Sunday, April 16, 2006

PDX Turmoil, Fracturing Blogosphere: Coincidence?

It's been quite an interesting few weeks if you follow Portland politics, the blogs that cover them, or both. Last Friday's P-Trib tried to encapsulate the buzz over the former, opting to splash "Meltdown in P-Town" across the page above the fold (and who else's voice would lead that siren song except Jack Bogdanski?), but the series of unfortunate events had been building for weeks: tram overruns to public financing, fur protests to dog protests, Transit Mall to mauled by transit. And then there's the elections!

So there's been no shortage of controversial topics to choose from if you're a blogger covering the Rose City, and while we try to keep an eye open around the state, our geographic location and natural interest in Oregon's only metropolis have made Loaded Orygun a natural part of the fray--not only by posts here, but in our comments around the web. And a "fray" it seems to have become, as various authors and commenters choose up sides and decide who they're fer, and who they're agin. It turns out some of the people we're agin are not only the players in the real game, but some of the Internet Greek chorus watching along as well.

Were we the first to openly mention our distaste for Jack Bog's perennial tone of smug outrage, taking on someone with 10 times our daily hits and frequent citings in the traditional media like the one above? No--but maybe we were the first to devote a column to the far more serious breaches involving made-up facts and slandered public officials. Jack came by, said some more things that weren't true, and we figured that was mostly that.

But Chuck Currie noticed the same things we did, and then Blue Oregon noticed that he noticed. All of this brought brought the Bog-broadsiders out of the woodwork, to the extent that the BO piece became more of a bitch session about Bogdanski than a review of the homelessness problem in Portland--Kari even had to steer it back on topic. As he had at LO, Jack made a coupple appearances at BO to cite another fact in a vacuum and claim victory before disappearing again.

Retreating to friendly territory, Bogdanski claimed himself "kicked out" of BO, although perhaps he only meant metaphorically--since he wasn't. By calling Currie the "voice of God," perhaps he also meant to imply his fall from even Higher Grace, but we can't ask because the thread was prohibited from comment.

Meanwhile, the newly reassigned Captain Over of The Angry Daydream has declared his own independence from BO, although in much more reasoned terms--and Kari offers only a gentle rebuttal. In essence, the Captain accuses BO of orthodoxy similar to Bogdanski's, with the same type of dittoing cadre following along in the comments--even if their perspectives are totally different. I think that's pretty off base, since Bog will ban you for posting twice in one day, whereas people like Ron Ledbury and Tenatskenawa are given nearly free rein for their ramblings at BO. But nonetheless, sides are being chosen and ideological separations being made.

What's going on? Is it the natural choosing of favorites that happens during election season? Is a philosophical battle for control developing in Portland, between the good-government elites and the Git-R-Done, uh, elites? (Because make no mistake--a law professor, a software engineer and a state Senator with the PBA behind her are most definitely just a different kind of elite.) Is it the tenaciously wet hands of winter, holding the city back from its rightful spring that's making us all seem grumpier? Have our tightly intertwined interactions created the cyclical souring of mood reminiscient of female college dorms?

What, you thought I had an answer?