From the Oregonian: Sad and Sadder

I was saddened to see that Paul Pintarich died yesterday. He was a longtime Oregonian journalist and editor, but perhaps his most enduring legacy will be History by the Glass, his 1996 history of Portland's old taverns (which was revised and re-issued in 2007). Our friend John Foyston had a connection to Paul (they worked together for a time, and Pintarich's fascination with old bars is in the heart of Foyston's wheelhouse), and he has a short piece at his blog you might like to see.

The second piece is a trivial matter, but a maddening one. Have a look at this photo:

See there where it says "Governor of Beervana"? That refers to the John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado. Now, I'm never surprised to see misappropriations of the word "Beervana" in the popular national press. A lot of people don't realize that we seized the term for our own purposes in about 1995. But the paper this was taken from is the Oregonian. Absolutely shameful and unforgivable.

(As for the article, it is the usual hack work of a once-great writer. As a perfect example of Will's fall, he begins the piece with a misquote from Franklin. Later he claims America was "founded on beer." Again, wrong. Beer, that famous antiscorbutic from the 17th century, did indeed ride in the belly of the Mayflower. But the colonists couldn't make proper beer here and imported tons from the old country. North America was, by a wide margin, a far bigger market than either India (tiny) or the Baltics.

I wouldn't expect Will to know that arcana, but if he's going to flop out the "founded on beer" quote, we should expect him to have done a little research. For its first 200+ years, America was a rum and whiskey country. Daniel Okrent, for instance, in his fantastic account of Prohibition, Last Call, notes that by the time of the American revolution, there were 100 distilleries for every brewery in the country.

Hey look, three paragraphs and we're still in a parenthetical digression.)

The real crime lies with the Oregonian slug-writer, though--whom we must assume has arrived so recently in Oregon that s/he doesn't know where Beervana is.

Update: Bill Night weighs in, insightfully and amusingly. Must read. For more O craziness, have a look at the spat Patrick gets in with editor Peter Bhatia. It does not reflect well on the O.