Portlandia in Portland, The Enders Game in South Carolina, and Why I Prefer Living In A Nation Over a Confederacy


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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82 Responses

  1. Avatar Erik Kain says:

    Great post. I think that a balance always needs to be struck between local and national power/politics/etc. I’ve said many times that the worst tyrannies are often the local ones. I think this is very apparent when discussing education and police issues given how local these things are. I fall back on some sort of Subsidiarity 2.0: good local governance relies on stable federal governance; if a local government cannot handle something it should be handled by the state, and then by the feds – and the opposite is true. The feds shouldn’t be in the business of handling things that local governments can do better, but they are very useful in providing standards and so forth.

    That story about Ender’s Game is nuts. I suppose whoever it is doesn’t realize how bloody conservative Orson Scott Card is…Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Erik Kain says:

      I’d imagine they’d have been just fine if it’d been one of those terrible Ender’s Shadow, or other recent books being read aloud instead of the more ambiguous Ender’s Game. Reading Card’s deranged, speckle-filled rants have killed any enjoyment I ever got from reading his books…it’s sad, but I’m just not able to look into the mind of anyone that…hateful and so deluded about his hate.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Ender’s Shadow was actually pretty good, I thought, although only as a companion piece to Ender’s Game.  I didn’t like the two subsequent books (and there’s a fourth in the series that I haven’t even tried to read.)

        To be honest, the best reading order for Ender’s Game is “Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, And Then You Stop”.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to DensityDuck says:

          I don’t know, I think Speaker for the Dead was a fine book. Then it just went into strange directions with Xenocide and Children of the Mind…Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            I agree with both of you: Speaker was a fine book, though its connection with Ender’s Game is tenuous enough that it might as well have started a different series.  The Gloriously Bright sections of Xenocide are brilliant, thoiugh again the way it ties back into Ender/Speaker is questionable.  CotM was simply awful.  Ender’s Shadow was OK as a one-off, but the sequels got increasingly worse (I don’t recall how far I got, but didn’t finish.)

            Now.  Can either of you, or anyone at all, explain what in Ender’s Game could possibly be viewed as pornographic?Report

  2. Avatar BSK says:

    FWIW, a friend here in NYC described the chicken sketch and had us rolling in laughter; watching it later that night was all the better.  Perhaps that is because NYC has its own hipster-chic culture PLUS a separate foodie culture so the sketch could have just as easily been set here with only a few minor tweaks.

    To the point, I think it comes down to how the different groups in question respond.  Are South Carolinians actually shamed by the national response to the book incident?  Or does it serve as affirming to their notion of the rest of the nation going to hell in a hand basket?  Likewise, do most of the hipsters laughing at “Portlandia” recognize the point being made about taking their movement too far?  Or do they view it as deliberately inside humor that other folks can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t get?

    I remember similar conversations when “Stuff White People Like” was popular.  A blog I read that deal with issues of race and pop culture talked about how SWPL ultimately perpetuated a lot of the racist and classist (often more the latter than the former) tendencies of the “stuff” because it never genuinely called people to task for it.  People laughed, “OH MAN, that is SO me and my friends.  What doors we are!” while rummaging through consignment shops, but never actually stopped to think about how their hipster-vintage-chic movement drove up prices on those products and ultimately priced out many people who relied on second hand clothing.

    I guess my point is that not everyone is as thoughtful and reflective as you are Tod and such self-reflecting inward facing situations do not lead all people to the insights you have made here.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to BSK says:

      while rummaging through consignment shops, but never actually stopped to think about how their hipster-vintage-chic movement drove up prices on those products and ultimately priced out many people who relied on second hand clothing.

      Is that true, though? Back home (major metropolitan area in the south with transplants from all over the country), there were two kinds of such stores: vintage and thrift (I’m using my own terminology here). I used to regular the latter and… there were not so many people there that you would ordinarily expect to find there: trailer park residents, immigrants, and so on. Nothing remotely hip about that place. But then there seemed to be a second set of places that on the one hand were second-hand, but definitely catered to a different set. They seemed to choose what they carried based on certain preferences. Many years ago I went through several when I was looking for a brown Nehru Jacket for a Neon Genesis Evangelion costume. The former had shirts turned over from former Pizza Hut delivery boys and Walmart warehouse employees, but the latter had stuff with more… kitsch, but in a fun way. A goofy flashy bowling shirt, a cheapish-looking Asian rose robe, stuff like that (including a jacket that I could flip around into a Nehru-looking one). Also, it had more substantial price tags. I remember saying “People are paying $20 for a shirt specifically so it doesn’t look like it cost half that much. I love this country.”

      There is an argument that the former pushed the latter into the poorer suburbs and such, because almost all of the real thrift stores tended to be away from downtown and the vintage places tended to be in downtown or near gentrified sorts of places. On the other hand, I suspect that the real estate meant that if you take away the vintage place, you get an art gallery or somesuch rather than a place that actually sells $3 to poor people.

      I mean, the last time I was at a thrift-thrift store I bought a $2 shirt with an AT&T logo on it. I didn’t see anything like that at any of the vintage stores I visited (either the $3 or the much-reviled corporate logo). So I think of them as two different things. Maybe this isn’t right, though.

      (I actually have my suspicions that the vintage owners basically go to the thrift stores, pick out there most delightfully kitschy stuff, then turn around and sell it at a markup.)Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Will Truman says:

        I was going to include a disclaimer that the quote offered here was the criticism levied by the blog and was not necessarily one I could stand by.  They had other examples, but for whatever reason, that is the one that stuck with me.

        So, yes, it is entirely possible that there is hipster-chic/vintage fashion has no impact on the prices at second-hand stores.  I still think the larger criticism stands that such self-deprecating situations (as in “Portlandia” or SWFL) or situations like the SC one (which was not self-deprecating, but instead brought criticism from the outside) only lead to change if those being criticized, whether from within or without, are wiling and able to be reflective and accept the criticism as constructive.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Colorado Springs has a little store called “The Leech Pit” that specializes in “vintage”. If you’re looking for a Pink Floyd shirt from 1977, this is the place to go. Then you can say “EIGHTY DOLLARS????”

        If you’re merely looking for a shirt from 1977? We also have the ARC, Salvation Army, and DAV. These shirts are not the fun shirts from 1977. They are the shirts from 1977 that lived in the back of grampa’s closet, to be taken to the DAV after he passed, bless his soul. This is unironic polyester.Report

      • Avatar Will in reply to Will Truman says:

        Actually, there is a company out there that sorts through clothes donated to charities for that unique vintage piece, which it then purchases from the charity and re-sells to a fancy vintage clothing shop.



  3. Avatar Erik Kain says:

    P.S. Card didn’t write “The Giver.”Report

  4. Just to be contrary, I certainly don’t take the position that localized power has any kind of virtue associated with it. The history of social progress in the United States has been one of wresting power away from local governments, which are almost uniformly tyrannical in a way the federal government is not.Report

    • Local governments are usually more tyrannical. They’re best used as efficient vessels of day-to-day governance. Very little power beyond the bureaucratic should be vested in local government. I say this as a big fan of Leslie Knope.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Erik Kain says:

        There is something important in this comment.


      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Erik Kain says:

        One of the main issues I have with local government is that it’s hard to keep track of what the law is where. It’s not always easy to tell what jurisdiction you are in, exactly, and it’s difficult to figure out what the laws are. I mean, there are fifty states. It’s not always easy to look up what the laws are in those states, but it gets a whole lot harder when you’re dealing with a whole slew of municipalities with their own laws, neighborhoods with their own codes, and so on. Critic of a strong federal government that I am, I question how much autonomy should be given to towns and cities and that maybe “local” out to be looked at as “county.”Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman says:

          Yep.  Colorado has a law requiring the Dept of Labor to do the inspections of new school construction rather than the local city/county.  While the Department has its own set of problems, the school districts in the state that spanned multiple cities pushed hard to get the law passed because they found it impossible to keep track of the differences in interpretation of the standard building codes in the different cities.  Amazing the differences that different cities’ inspectors would attach to a phrase like “… such joints shall be adequately reinforced.”Report

          • The word “adequately” is just asking for it…Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman says:

              Also “joint” and “reinforced”.

              And are you allowed to declare the requirement met by examining the plans only?  Or do you need to examine the actual joint as fabricated?  And do you check every joint, a representative sample, or a single one, or whatever ones are easiest to get to?  And do you ask for a destructive test on a sample of the welder’s work, or do you only check the welder’s certification papers (and how far do you go to verify those?)Report

    • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

      I’ve worked for “local government” (I was the administrative aide to a San Diego city council member), and even for a city of San Diego, politics is short-sighted and provincial.   It was from that vantage point that I first began to fully appreciate the degree to which the rich and powerful are able to have their own way.     And I would never trust local government with any substantial degree of power:  it is just too corrupt, too susceptible to the influence of a few, and way too affected by the personal relationships and interpersonal politics of a very few persons.Report

  5. Avatar Ian M. says:

    “In fact, Portland’s internationally famous bookstore – Powell’s – is known amongst Portlanders both for having the greatest selection of new and used books anywhere and for having a staff that sighs and sneers whenever a customer asks where to find a book.”

    This description of customer service at Powell’s is horseshit.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Ian M. says:

      This might well be the case.  I’ve noticed that despite the fact that everyone talks about the derision they get when going to indie coffee shops, it seems to be a thing that used to happen but no longer does – but for whatever reason, people still have an odd sense of pride that they go to indie coffee joints that look down on them.  I can easily see Powells being the kind of institution where people like thinking about it this way, even though it’s not that way anyone.  (Maybe ever?)

      I admit that even though locals do talk about it having that rep, I don’t know how true it is – Powells (all locations) are so well laid out and I frequent them so often that it has been many, many years since I’ve needed t o get any kind of service.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Whenever someone complains to me about the “rude” service they keep getting in restaurants, I think “man, that’s never happened to me. Maybe it’s them…”Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Rufus F. says:

          sometimes it’s a language/culture issue. New York waiters were famous for a while about telling you what to order.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Kimmi says:

            In France, the waiters are absolutely brilliant, mainly because the job is much more of a career there. They also do not bother you about how the service is, how you’re doing, etc. etc. during the meal. I find this relaxing; others, I understand, feel they’re being ignored.Report

            • Avatar BSK in reply to Rufus F. says:

              I have not worked in the food service industry outside of delivering pizzas, but many of my friends have and they talk about the different cultures that different restaurants have.  Often times, these cultures are VERY explicit and are to be followed to a T.  One restaurant might demand that you do not offer your name until the after you have already taken orders because you are not there to be there friend, but to serve, so they need only know your name upon your departure so that they can call you back; others have the opposite tact because they want you to have a more personal, intimate relationship with the diners.  Some restaurants insist that you don’t frequent the table unless called over; others want you checking in regularly.  My hunch is that most instances of “bad service” are really the result of misplaced expectations.  Someone might venture into a spot and be frustrated at having to repeatedly ask for water or more bread, when this is precisely the environment that the restaurant is cultivating.

              Yes, there are douchey servers out there, but there are douchey people in all walks of life and, more to the point, regular people whom you will catch at less than their best moment.Report

      • Avatar Ian M. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Putting in the self-service kiosks helped a lot. Generally if a Powell’s employee seems annoyed it’s a hold over from a previous transaction. It’s a bit insidious, because the person who put you in a rotten mood generally doesn’t notice that you’re upset so subsequent customers just think you’re rude.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Ian M. says:

          That sounds right.  The only service issue I ever had with Powell’s probably doesn’t exist anymore, and was more of a function of it’s vast size than bad service people: It used to be that if you called to ask to have a book put on hold at the main store, it might or might not have been on the shelf and you had to go in to pick it up to see if it was indeed in stock.  I’d be surprised if technology hasn’t made this a thing of the past.  Even so, I’ve never viewed Powells as a place to go to buy a particular book.  I’ve always thought of it as a place to go to just browse for 15 minutes, then find that you had spent 3 hours and bought a dozen titles.

          What I do find interesting in a more meta way is this thing Portlanders have about equating derision from service providers as a seal of quality, like an indie badge of honor.Report

          • Avatar Mary M in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            “I’ve always thought of it as a place to go to just browse for 15 minutes, then find that you had spent 3 hours and bought a dozen titles.”

            This. A 1,000 times this.Report

          • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            What I do find interesting in a more meta way is this thing Portlanders have about equating derision from service providers as a seal of quality, like an indie badge of honor.

            That reminds me of the old Groucho Marx saying:    “I would not wish to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”Report

  6. Avatar greginak says:

    I think the term hipster starts to lose much meaning when it becomes a pop culture phenomenon and is used for mocking/self-deprecating humour. In fact most pop culture/newsspeak terms (see soccer moms,etc) for groups are pretty weak at best. Then again people love their self-identified tribes. Alaska is full of people who are just so truly “ALASKAN”. Its easy to find them, they will tell you all about how exceptionally ALASKAN they are, usually with extra volume and righteousness.Report

  7. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I definitely understand the desire for the national government to temper the expectations of the more local and regional governments. I do believe in a balance for such things (I don’t support the Articles of Confederation, for example), though my balance is tilted more heavily towards states than most. I cringe at what happened in South Carolina, but I also prefer a degree of latitude that allows parts of the countries to act in ways that make me cringe. The more they are allowed to do their own thing, my locale is allowed to do its. The protection of civil rights is one thing, and depending on how we define is something we need to look at from a national perspective, but if Oregon wants to go crazy with its animal husbandry, or South Carolina wants to keep Ender’s Game out of its schools, then that’s up to them. I think there is usually going to be a levelling effect. Even Utah takes a look around and sees how out-of-step it is and modifies itself occasionally (or tries to), if for no other reason than employers complain that it’s hard to recruit employees to a state where alcohol is so hard to get.

    The governor of our state stopped by our tiny little town a few weeks ago. The President will never stop by here (no president will). When it comes to understanding the local culture and such, I put more faith in the former than the latter when it comes to, for instance, youth agriculture employment law.

    I also ascribe to the Laboratories of Democracy notion. Allowing experimentation allows different states to try different things and then other states to adopt them if it works out (and if it doesn’t work out, it crashes and burns with much more limited repercussions).Report

    • Avatar Katherine in reply to Will Truman says:

      But what do you do if it crashes and burns and the state still keeps doing it?  The thing with laboratories is that scientists tend to learn from their mistakes.  Politicians?  Not necessarily, not if they’re emotionally invested in a policy, or just part of a political system subject to inertia.Report

  8. Avatar Jeff says:

    As one might expect, I’m more inclined to Federal power over the states and lower.  Rights of minorities are easier to trample the lower you go.  So I can see states and other localities adding to Federal standards (I see nothing wrong with California having higher CAFE standards, but I wouldn’t want a state to have lower standards.)

    BTW, I worked in Beaverton ages ago and there was a GREAT hamburger place called “Vertiburgers”.  Do you know if it’s still there, and still as good?Report

  9. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    I think one big issue is that whether you favor more or less local government power, the states are almost always the wrong venue for it.  They’re based on pretty arbitrary lines, contain wildly differing areas (think Portland vs. eastern Oregon, or Chicago vs. downstate), and often cut straight across the most important divisions (people in Northern Virginia have many more common interests with suburban Marylanders than they do with southwest-Virginians).  Some power should be devolved to metro-area governments, some should go upstairs to the feds, but the states qua states should have very little importance in actual governing.  Instead, they’re central, and it’s damn frustrating.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dan Miller says:

      I consider states to be the nice middle ground, relatively speaking. Localism breeds enormous disparities. A national government governing such a large and varied nation such as ours is problematic. I could support a more fluid system, so that states could kind of redraw themselves because the original boundaries didn’t work out, but even in the sorts of states that you point to (Chicago vs. downstate), there is value in some balance – but balance between fewer distinct identities than our national government has to contend with.

      Except Idaho. Idaho was just one huge screw-up. Idaho should be abolished.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Will Truman says:

        Balance usually isn’t the outcome.  Instead, it’s a series of pointless struggles about whether or not a given region should be allowed to (e.g.) tax itself at a level it deems appropriate.  I’ve lived in Chicago, DC, and San Francisco, and in none of these places has state government ever held the virtues that people claim for it (“It’s closer to the people!”).Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dan Miller says:

          {shrug} I’ve lived in five states over the past ten years (next year will probably make six). I have always felt closer to the state government than the national one and felt that the local government was more likely to be responsive to the specifics of the given area where I lived (sometimes in a major city, sometimes away from one). This is true of both right-leaning and left-leaning states.Report

  10. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    Flannery O’Connor wrote of readers of fiction who “are over-conscious of what they consider to be obscenity in modern fiction for the very simple reason that in reading a book, they have nothing else to look for.”  She said  they “are totally unconscious of the design, the tone, the intention, the meaning, or even the truth of what they have in hand.”  Whenever I hear stories such as this teacher being suspended, I think of O’Connor and sigh at how far we haven’t come.Report

  11. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Card’s a jerk?  Whatever.  Kill the author. 

    If you’re the sort of person who has a real serious problem with conservative creators, then you shouldn’t like “Firefly” either, because of Adam Baldwin.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Yeah, Card’s a jerk. Authors tend towards being assholes, just like politicians.

      My problem with Card is less that he’s a jerk, and more that he lets his ideology/religion Take Over everything he writes.

      Pournelle’s a major asshole, but he’s Readable (particularly when paired with Niven — Jerry’s not the most creative type…)Report

  12. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Incidentally, there are parts in “Ender’s Game” where children are depicted naked.  I could see how someone who doesn’t actually know anything about the book would hear a gleeful statement of this by a ten-year-old and say “OMG they’re reading books about naked people!”.


    As a tangent:  Try to find the original “Ender’s Game” short story, and read it.  It becomes immediately clear how the whole thing came about.  (“Speaker For The Dead” was written before the “Ender’s Game” novel.  Card realized that he needed a hook to introduce what was happening in Speaker, so he expanded the “Ender’s Game” short story into a full novel.  The original short story picks up right when Ender is taking charge of Dragon Army; there’s no Bonzo, and Ender’s family doesn’t appear at all.  The idea of the enemy being aliens doesn’t appear; in fact we learn nothing about them at all.)Report

  13. Avatar A Teacher says:

    A note about the teacher, seeing as I fancy myself an expert in that field…

    If the school building has a set of policies about what materials can and cannot be included in the teaching, ~and~ the teacher did not follow those policies, then the parent’s reaction to the content is immaterial.  The teacher violated the standing policy on the introduction of materials.  The reaction (overreaction?) of the parent surely brought the violation to light.  Perhaps if the teacher in question had read from some other book that did not cause an eyebrow to be raised, he (he?) never would have been noted for having not followed proper channels for the inclusion of materials in class.

    As I understand it, most districts (ours included) have a fairly involved process of approving books for reading lists, for class lessons, for supplemental materials etc.  Being a math type I get a bit of a pass:  It’s pretty cut and dried what is in class.  Unless I do something totally bat-crap crazy and write story problems involving slavery or something they don’t need to monitor us they way they do what novels get read by what ages when.


    • Avatar RTod in reply to A Teacher says:

      Actually, when I first read about this it had been my intention to write about it in more of a “it may have nothing to do with the parent complaint” vibe; it would not be the first time that someone was fired/suspended from a public position that had nothing to do with what the public new, but assumptions were made because of the sensational story the media pushed.  I changed that take after the school district released the statement saying that the reason for the suspension was that the book itself was inappropriate and that the book was being removed from the school.Report

      • Avatar A Teacher in reply to RTod says:

        The problem is that if you (the school) say “the book was perfectly fine, but the teacher didn’t follow policy” then you may be in the right morally but the community is likely to keep up the backlash.  The easy fix is to say “yes the book was inappropriate” and pull it rather than having the school be in the news any longer than needed.

        News is good for blogs; not so much schools.  I don’t blame the school for doing whatever is necessary to get out of the public spotlight as fast as possible.  It is a shame that the book got pulled but these things tend to be short lived.  Give it a few years until a student requests it and it’ll find its way back in there, assuming it was there to begin with.


  14. Avatar Chris says:

    Ever since I first heard “Keep Portland Wierd,” I’ve found it amusing that Portland is proclaiming its weirdness with a slogan it stole from another city’s local businesses’ advertising campaign.

    Also, the song at the opening of the first episode of Portlandia is too awesome for words:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBt4HlcDUDw&w=560&h=315%5DReport

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      That embedding didn’t work. Sorry. And “Weird” also.Report

    • Avatar smarx in reply to Chris says:


        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris says:

          Which in turn has spawned so many annoying variations…And sadly, Austin is steadily becoming less weird…why just recently we lost Leslie.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            It’s been a while, I think, since Austin has really been “weird” in any meaninfgul sense. When I moved here, it still had a thriving, if somewhat mediocre, live music scene, but then they enacted noise ordinances that, in combination with increased property values downtown (as a result of the highrise condos, among other things), made it almost impossible to run a live music bar on 6th st or the surrounding areas. So 6th street turned into a shot bar and quasi-dance club strip full of clubs that look like any other club anywhere else, and the live music scene all but dried up. On top of that, the South Austin hippie culture has aged to the point that it’s no longer the dominant, or even a particularly visible a culture down there. Hell, even the Drag Rats are long gone for the most part. Add to the decline of Austin’s weirdness the influx of upper middle class folks who work in the tech industry, and you’ve got a decidedly unweird city.

            I remember that said, “78704: We’re all here cuz we’re not all there.” Those days are over. Though the bumper sticker, “78741: My zipcode kicked your zipcode’s ass” is still pretty relevant.Report

  15. Avatar Kolohe says:

    “I think the people of South Carolina are better off for having the rest of the country shame them into some sense of perspective when it comes to Morally Correct State-Approved Books”

    Hold up let’s get something clear.  Ender’s Game wasn’t on any curriculum here, this was entirely a teacher’s choice.  One can debate how much leeway a teacher may have, (my take is a lot) but if anything this is an example of an *extremely* local authority figure making a decision (the teacher) which has been since overruled by the next two levels (the principal and then the district).  Levels of authority above Aiken county have not weighed in on this at all. (and to be clear, eyeroll on the parent complaining to the school, and OFFS on the parent complaining to the cops)

    (and my brief experience living in SC is that they would indeed be big fans of locally grown food. Working class genuine rural types even with right wing political views are more like hippies than anybody (including both named groups) give them credit for – but to be sure, entirely unlike hipsters)Report

  16. There’s a Powell’s in Portland, too?

    Mike, from ChicagoReport

  17. Avatar Andrew L. Rice says:

    Mike I would say THE Powells is in Portland………but that might be my Portland bias….and I have never had anyone be rude to me at Powells.Report

  18. Avatar Katherine says:

    That is a crazy list of books.  I think I read Call of the Wild in Grade 5.  I don’t remember what age I first read Lord of the Rings, but it was probably somewhere between 10 and 13.  And Animal Farm?  Frankenstein?  Shakespeare?!  (Shakespeare’s got plenty of bawdy stuff in it, but the Elizabethan language makes it pretty hard for any kid that age to pick up on.)  Sound like Commonsense Media are coddling kids.

    There are some books that it’s best to leave until a higher grade level (my class was assigned 1984 in Grade 9, and I wouldn’t suggest assigning it to kids any younger than that) but in general it’s not necessary to be so restrictive.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Katherine says:

      I do remember our teacher writhing in the pedagogical catch-22 of trying to keep us interested in Shakespeare by claiming that it was totally raunchy and shocking, but not get in trouble by explaining exactly what it meant to “take someone’s maidenhead”.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DensityDuck says:

        The first part of Romeo and Juliet had me in stitches. Pretty sure I was the only one in class laughing, though.Most of it was comprehensible enough if you’ve got a quick enough (dirty enough) mind.Report

  19. Avatar Will says:

    Tod, did you catch the Weekly Standard’s cover story on Portland? I’d be curious to read your take:


    On a mostly unrelated note, got any tips for visiting Portland on a budget?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will says:

      I hadn’t seen this Will, so thanks.  It seems to hit the nail on the head, and kind of unintentionally mirrors Portlanders’ own “we want everyone to look at us when they’re not, but want to act put off when they do” that we do so very well.

      And actually, doing Portland on a budget is pretty easy to do.  We’re a foodie city, but most of the best spots are mid to mid low priced if you’re willing to go outside of the downtown area.  Eating in the Alberta, Hawthorne or NW districts are pretty good bets – but stay away from suburban places here.  Lot of great music venues, such as the Doug Fir or the Chrystal Ballroom.  Funky hotels as well.

      Are you coming to PDX?  If so, and you want to let me know more specifically what you might want to partake in, I’d be happy to email you some more specific stuff.  Plus, if you are coming for any amount of time, remember that nothing is cheaper than having a drink or beer bought for you, which I would be most happy to do.Report

  20. Avatar Andrew L. Rice says:

    If you are coming to Portland a food cart visit is a must.  We have everything from burgers to crepes to viking soul-food!Report

  21. Avatar Patrick M. says:

    Don’t people like this writer realize how irritating they are? The actual content would be very interesting without all the self-reflective “flair”.Report