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NYTimes on Bechard Brawl, "Portland's New Provincialism"

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So the rumors were true: The New York Times did indeed send a reporter to PDX to investigate the whole Eric Bechard v. Brady Lowe fistfight at Cochon 555, and the piece ham-handedly (get it?) ties in that gossip-friendly headline with the philosophical quagmire of what constitutes provincialism. According to the article, PDX is mired in a conflict between "the pride and prejudice of 'local'":

"Portland is confronting the contradictions that come when keeping it local makes for global success. As the city’s corner coffee shops, indie bands and handmade bicycles have gained national and international renown, becoming — gasp — brand names, cries of corporatism have followed them. In another city, it might seem a quaint debate. Not here."

The story's lede proclaims that "Eric Bechard is perfecting the new provincialism," framing the dirty details of the strip club fight (pepper spray! tasers!) as a "push-pull between big and small, profitability and livability, ambition and identity."

For Mr. Bechard, it came down to this: never should a pig from Kansas or Iowa have even been entered in the contest; it only made it worse that the Iowa pig won. After all, there are Red Wattle heritage pigs raised right here in Oregon. The chefs who competed work in Oregon, and most promote locally produced food.

The piece presents the conflict from both sides, citing some people's self-boycott of Stumptown (seen as not local enough) as an ethical decision, and quoting the White Fang song "Portland Sucks," which pokes fun at the elitist nature of extreme localism.

So, Portlanders... your thoughts? Where do you personally draw the line with what you consider "local"? At what point does a dedication to locavorism turn elitist, and is this a uniquely Portland "problem"?

And aren't you glad we found another excuse to run that silly mug shot again? See you in the comments!
· The Pride and Prejudice of Local [NYTimes]
· All Previous Eric Bechard Coverage [Eater PDX]

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

1026 Southwest Harvey Milk Street, , OR 97205 (503) 224-9060 Visit Website

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