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Tales From Middle America 4

I have been lax on reporting my observations. I think that I will two more of these in rapid succession, and then call it quits, change the title and the handle and post other things. Only after reading the comments from the other articles have I decided to even write this one, and then one to wrap it all up.
So, tonight, I went to go see Farenheit 9/11. I got two buddies that I went to high school with and we all went together. Before we went to the show, however, we went to a middle eastern restaurant, one of the few ethnic restaurants here. While I was sitting inside, I was just waiting for one of them to drop a bombshell about the middle east or the people there, but that didnt happen. Slight tangent on why I was waiting for that.

Two days prior I was out with my older brother to eat, and we got to talking about the F911 movie. And then we started talking about voting and he asked me if I was going to vote in the presidential elections...I said no. He responded that that was why he couldnt stand people like me becasue we "talk about all this change and then dont even vote." Then I decided to go into it about the whole two-party voting system and how there really isnt a choice when you vote, you get basically the same thing. I told him some of the Kerry flaws and some other things about war and we talked about the possible draft.

He said, "if my country drafted me I would go fight." I asked him if he really meant that and he responded with the bmbshell: "I will kill all of those sandniggers." That was what I didnt want to hear, and that set me apart from my brother alot, I cant imagine how our lives are so skewed. It is just insane. So, in that vein, I was hoping that neither of thes epeople would say something like that...and gladly they didnt. It was an enjoyable meal.

Then we went to the theatre, it was pretty empty in there when we arrived. But slowly, it filled. And it filled with the most unlikely crowd. I saw typical movie goers, the girls that all look sixteen even though sixteen looks more like nineteen now. The guys that doll themselves all up to go to the moves. It was crazy to watch these people file into the theatre. And then there were a few "alternative" looking kids that all sat right behind us (and sadly talked alot during the film). There were alot of older people, and most importantly people of color. The theatre was 2/3 the way full when the commercials started and 1/3 of that were people of color.

Blah blah blah commercials previews. And then the movie. Being radical and reading pdx imc and living in portland, many of the things said in this film werent very new. I learned a few things from the film however: about the 2000 election, the ties between the vote counter and bush family; that the bin Laden family was flown out of america on sept 12th...when no ther flights were allowed to take off (not even ricky martin!); and more in-depth connections between the saudis and the bush brigade and the corporations they back.

Overall it was a good film and there are other reviews devoted specifically to it that you can read. When Moore was wrapping it up, I was feeling the length of sitting in a dark room staring at a screen, but something happened at the end that was completely unexpected. The people in the theatre stood up and ovated for about thirty seconds at the end of the film. Here in the midwest. I couldnt beleive it, the last film I had seen where people gave a standing ovation was Star Wars 1.

There was not alot of chatter about after the film, however when we were walking out someone said to me, "what did you think of that film?" and I responded, "it was alright." Here in this part of the country, people dont generally just say things like that to other people, it was very uinexpected. And I wonder now if that was just a more enlightened person or if the film moved people to see the need to band together against a common enemy (sadly the movie makes bush the common enemey, but we'll take what we can get).

I felt a surge from this theatre, I envisioned people actually starting something in northwest indiana, something that I had tried when I lived here to no avail. If someone wanted to, all they'd have to do is hand out fliers to folks walking out of the theatre and create a broad coalition of somewhat likeminded folks in this area. Thoughts ran through my head on how to pound into these people that, in this state-of-mind after seeing thes eimages and hearing these truths, this is just a first step and now they need to organize.

Of course I didnt and the window of oppurtunity is over. At least for right now. It made me think that we in Portland need a rallying point again, something to band us back together...but there will be more on that in the next installment.
meh 02.Jul.2004 12:24


While it is clear you think of yourself as "enlightened", I find that your writing makes you come across as arrogant, self-righteous and I don't enjoy it. You seem to walk around with a chip on your shoulder, meeting midwesterners and just waiting them for them to dissappoint your superior mindset with their barbaric views of the world. Their is a great diversity of people all over this country as well as within Portland. Your quick generalizations may make it easier for you to organize your ideas of how the world is, but they are simplifications.

comment no. 2 02.Jul.2004 20:04

commentator no. 2

The previous commentator's complaints ("you're arrogant and self-righteous") would apply at least as much to his own comment as to the original article.

We all have better things to do with our energy than trash each other for minor imperfections, and for just being handy targets when the next grouch comes along with keyboard too close to grouchy fingers.

hey dan 03.Jul.2004 07:36

portlander in exile

hey dan, sorry, i should have reposted this with each article, but i figured people wouldnt just read one. Perhaps I was wrong. From part 2: Portland is my home, although I did not grow up there. This summer, I have opted to take a sabbatical in the midwest. I am visiting family and friends in the midwest and on the east coast, hopefully I can do more regular updates as it strikes me. Currently I am in Northwest Indiana, about thirty minutes outside of Chicago, where I grew up. And i want to let people know that while I may write like I am not a part of it, i definately succumb and agree alot...indicting myself.

So, I just want to say that while your assessment isnt off, it just didnt have all the info. I do feel like I stand on higher ground. I spent 18 years growing up in the midwest, I come from this place and therefore have a good understangin of its tendencies. After being on the west coast for awhile i recognize a bit more and see thorough some of things that are still veiled here. It might just be culturally different, but having been both palces, I am just attempting, as a portlander, to show other portlanders that are revolutionary minded the great tasks that we face in the heartland.

you're not talkin' to the right people 03.Jul.2004 11:49


i've got some family out there in wisconsin and indiana, heck, i was born there. there are some very "enlightened" people in the midwest. i've noticed that you talk a lot about how everyone in "cascadia" is just so darned enlightened, a real community. this is true in some places, but you should talk to those quaker folk out there, pretty nice folks. as for your family, they sound a lot different than mine.

Please vote 13.Aug.2004 09:55


I understand your reservations about voting in our two party system, where it is Bush or Bush Light (Kerry). But, the only way to build alternative parties is if they get enough support so that they cannot be ignored any longer. So, if there is anyone who is running (GREEN, AMERICAN PARTY, PROHIBITION PARTY, CONSTITUTION PARTY, LIBERTARIAN PARTY, PEACE & FREEDOM PARTY, PERSONAL CHOICE PARTY, REFORM PARTY/INDEPENDENT, SOCIALIST PARTY USA, SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY, or any of the write-ins including "None of the Above") wouldn't it be better to vote for one of them, if they support your views, than to have no voice at all?

Midwest family moving to Portland 22.Oct.2004 06:51

artgeek artgeek39@yahoo.com

Your comments have affirmed our decision to move to Portland. I have lived many places and the midwest is definately NOT where I want to be anymore. I have given up fighting the racism, close minded and blind following of fundamental christian dogma and downright media driven mediocre thinking. I am a high school art teacher - I joke that I spend my time with the most enlightened people in our small town - then they grow up and either leave or become what they proposed to dislike in their parents. Their parents put up with me because "I am great for their kids.", but avoid and shun me at soccer games. I grew up around here so I am tolerated, but last year I was told by my principal that I should keep my mouth shut about my politics, and am no longer allowed to criticize either the president or him(personally i think he just wanted to use his name and the presidents in the same sentence). He told me this four hours before i was to give a speech at graduation as the student-chosen faculty speaker(i think it's the first time this honor has been given to an art teacher around here)So when I read your comments i feel i have made a good decision to move to Portland vs. back to Ann Arbor - which is becoming increasingly suburban and no longer appeals to us. Thank you, i need to hear things like this from others in Portland, besides my brother who has lived there now for 16 years and finally convinced us this is where we need to go. By the way we have two girls who want to go as well; our 15 year old is sick to death of people with nothing more on their minds than drugs and sex, and who would vote for Bush because their parents will. Although it would be good for them if I stayed and continued to fight, my kids are in jeopardy. My youngest daughter was arguing for Gore in 3rd grade and got put down for it by her teacher. She came home afraid to speak up anymore. We've done the best we can to repair the damage of short-sighted, narrow minded hypocrites - but we can't fight alone anymore. i need the support of others in the community.
Again, thank you for your comments.