has most conspicuously taken leave of its senses.